Eating with Braces and Clear Aligners
What can you eat? We are not trying to restrict your diet; however, there are a few things that should be avoided throughout the duration of treatment. Namely, nuts and popcorn. For the first day or so, we will encourage your to stick to softer foods as you acclimate. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you'll be able to bite into food more comfortably again. The goal is to avoid any interruption in care to keep your treatment efficient. Avoiding things that will break/loosen appliances is our recommendation, but it is more about HOW you eat versus WHAT you eat. For example: meat OFF the bone, corn OFF the cob, cut or cooked veggies, softer crust pizzas, soft tacos and thin chips (Pringles/Lays are good options, not Takis, kettle cooked, Doritios or Tostitos) and no bubble gum.
Foods to Avoid
- Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
- Sticky foods: caramels, gum
- Hard foods: nuts, candy, ice
- Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots (okay if cut them up and use your molars in the back to chew)
- Hard objects: Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Remember, damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don't worry! It's normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new - corrected - positions.
Care of Appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Teeth that are not properly cleaned can cause the treatment time to be lengthened.
- Wear your retainers full time, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
- Take your retainers out when eating... and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants.)
- Clean retainers thoroughly twice a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors
- When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
- Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them faster.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
- Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
- Retainer replacement is expensive... with proper care they will last for years!
- Remove retainers when swimming.
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.