As children we balked at the idea of having to endure the horrors of braces. After all, they’re bulky, painful and just not pleasant. Especially considering the fact that we’re stuck with them for an average of one and a half years, which feels like an eternity when you’re 12 years old, the thought of them may make some of us cringe. Here are some do’s and don’ts and other tips to consider to make the experience of having dental braces a bit more palatable and less painful for children.
Is this particular food OK to eat with braces?
Very sticky or chewy foods such as gum, popcorn kernels, caramels and taffy should be avoided. Some of our favorites, like fruit roll ups, starbursts and skittles should also be eliminated. These types of foods can get stuck in the braces and make it difficult to clean. Also, very sugary sweets too often can cause cavities, especially with braces, and can also cause damage to the braces and elastics themselves. Try eating softer foods such as jello, applesauce, soup, eggs, rice, oatmeal and yogurt, which will minimize the pain and discomfort, won’t cause any damage to your braces and will be easier to eat.
Certain types of hard foods should also be avoided as they can cause damage to the braces themselves. Some examples include hard pretzels, peanut brittle, hard candies, popcorn, chewing on ice and even apples or carrots. Apples and carrots are fine provided they are cut into small pieces.
Any damage or shifting done to the braces will mean costly repairs and lengthier treatment time.
What’s the best way to clean and care for my braces?
Though it may be challenging, it’s important to continue flossing even with your braces, especially after meals to remove food that may be stuck in your braces. If you have difficulty flossing, ask your orthodontist for advice and help. This goes without saying, but brushing your teeth at night and morning is crucial when you have braces to prevent the possibility of stains on your teeth after braces are removed, in addition to cavities during your treatment. Rinse with a fluoride rinse or mouthwash that offers total care such as preventing gum disease and cavities, rebuilding enamel and offers plaque protection.
Although your orthodontist is seeing you regularly for maintenance and care of your braces, it is also a good idea to see your family dentist at least every 6 months for a thorough cleaning of your teeth. Cleaning your braces may be difficult, so it’s recommended you see your dentist often to ensure you have a clean, healthy smile, especially when dealing with dental braces for children.
Something doesn’t feel right. What should I do?
It’s not uncommon to feel discomfort and often pain from having braces. Other times, something may be loose, or broken, such as an elastic, or something may simply have to be adjusted and moved around a bit. Never attempt to adjust or fix something that is or may appear to be broken or out of place at home. You may end up causing yourself more pain. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If something doesn’t feel right, is very uncomfortable or pain persists, it’s important to take note of this and go see your orthodontist for a check-up. Don’t wait for your next appointment, but call your orthodontist immediately. Most commonly, spacers may come loose, a wire may be sticking out the back and poking the side of your mouth, or the wire may come out of the brace. It’s important to remember that taking proper care of your braces will result in healthier teeth, less cost for repairs and minimal required time to keep them on.
What is the best recommendation for pain relief?
Teeth will be sore for a few days after first getting your braces on, or after they get tightened. This is completely normal and the pain can be alleviated with an over the counter pain reliever. This is the most effective means to manage pain caused by braces. If you have pain or discomfort due to sores on your gums and inside of your mouth, another remedy may be an oral anesthetic gel like Orajel. This is good for temporary pain relief for dental braces for children as it may last for a few hours. If you’re not sure, ask your orthodontist to recommend a pain medication.
At Central Florida Orthodontic Specialists, your smile is in good hands. Treatment is provided by a caring and professional Orthodontist who believes in using the latest technology and techniques. During this time, we will help you get acquainted with our office and learn about your orthodontic need. Your first orthodontic visit will consist of an examination and discussion of potential treatment options. This important visit will address your orthodontic needs to determine if this is the proper time to begin treatment. Greet the world with a beautiful smile and straight teeth!
By Scott Stein