Anyone who has braces knows that eating can be a challenge. The braces might feel uncomfortable, food can get caught in them, and — if you bite something too hard — the braces may break. With so many potential problems, you might be wondering: how do you safely eat with braces? In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about this topic from the foods you should eat to the foods you should avoid. Here's a closer look at our top tips and tricks.
How Do Braces Work?
Before we explore how to eat with braces, let's examine how braces work. Put simply, braces are an orthodontic treatment made up of brackets and wires. Designed to fix malocclusion (or crooked and crowded teeth), they work by gently placing pressure on the teeth and jaws. Over time, the teeth slowly move into the correct position. The ultimate goal is a straight, healthy smile.
While braces are commonly associated with adolescence, adults often need them as well. No matter how old the patient is, it's normal to experience some discomfort as teeth shift. To avoid hurting sensitive teeth, it's important to adjust your eating habits when using braces.
How Do You Eat With Braces?
Eating with braces is no easy feat. In addition to dealing with extra sensitive teeth, you have to be careful not to damage the braces themselves. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:
Eat slowly. When you first get braces, chewing might seem difficult. Eating slowly can help minimize any discomfort.
Take small bites. Cut your food into small pieces. This will help you avoid stretching your jaw or chewing too much food at once.
Use your side teeth. If your front teeth are too sensitive, use your side teeth to chew instead.
Along with changing the way you eat, you should be mindful of the foods you're consuming.
What Can You Eat When You First Get Your Braces?
You can expect your teeth to be the most sensitive when you first get braces. For many people, it may feel impossible to put any pressure on the teeth without feeling uncomfortable. Thus, it's best to stick with room-temperature, soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow.
Best Soft Foods for Eating With Braces
Soft foods are great for braces patients because they require minimal chewing. Here are some of our top recommendations:
Oatmeal. Oatmeal is a nutritious, filling snack or breakfast that's great for braces patients. Make it more flavorful by adding soft toppings such as sliced bananas.
Soup. There's no chewing involved in soup, which makes it one of the easiest foods to eat. Just be sure the temperature isn't too hot so you don't burn your mouth.
Mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are extremely soft and require little chewing. They can work as either a main dish or a snack.
Pasta. If you're looking for a filling dinner that's easy to eat, pasta fits the bill. You can spruce it up by adding sauce and soft, boiled vegetables.
Yogurt. When it comes to soft snacks, yogurt takes the cake. Best of all, it comes in a bunch of different flavors that allow you to pick what you prefer.
As you get used to the braces, the discomfort will generally decrease. But for the first few days, you'll need to be extra careful.
What Kind of Snacks Can You Eat With Braces?
Once your teeth become less sensitive, you can expand your diet. While you don't have to limit yourself to super soft foods, it's still a good idea to avoid anything that's too hard or chewy. Here are some of the best snacks for people with braces:
Ice cream. When you first get braces, ice cream may be too cold to eat. Once your teeth adjust to the braces, ice cream will once again become a delicious and easy-to-eat treat.
Bread. Soft bread is a delicious snack that won't interfere with your braces. You can elevate it by enjoying it with butter or olive oil.
Veggies and dip. If you're looking for a healthy snack that won't hurt your braces, vegetables are a good choice. Enjoy them steamed or grilled alongside hummus, ranch, or your favorite dip.
Cheese. Soft cheeses, such as cottage cheese or string cheese, are a great snack for braces patients. You can eat them plain or with soft crackers.
Smoothies. Smoothies are an excellent way to increase your fruit intake while dealing with braces. If you don't care for smoothies, you can still enjoy fruit — just stick with softer options, like bananas, blueberries, and citrus fruits.
Due to their relatively soft textures, these snacks rarely trigger sensitivity or damage braces. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for other foods.
Can You Break Your Braces?
Braces may be strong enough to move your teeth, but that doesn't mean they're indestructible. Certain foods can get lodged in your braces, causing the wires or brackets to loosen. In some cases, they may even break an entire bracket. Here are a few foods you should not eat with braces:
Hard and sticky candy. Hard or sticky candies, such as lollipops and taffy, can get stuck in and damage your braces. If you're craving a sweet treat, try a healthy candy alternative such as Zollipops. They are safe for braces and sugar-free, vegan, and allergy-friendly.
Nuts and seeds. Because of their small size, nuts and seeds can quickly get stuck in braces. This can cause both wires and brackets to move.
Popcorn. As with nuts and seeds, it's very easy for popcorn kernels to get lodged in the wire of your braces. If they're not removed, they can lead to bleeding or swollen gums.
Hard snacks. Foods that are very hard (such as pretzels or certain chips) can exert lots of pressure on your braces, causing them to break.
If your braces become loose or damaged, Risas accepts orthodontics patients as walk-ins to ensure there are no wires sticking out that could cut you.
Changing How You Eat With Braces
Getting braces doesn't mean you have to completely reinvent your diet. However, you will need to make some minor adjustments to avoid hurting your teeth and braces. These include consuming soft foods, avoiding hard and sticky substances, and eating more slowly. By changing your eating habits, you can help ensure your braces stay in good shape throughout the treatment. The sooner you complete treatment, the sooner you can enjoy your brand-new, bright smile.
Are you interested in learning more about braces? Whether you need braces yourself or want eating tips for your teenager, our team at Risas Dental is here to help. Schedule an appointment today!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long after getting braces can you eat normal foods?
There's no set answer to how long you have to stick with soft, room-temperature foods after getting braces. It depends on how comfortable your teeth are. Some people will consume soft foods for a few days, while others will limit their diet for a couple of weeks.
Why is it so hard to eat with braces?
Eating with braces is difficult for two main reasons. First, the brackets apply pressure that makes your teeth more sensitive to harder, chewier foods. Second, the wires and brackets that make up the braces are vulnerable to breaking. This means you have to be extra careful to avoid hurting your teeth or braces.
What junk food can you eat with braces?
You can eat any junk food that isn't too hard or sticky. Top options include ice cream, frozen yogurt, soft cookies, and chocolate. If you're looking for healthy junk food alternatives that are safe for braces, Zollipops are a great choice.
Why does it feel so weird to chew with your braces?
If you're not used to the sensation of braces, chewing may feel weird at first. It can also be uncomfortable because your teeth are shifting positions. However, this strange feeling should go away over time.
Looking for an option to improve your smile? Braces treatment is a common way to correct issues like tooth misalignment, crowding, and crooked teeth. At any given time, about 4 million people in the United States have braces.
Understanding the process of this orthodontic treatment before you or your kids get them can help you prepare. The length of the treatment with dental braces can vary.
Factors That Affect Braces Treatment Duration
Treatment plans for dental braces usually last 1 to 3 years. Correcting your teeth is a slow and gradual process because your teeth are attached to bones. The following factors can determine how long you need to wear braces.
Severity of Orthodontic Issues
Your dentist or orthodontist will set goals for the braces treatment based on how severe your orthodontic issues are. If you just have a few misaligned teeth, you won't likely have to wear braces as long as someone with severely crooked teeth. Fixing bite issues such as a crossbite or an underbite usually takes longer.
Early intervention can shorten the treatment time. Many issues are easier to treat at a younger age when the jaws are still growing and teeth are easier to manipulate. Adults who wear braces might have to undergo longer treatment.
Types of Braces or Orthodontic Appliances
Some types of orthodontics appliances work faster than others. Clear aligners that you can remove from your mouth usually have a shorter treatment time. That's often because they only work for minor orthodontic issues.
Metal braces usually take longer. They use metal brackets that are attached to your teeth with metal wires connecting them.
Timing isn't everything when it comes to choosing the right appliance. Even though aligners might shorten the treatment time, they might work well in all situations. Traditional metal braces might be necessary for severe corrections.
Patient Compliance With the Treatment
A proper treatment plan only works if you follow it. These tips help you stick to your treatment plan and possibly shorten the time you have to wear your braces.
Follow food recommendations: Some foods are off-limits during braces treatment. This includes anything that is sticky, hard, or might get stuck in your braces. Eating those foods can damage your braces and require a fix that could delay your treatment.
Go to all appointments: Regular appointments are important to keep the treatment progressing. Your orthodontist has to tighten the wires regularly to move your teeth with traditional braces. Aligner trays also have to be updated regularly to keep the teeth moving.
Handle routine oral hygiene: Brushing and flossing regularly help keep your teeth in good condition. Having a cavity or other dental issues can prolong your treatment.
Follow directions: Listen to all instructions your orthodontist gives about using your orthodontic appliances. This includes when to replace elastics on traditional braces.
Timeline of Braces Treatment
The following steps give you an idea of the time line for your braces treatment.
Initial Consultation and Treatment Planning
Your treatment starts with a comprehensive initial consultation. This allows your orthodontist to identify the issues that need to be corrected and create a treatment plan.
An incorrect diagnosis or poor treatment plan can require you to wear your braces longer. Things like how your orthodontist treats the issue and how often you have appointments to adjust the braces can impact the time line. Choosing a highly experienced orthodontics professional could get you faster and better results.
This process can vary but often includes these steps:
The orthodontist will perform a complete exam including X-rays and impressions of your teeth.
They'll come up with an ideal treatment plan and possibly some alternative options.
You decide which treatment plan you want to go with.
Some people need to have dental treatments done before getting braces such as tooth extractions or cavity fillings.
Active Treatment Phase
The active treatment phase usually lasts 1 to 3 years. This depends largely on your treatment plan. You might wear braces for a year or less if your corrections are minor. You might wear them closer to 3 years if you have a severe situation.
During this phase, you'll go to the orthodontist about every 10 to 12 weeks. The orthodontist tightens your wires during those appointments. You might need to replace the elastics that help create necessary pressure.
You'll typically need to wear a retainer full time for at least 2 to 3 months followed by wearing it only at night for the rest of your life. Other people might have to wear their retainers full time for longer.
You should follow the recommendations your orthodontist makes to ensure the effects of your braces last. After the braces are gone, your teeth can move back to their old positions. The retainer holds them in place to maintain the results of the braces.
Retainers can be fixed or removable. Fixed retainers are glued to the back side of your teeth and are usually only used on the front teeth. They can be more effective because you can't remove them or forget to wear them. Removable retainers are clear and go on all your teeth. These retainers can make it easier to clean your teeth because you can take them out. It's important to wear them regularly as directed for the best results.
It's difficult to give an exact time line for braces treatment because it depends on your situation. The severity of your orthodontic issue is one of the biggest factors. Your age and the type of braces can also impact the timing. How well you stick to the treatment plan is something that's within your control that can keep the treatment shorter.
If you're considering braces for yourself or your child, we can help. Learn more about our orthodontics services to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to get braces on?
You can expect the process to take 1 to 2 hours when you have your braces put on your teeth the first time.
How often do I need to visit the orthodontist during treatment?
You'll usually get your braces tightened once every 10 to 12 weeks during treatment. The timing could be shorter or longer depending on your treatment plan.
Can braces treatment be accelerated?
The time line for your braces treatment is specific to your situation. It usually can't be accelerated if you want to get the best results. You might be able to speed up the process slightly by following the treatment instructions exactly.
How long do I need to wear a retainer after braces?
How long you wear your retainer varies based on the situation. It's common to wear the retainer all the time for 2 or 3 months or longer and then wear it only at night.
What factors can cause treatment to take longer than expected?
Not following your orthodontist's directions is the biggest reason for braces taking longer. This might include not using your appliances correctly, missing appointments, eating harmful foods, and not taking care of your teeth.
These 9 Tips Can Help
Braces are designed to fix misalignments, correct overbites, and straighten teeth. When you first have braces fitted it can be painful because your body isn't used to the intrusion of metal in your mouth. Because the teeth need to be forced into position, there is a lot of pressure on the gums and jaw.
The pain from braces shouldn't last more than a few days. Luckily, there are many ways to alleviate the pain from braces, which include everything from ice packs and pain meds to peppermint tea and orthodontic wax.
Why Do Braces Hurt?
Braces use pressure to realign and shift your teeth into place. The metal brackets and wires in your mouth add bulk to your oral cavity, which can cause discomfort. The pain usually subsides when your body has adjusted to having a foreign object. When your braces are first fitted, you might experience painful gums and cuts on your cheeks from the metal brackets. Every few weeks when your braces are adjusted, you may feel that slight dull ache and pressure again.
Why Do Rubber Bands on Braces Hurt So Much?
Braces are fixed to your teeth with dental adhesive. An arch wire runs through the brackets on the teeth, putting pressure on them. When small elastic bands are fitted to the brackets, it increases the pressure, causing further discomfort. Elastics help to further align your teeth and fix your bite during the first stage of braces. The pain is usually short-lived, and not every brace-wearing person has to have elastics.
When Do Braces Stop Hurting?
When you first have braces fixed, your mouth needs time to adjust to them. The body isn't used to all the metal and wires, so you will probably feel mild pain for the first week. The pain will subside, but with each adjustment session at your orthodontist, the discomfort will return. Because your mouth is used to braces, the pain after an appointment typically lasts for up to 4 days.
How to Relieve Braces Pain at Home
There are many pain relief options to ease the ache that comes with each orthodontic adjustment. These 9 tips can help soothe your mouth.
Use an Ice Pack
A cold compress is good for localized pain. An ice pack will provide immediate relief to any swelling and numb the area. Cold items constrict blood vessels, slowing down the blood flow.
Cold Food and Drinks
Cold food and drinks will aid the healing process by providing temporary pain relief. Cold foods like yogurt and ice cream can really help with alleviating symptoms and reducing swelling. The constriction of blood flow from cold items can soothe your painful gums.
Swish With Salt Water
Add a teaspoon of salt to lukewarm water and gargle for a minimum of 30 seconds. The gentle abrasion from the salt in the water will lift any stuck food particles. Salt may also aid the healing process and acts as a natural disinfectant.
Speak to your orthodontist about an anesthetic gel that will numb the painful area. There are a variety of oral gels that can help to desensitize teeth and gums.
Over-the-Counter Pain Medicine
OTC pain medicines can help relieve discomfort. Your orthodontist can also prescribe a strong painkiller if necessary. Try not to take painkillers for more than a few days and let your orthodontist know if the pain is severe.
Apply a heat pad or warm cloth to the painful areas in your mouth. Heat can be beneficial — especially if the ice packs aren't providing any relief or you're sensitive to the cold.
Eating Softer Foods
Don't put your jaw and mouth under any extra strain for the first few days after your braces have been adjusted. Try to avoid hard-to-chew food items and stick to eating softer foods.
Orthodontic wax relieves the chafing and poking from your metal brackets and wire. This tends to happen when your wires are changed and the settings are adjusted. The wax is for rubbing on the metal to prevent hurting the inside of your cheeks and lips.
If your gums aren't too painful, give yourself a gum massage. Rub them gently or use something cold to massage them. The cold will add extra numbness to the area.
Hot Peppermint Tea Bags and Peppermint Oil
Peppermint has restorative properties, and the warm tea bags can have a soothing effect if used on the site of pain. Food-grade peppermint oil can also be applied to your gums, but it may be helpful to dilute it in a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil to ensure it's not too strong.
If you are experiencing severe pain, our offices accept walk-in emergencies. Find a location near you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do top or bottom braces hurt more?
It's common for the bottom row to hurt more. The tongue moves and pushes the bottom row of teeth while talking, adding more pressure.
Why do braces hurt the second day?
On the second day, your teeth start adjusting and moving. Day 2 is hard because your teeth have recovered from the initial shock of having something new fitted.
What stage of braces hurts the most?
The first 4 days after your wires have been adjusted will be the worst stage. The teeth have to get used to added pressure, and for some people, the pain can last a week. When you first get braces fitted, the pain may last longer as your mouth adjusts.
What type of braces hurt less?
Orthodontists say that clear aligner braces hurt the least because you remove them while eating. You also won't experience the chafing and sores from metal braces.
Does chewing more help with braces pain?
A few clinical trials have reported that chewing gum can help increase blood flow to the area surrounding the teeth, causing pain to subside.
Are braces worth the pain?
Even though braces can be uncomfortable at times, they're necessary to straighten teeth and correct misalignments and overbites.
Maybe you've been told your child needs braces and you're wondering how long the treatment will last. You might have little or no experience with braces treatments or maybe you've been here before but everybody you've known who had braces had them on for a different length of time. Braces can be a complex orthodontic treatment, with plenty of personal variables and treatment options so there's no fixed amount of time they take to get the job done. For a better understanding of how long dental braces last, here are some of the most important variables.
Understanding Braces Treatment Timeline
Braces go on and come off as part of a multi-stage orthodontic treatment process. An orthodontist has to evaluate a new patient's tooth alignment and decide how best to treat orthodontic problems, after which a treatment plan can be implemented.
Average Length of Braces Treatment
How long it takes for braces to work depends on several things, which your dentist can talk over with you during the initial consultations. As a rule, the more correction needed, the longer the treatment takes. Kids usually see faster results than older people. In fact, the younger a child is at the time braces treatment starts, the less time it generally takes, with adult teeth taking the longest to adjust.
The type of dental braces you go for also affects how long the treatment is likely to take. While there's a variety of products on the market, your choices can be grouped into three main categories.
Metal braces: Traditional braces are made of metal, and they use small brackets attached to the teeth, connected with wires or rubber bands to gently apply tension and pull the teeth back into alignment. Some people complete their metal braces treatment in less than 1 year but you may have to wear them for up to 3 years.
Ceramic braces: Ceramic braces are very similar to traditional metal braces. The difference is that they match your teeth's natural color, so they're less obvious. It takes between 12 and 36 months to complete the braces treatment.
Clear braces: Clear braces, which are sometimes offered under the brand name Invisalign treatment, are the least conspicuous type of braces. These are clear acrylic braces that have been molded just for your teeth and they're switched out periodically as the teeth move. They're removable so you can take them out to eat or for special occasions. You should still wear them about 22 hours a day. Orthodontics involving clear aligners usually last around 12-18 months.
Phases of Orthodontic Treatment
Braces go on in stages and getting braces fitted usually takes a few office visits. Getting braces can be broken down into four stages.
Pre-braces consultations: Getting braces starts with a diagnosis and initial consultation with your orthodontist. In a series of office visits, you'll get dental X-rays and pictures taken of your teeth to get an idea of your overall dental health, any orthodontic issues you may have, and whether there's an issue with jaw alignment or other mouth structures. A treatment plan is then developed and laid out for you at another pre-braces visit.
Initial treatment: Getting braces may start with various other orthodontic treatments that get your teeth ready for braces treatment. If you have tooth decay, you may have some filling work done. Kids sometimes need spacers to prep their misaligned teeth. Measures might also be taken to address teeth grinding or you might get a root canal out of the way before the braces are installed.
Active treatment: After your braces get installed, you'll need regular adjustments to keep things moving along. If you opt for clear aligners, you'll get a new set every week or two. Standard metal braces can be gradually retensioned using elastics or wire adjustments.
Post-braces: After the treatments are done and you have straight teeth, the brackets can come off and you move into the post-treatment period, which may last for weeks to years. This is usually relatively simple and involves minor orthodontics, like retainers or other orthodontic appliances, that can be taken out as needed.
Factors That Can Affect Braces Treatment
While every patient is unique, there are some basic factors that can help predict the course and length of treatment.
Severity of the Orthodontic Issues
People get braces for a range of issues, from fairly minor matters to very severe orthodontic problems. The more severe the issue is before you get new braces, the more time you should expect the treatment to last.
Jaw misalignment is one of the more common complications that can extend your treatment time. Overbite is a condition in which the top teeth extend past the lower teeth, while underbite is the opposite condition. If you have a pronounced overbite or underbite, you may have to wear your braces longer than if your upper and lower teeth were aligned more closely.
Another common complication for wearing braces is the spacing between your teeth. If your teeth are closer together than they should be, the crowding can cause a host of dental problems, including advanced tooth decay. Overspacing between the teeth may require longer treatments to pull them back together.
Compliance With Treatment
How well you follow your treatment plan also affects your treatment time. Your orthodontist can give you a detailed rundown on how to manage your braces but there's not much you need to do beyond normal oral hygiene. In general, you can get your treatment done in the shortest time if you:
Wear your braces for the recommended amount of time
Brush, floss, and use mouthwash as directed by your dentist
Follow your orthodontist's diet recommendations for which foods to avoid
Age of the Patient
As a rule, the younger a patient is, the less time they need to wear braces. Because their jaws are still growing and teeth are on the move, kids may get their teeth straight with just 6-12 months of treatment. Adult teeth generally take longer — up to 3 years. Teenagers are an in-between case, with most braces treatments taking 1-2 years.
Achieving a Beautiful, Healthy Smile With Orthodontic Treatment
People need braces for all sorts of reasons and the time it takes to complete the treatments depends on several factors. You may have to wear your orthodontic appliances for 6-36 months, depending on what issues you're correcting, how old you were when you first started the treatments and how well you comply with the orthodontist's advice. Of these factors, the one you have the most control over is how well you follow your treatment instructions, from brushing twice a day to eating the right foods.
Getting braces may cause some discomfort, especially early on, but it shouldn't be painful. Braces gradually tug your teeth into better alignment so a low level of tension is always present, which some people experience as discomfort. If your braces are bothering you, talk to your orthodontist about making an adjustment for better results.
Can I eat normally while wearing braces?
For the most part, you can eat with braces just like you did before you got them installed. An exception to this is for sticky or exceptionally hard foods. Very sticky foods (and chewing gum) can get stuck to your braces and hard foods might damage the brackets.
How do I care for my braces during treatment?
Braces care is fairly routine stuff. Brush twice a day, floss under the braces the way your orthodontist shows you, and keep your rubber bands in place for as long as the orthodontist tells you to.
5 Ways To Relieve Pain From Braces
Teeth are some of the most essential parts of your body. They help you get the nutrients you need to lead a healthy life and are also crucial for self-expression. Having misaligned teeth can make it difficult to talk, smile, or laugh with confidence, which is why many adults get braces. Braces can solve various dental issues, enhance your appearance and boost your confidence. But if you've heard about braces pain from other people, you might hesitate to get this type of dental treatment.
Our team at Risas Dental has helped dozens of patients through their braces journey. Follow along as we discuss braces pain and give you a few tips for managing it as you navigate your way to a brighter, healthier smile.
Why Do Braces Hurt?
Braces are a treatment method used to correct dental problems such as crooked teeth, crowded teeth, spaced teeth, open bites, overbites, and underbites. Braces apply steady pressure on your mouth's soft tissue, slowly changing the position of your teeth and jaws.
When your mouth is overcrowded, your jaw size may be too small to fit all your teeth. Braces will slowly try to push teeth that sit outside or inside the jaw into the proper position on your gums. The soft tissue in your mouth has to expand and create more space for the teeth to sit during this process.
Since braces literally change your mouth's structure, you should expect some pain during the journey. Some pain can also be triggered by the type of foods you eat, especially when the braces are new.
However, any ache and pain you feel when wearing braces should be bearable and easy to manage by taking over-the-counter painkillers and resting. Most people can tolerate the pain that comes with braces, which is why even little kids can wear them. Severe pain should be addressed by your doctor.
What To Expect With Braces
Orthodontists are dental specialists who handle the process of installing braces. The process isn't painful and orthodontists don't administer anesthesia during installation. Before installation, they'll clean your teeth and mouth to remove plaque and food remains.
The orthodontist will apply glue on each tooth, spreading it on the surface before attaching small brackets. Then, they'll secure a wire to the brackets, tightening it to produce the desired tension to the teeth.
The tension from the brackets may make your mouth sore a few hours after the braces are in place. Your orthodontist may recommend taking a painkiller and resting to relieve the pain and give your mouth time to adjust.
After Getting Braces On
The pressure from the wires on your braces and bands can cause small cuts inside your mouth. Some people also experience headaches and toothaches the week after their first braces installation. These symptoms should reduce over time and eventually disappear.
Modifying your diet to include braces-friendly soft foods and drinks is important to minimize tooth pain when eating after installation.
Cleaning your teeth properly will help you maintain good oral hygiene. Dedicate time twice a day to brush around each brace. Floss using threaders and use interdental brushes to remove food particles from the small space between the braces and your teeth.
Be gentle when cleaning to avoid damaging your teeth and mouth.
Why Do Rubber Bands on Braces Hurt So Much?
Braces can use interarch rubber bands to hold the wires in the ideal position for their teeth and jaws. Your orthodontist will guide you on how to wear the rubber bands based on how your bite needs to be corrected. In many cases, you must hook the rubber band to the brackets on your upper canines and then loop it around the brackets on your lower back teeth.
The other type of band used on braces is called ligatures. Ligatures wrap around the bracket on each tooth. Only an orthodontist can install and remove ligatures during your appointment.
You may feel discomfort or pain a few days after installing your first elastic bands because your teeth have started moving to the correct position. As with braces, the discomfort from rubber bands doesn't last forever and reduces as your teeth settle into new positions.
Getting Braces Tightened During Treatment
You'll need to visit the orthodontist once every few weeks for braces adjustment or re-tightening. Braces lose their grip when your teeth shift into a more aligned position. Getting braces tightened ensures your braces always apply the right amount of pressure to all your teeth.
During the realignment appointment, your orthodontist will remove the elastic bands or ligatures holding the alignment wire. After examining tooth movement, the orthodontist will tighten or renew the wire to account for the changes. The orthodontist might put springs and new ligatures or rubber bands around the braces.
Adjusting or tightening braces wires can be painful, especially a few days after the appointment. However, you should always go to the dentist whenever your wires start to feel loose since this will prevent you from wearing braces for longer than necessary.
5 Ways To Relieve Braces Pain at Home
There are many ways to relieve braces pain and discomfort at home so you can continue your daily activities after your appointment. These methods include:
Using orthodontic wax. Orthodontic wax is a substance designed to create a barrier between the wires on your braces and the soft tissue in your mouth. By coating your braces with wax, you reduce the impact of their hard corners and sharp ends. Roll and apply the wax your orthodontist prescribes on clean teeth, replacing it at least twice daily to prevent mouth infections.
Rinsing with salty water. Salty water is an affordable pain relief method for braces pain. Fill a glass with warm water, then stir in a teaspoon of regular salt until it dissolves completely. Swish it over all the sore points in your mouth before spitting it out.
Taking painkillers. Over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen can help you manage braces discomfort. Consult your orthodontist before taking new medications for pain. They may recommend using a painkiller during braces installation and adjustment to minimize discomfort.
Eating the right foods. Change your diet after getting braces to minimize chewing and keep your braces clean. You'll feel a lot better if you don't have to remove pieces of food from between aching teeth every time you eat.
Resting. Minimize physical exertion after your braces appointment to give your body time to adjust. You can place an ice pack on your face while lying down to watch a movie or sleep to alleviate braces pain.
Food To Eat If Your Teeth Are Sore
Incorporating these foods into your diet will keep you nourished throughout your braces journey:
Cold foods. These foods can reduce gum and mouth inflammation from braces discomfort or soreness. Sugar-free drinks and ice cream can be helpful too.
Soft foods. Give your teeth a break by avoiding crunchy foods such as carrots, celery and apples immediately after your dentist appointments. Mashed potatoes, rice, soups, smoothies and juices are delicious and nutritious food options for people with braces.
Non-sticky foods. Maintaining oral hygiene with braces will be more challenging if you eat food that easily gets trapped in your teeth. Avoid chewing gum, candy, pasta dishes and chewy meats when you have braces.
It's normal to feel discomfort after getting braces, but you should contact your orthodontist if you experience severe pain that doesn't improve after taking painkillers. You should also seek medical attention for mouth sores and wounds that don't heal after an expected timeframe. We recommend contacting your orthodontist if the wires on your braces loosen or break to avoid causing further damage to your teeth and mouth.
At Risas Dental, our experienced orthodontists will guide you through your braces journey, ensuring you end up with a smile that'll brighten every room you enter. Book an appointment at any of our offices to start your journey to a brighter smile today!
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