What to Expect Now…
Teeth may become sore or achy when you get your braces on. You may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3-5 days. Maintain a soft food diet as needed (mashed/baked potatoes, soups, mac‘n’cheese, smoothies, milk shakes, ice cream, etc). Chewing sugar-free gum for the first 72 hours once the braces are placed will help work out the soreness. If necessary, take the pain reliever you would use for a headache (Advil, Tylenol, Motrin, Aleve, etc.).
The First Week…
During the first week of treatment, you may notice sores or ulcers inside your mouth. This can happen because your lips and cheeks are not yet used to rubbing against your orthodontic braces. Over time, the inside of your mouth will become tougher, and you will not have sores anymore. To provide some relief for your lips and cheeks rubbing against your braces, you can place a small amount of wax on the area of the braces that is causing the sore or ulcer. The sore should improve within a couple of days and completely heal within a week. Rinsing with warm salt water or using Colgate’s Peroxyl several times a day can start the healing. Peroxyl is an oral rinse that can be found at Walmart, Target, HEB, CVS, etc. It is much like Peroxide but instead a mouth rinse that is used to reduce the bacteria around the sore or ulcer. You can also apply Orabase gel with a Q-tip to the area to help numb the sore, and also to prevent your braces from rubbing the area. If the sore or ulcer does not improve or gets worse, call your orthodontist to have it examined.
Typically, soreness from the headgear, elastics, or wire changes will disappear after a few days, but soreness may persist for as long as a couple of weeks. Very few patients complain of having sore teeth essentially the whole time while in braces. Once the soreness is gone, it is not uncommon for soreness to flare up again. Soreness tends to leapfrog among different teeth at different times as a result of tooth movement.
Loose Wire, Bracket or Band
Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. If irritation to the lips or mouth occurs, place wax on the area to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.
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 newly-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 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 professional cleanings. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment and need to be cleared by their dentist or periodontist prior to braces placement. Lack of proper brushing and flossing can lengthen your treatment time. Also, it can cause a less-than-wanted result at the end of treatment. Braces may also be removed EARLY IF proper hygiene is not kept.
A protective mouthguard is advised for ALL contact sports (football, soccer, basketball, baseball/softball, volleyball, etc.). It is important that mouthguards be worn to prevent broken braces and hard trauma to the teeth with braces. We provide special mouthguards that are made to go around your braces. You DO NOT want to use a boil & bite mouthguard. There is a lot of pressure needed with a boil & bite that could break your braces. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the braces, call our office or your dentist immediately, or seek emergency room (ER) attention in severe cases. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.