Living with Braces
Braces come with many benefits: a beautiful new smile and an aligned bite being two of the biggest reasons people choose to get braces. But since these benefits come at the end of treatment, many patients worry about how living with braces in the meantime with affect their daily lives. Will you be able to eat your favorite food? Will you talk differently with braces? How can you keep your teeth clean during your braces treatment?
All these questions and more are common to ponder when thinking about living with braces before you start your treatment. The good news is after your braces are installed and the initial discomfort has dissipated, life largely goes back to normal with just a few adjustments. Although braces will require some small compromises while you wait for your new smile to emerge, it’s not as drastic as some patients might believe.
Eating with braces
For most patients, the biggest area of their life that changes with braces is how they eat. After each adjustment appointment, your teeth will be a bit sore for a few days or so. It’s typically recommend to eat soft foods during this time to avoid discomfort during meals. You may also take non-aspirin pain relievers like Advil, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen if the discomfort is bothersome.
Foods to avoid with braces
In addition to choosing soft foods for comfort on occasion, you will need to avoid certain hard and sticky foods for the sake of the braces appliances themselves. Broken brackets should be avoided as much as possible since they increase treatment time and require extra emergency appointments to address and fix.
Foods you have to bite into like apples, carrots, corn-on-the-cob, and chicken wings should be avoided wherever possible. Even stiff chewy foods like bagels and hard breads can break brackets. Some hard foods like nuts, pretzels, and even just ice should also be avoided. Your orthodontist will give you a more extensive rundown during your consultation and when you begin treatment. The most important thing to remember is to use common sense when eating to avoid anything that can apply pressure to or pull on your brackets.
Physical appearance and speech
One of the biggest downsides to braces that patients experience is the noticeable hardware. Although some patients embrace and enjoy the braces style, many people don’t relish the added attention they perceive they’ll get during their treatment from the wires and brackets on their teeth. Fortunately, there are alternatives to traditional metal braces, like Damon clear braces or Invisalign, that largely reduce the appearance of braces or any orthodontic treatment. If the appearance of traditional metal braces is a concern for you, talk to your orthodontist about similar clear alternatives.
Most patients don’t notice any change in the way they speak when they have their braces. Since the brackets are usually adhered to the outside of teeth, the tongue’s movements are largely unaffected. The inside of your lips might be a little sensitive as they get used to the brackets, but this should cause minimal, if any, speech impediments.
Mouth discomfort with braces
The most uncomfortable stage of getting braces is right after the initial installation. While adhering the brackets to your teeth and installing the wire with ligature bands itself doesn’t hurt, your mouth will feel pretty sore for about a week after this initial installation. After that, you should expect some soreness after each of your adjustments, but it usually isn’t as uncomfortable as the initial setup.
Your orthodontist should give you some wax to use if the brackets or wires are rubbing wrong anywhere in your mouth. If the braces are poking you anywhere, should apply the wax for instant relief and let your orthodontist know during your next appointment to see if the issue can be fixed. While discomfort of any kind isn’t something to look forward to, the kind you’ll feel with your braces treatment is usually just after your adjustments. Your daily life with braces should be pain-free – and if this isn’t the case, let your orthodontist know, as they typically have a few effective tricks up their sleeves!
Cleaning your braces
Because braces can trap food easily, it’s important to establish a strong oral hygiene regiment which ideally begins with brushing your teeth after every meal. This will minimize the chances of accelerated plaque buildup and help avoid tooth decay. Your orthodontist should give you some special cleaning brushes and tools to help make your more frequent cleanings easier and more thorough with the added barrier of brackets to clean around. The good news is you will likely build some very healthy hygiene habits while you have braces!
Daily living with braces
The majority of braces patients find their day to day lives are relatively the same as they were before they got braces. While there are a few drawbacks during the treatment phase, like some food restrictions and occasional mouth discomfort, many believe it to be worth it in the end when they see their beautiful new smile.
If you’re in the Phoenix metropolitan area and would like to learn if braces are a good fit for you, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Park at OoLi Orthodontics!