About a quarter of American adults are undergoing orthodontic treatment right now, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, and that means there are lots of adults wearing braces. If you’re one of them, you recognize the important benefits braces can offer for your smile and your oral health.
As a leading provider of adult braces for patients in Cedar Park, Texas, Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, helps women and men at Freedom Orthodontics improve their smiles, alignment, and bite balances with custom treatments designed just for them. In this post, Dr. Smith offers a few tips to help you adjust to your life with braces.
1. Prepare for some discomfort
Braces can be a little uncomfortable when you’re not used to them, and regular adjustments can also be followed by some temporary discomfort. Over-the-counter pain medicines can help, and you can also try a warm compress or heating pad against the outside of your cheek.
2. Stock up on soft foods
If your teeth are a little sore, having soft foods on hand can help. Yogurt, smoothies, bananas, soups, and puddings are all good choices to prevent irritating your teeth. Cold drinks and ice cream may also help.
3. Practice your cleaning routine
Braces do require some extra attention when it comes to brushing and flossing, but fortunately, there are tools that can help. Our team gives you plenty of pointers when you get your braces, and with a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time. Just be sure to brush and floss regularly to keep cavities and gum disease at bay.
4. Pick up some dental wax
Especially when you first get braces, wires and brackets might irritate your lips or the insides of your cheeks. Dental wax can help. Available in most drug stores or online, dental wax is warmed with your fingers, then applied to your wires or brackets as needed.
5. Put together a care kit
Gather an extra toothbrush, dental floss, a small tube of toothpaste, a little dental wax, and some lip balm, and keep them in a container you can carry to work, school, or any time you’re out. Having these items on hand means you can clean your braces (and your teeth) wherever you are, and the wax and balm ensure you’ll always be comfortable.
6. Know which foods to avoid
Hard, chewy, and sticky foods can damage your wires or get stuck in your brackets. Nuts, gum, hard candy, popcorn, and corn on the cob should be avoided, along with hard rolls, chewy bagels, and raw vegetables (unless they’re cut into smaller portions). Don’t chew on ice, pencils, or other objects, and if your wires or brackets do get damaged, give us a call right away.
7. Focus on the benefits
Orthodontic treatment might seem like a drag from time to time, but once you get used to wearing your braces, you’ll hardly know they’re there. If you do start to feel a little frustrated by your appliances, it can help to remember why you’re wearing them and focus on the amazing benefits for your smile and your oral health.
8. Keep your appointments
Regular office visits are essential for keeping your treatment on track. During your visits, we’ll adjust your braces to keep your teeth moving into their proper positions. Skipping visits often means you’ll need to wear your braces longer. If you must miss an appointment, call us right away to reschedule.
9. Know when to call the office
Making appointments isn't the only reason to call the office. You should also call if your braces are causing you discomfort, if you break a bracket or wire, or if you get food stuck in your braces and you can’t remove it with regular brushing and flossing.
A beautiful smile is in your future
Wearing braces is an investment in your future, offering a lifetime of beautiful smiles and improved oral health. If you need more tips to help you navigate your treatment with ease, we can help. To learn more, call Freedom Orthodontics or book an appointment online today.