LIFE WITH BRACES

Kiefer Family Orthodontics - Braces 101Whether you have traditional metal braces or esthetic tooth colored braces, we understand that life with braces is different than before.  It will take time to adjust to all the new things you are learning about orthodontics and all the new feelings you are feeling in regards to your teeth and mouth.  Let us help you learn how to take care of your new braces.  Remember, you’re not alone in this journey.  Be sure to ask questions!  We would love to help you with anything we can!

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

The Sports News at Kiefer Family Ortho — we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports while undergoing orthodontic treatment!

Always, do your best to play safe.  Playing sports comes with inherent risk of injury to really any part of the body.  Therefore, it is not unusual for a patient wearing braces to experience an injury that can involve the mouth.  Any time you have an injury, make sure your parent knows.  To try to prevent injury to your mouth, please wear a mouth guard.  Mouth guards add a layer of protection to your teeth and mouth and really should be worn while playing sports, whether you are wearing braces or not.

Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouth guard for you.  And always remember that the best safety protocol you can take is to be cautious in the first place.  Please be careful and have fun playing!

Eating with Braces

Our biggest concern is your safety and the safety of your new braces.  If a brace comes off a tooth, that tooth is no longer moving to its corrected position.  You or your parent must let us know.  We will repair the brace and start the process of moving the tooth again.  This takes time. Broken braces can lead to longer treatment time.   We would prefer to be as efficient as possible completing your treatment and we would also prefer to give you the best possible treatment outcome at the same time.  In order to achieve all of our mutual goals, it is in the best interest of everyone involved for you to take care of YOUR braces.    Let us help you figure out what to eat and how to eat it so you can have a great experience with food while you are wearing braces!  Let’s get started!

Please be careful with foods on the No-No List.  It is a good idea to skip these food altogether because of their texture as well as their ingredients.  Sticky foods like candy that are loaded with sugar are a double whammy.  Not only can they break braces because of their stickiness, they can create an environment where your teeth are at greater risk of developing cavities.

The No-No List

  • Chewy foods — bagels, any chewy candy
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, hard pretzels, ice
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, gummy candies, chewing gum
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies, hard pizza crust or sub rolls
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, whole apples, carrots, chicken wings, spare ribs

The Yes-Yes List

  • Dairy — cheese, pudding, milk, chocolate milk, smoothies, ice cream, all kinds of eggs – poached, boiled, fried, and scrambled
  • Breads — whole wheat bread, white bread, soft tortillas, pancakes, English muffins, baked muffins without nuts, pancakes, and soft waffles
  • Grains — pasta, cooked rice, quinoa, and barley
  • Meats/protein — soft cooked chicken, pulled pork, beef and chicken, meatballs, lunch meats, peanut butter, and all kinds of beans
  • Seafood — cooked fish like salmon, tilapia, tuna, tuna salad, crab cakes, shrimp, sushi, and clam chowder
  • Vegetables — all cooked or steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, salad, and green smoothies
  • Fruits — whole fruit can be cut into pieces and eaten on the back molars including apples, pineapple and pears. Other fruits like applesauce, bananas, grapes, fruit juice, fruit smoothies, berries, cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon are okay just as they are
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, syrupy ice cream toppings like caramel, melted peanut butter or chocolate are excellent to satisfy that sweet tooth, ice cream sandwiches, water ice, milkshakes, Jell-O, cake, cupcakes, plain chocolate, and the list goes on!

Sometimes your appetite can get the best of you.  Do your best to remember what you can and cannot eat with braces.  We offer this information to you as a guideline.  We know how smart you are!  We will ask you to make your best judgment on what to do if you don’t see a specific food you like to eat on this list.  If you are not sure if it’s a safe food to eat with braces, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Are My Teeth Going to be Sore?

It takes about eight hours for your body to realize that your teeth are moving.  When you first get your braces, you may notice that, right away, your teeth and mouth feel different.  Most patients, in our experience, feel as though their teeth and braces feel tight.   Let us reassure you that this is not unusual.

As your teeth start to move, the tightness will slowly go away and your teeth will begin to feel sore.  It is going to be the next morning after your new braces are placed or adjusted when you will feel the sore feeling.   Everyone experiences this soreness in a different way.  We like to consider that this soreness is a positive thing similar to a soreness you may experience from getting stronger from exercise. The soreness is not an acute “ouchy” you may feel right away from a cut or scratch, but instead it’s like an “under construction” feeling as your teeth begin to move to their new position.  This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever!  In fact, the research shows that your soreness is usually the worst about a day and a half after your braces are adjusted and then it gets better from there.

From the most conservative standpoint, the best way to help alleviate the pain is to dissolve one teaspoon of table salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth a few times and spit (do not swallow the salt water).  If the pain is still bothersome and you don’t feel better after rinsing, please reach out to us so we can guide you on what to do next.

Please remember that not only are your teeth getting used to braces, but so are your cheeks, lip and tongue.  Sometimes it takes a week or two for these parts of your body to get used to the feeling of braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to give your cheeks and lips some time to adjust.

And don’t forget, we are here to help.  Very often, when you get new braces, a new appliance or have anything other than a routine checkup, we will give your family a call so we can check to see how you’re doing.  We want to make sure you’re okay and don’t have any questions!

Loose Teeth

Each healthy tooth has a natural mobility associated with it.   In fact, each tooth is connected to the jawbone by a complex combination of anatomical elements that include the periodontal ligament.  The periodontal ligament has an amazing biological ability to change and adapt to pressures we apply to the teeth with braces.  This is what allows the teeth to move.  Sometimes, your teeth can feel slightly loose as they move.  Even though your teeth had some normal movement to them before braces, you may notice it more now.  Just remember, your braces are helping your teeth MOVE into their corrected position.

You Have The Power

Be sure to take care of all of your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the braces, elastics, springs or other appliances as prescribed by your doctor.

You can do this!