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Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them?

Take Care of Your Appliances!

Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by Dr. Van Westen.

Eating with Braces

Don't worry, you'll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! It is important to take special care and avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.

Foods to avoid with braces:

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Foods you can eat with braces:

  • Popcorn puffs
  • Chocolates without nuts or caramels
  • Soft, fruit filled cereal bars
  • Fruit and veggie smoothies
  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Pasta and rice
  • Vegetables — cut raw/hard veggies such as carrots, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, beans
  • Fruits — cut hard fruits such as apples, applesauce, bananas
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake

Soreness Caused from Braces and Appliances

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal until your cheeks, lips and tongue get accustomed to your new appliances. The worst feeling is 24h after the placement of braces but any discomfort you may have will be gone within a week.

To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).

You can also try taking a pain reliever such as advil or tylenol for a couple of days. However, these medicines are not to be taken for long-term.

Our team at Van Westen Orthodontics will giving you customized instructions for the type of braces and appliances you get. We will also include a care bag for you with wax and other helpful products that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness.

Playing Sports with Braces

Game, Set, Match — we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it's recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance.

In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and appliance for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.

Loose Wires or Bands

The wires and bands on your braces may become loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.

You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to protect your mouth.