Holzhauer and Hewett S.C.

Creating Beautiful Smiles for Children & Adults

Life with Braces

teen with braces smiling

Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It's important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.

Eating with Braces

You may enjoy the same foods as you have before with braces. Avoid hard foods or objects that can damage braces or wires.

  • Ice cubes
  • Nuts
  • Plastic Bottles
  • Pen Caps
  • Fingernails
  • Suckers
  • Jolly Ranchers

Avoid sticky sugary foods that can get stuck to the braces, causing them to come off

  • Taffy
  • Starburst
  • Skittles
  • Dots
  • Airheads
  • Caramels
  • Now & Laters

Cut hards fruits and vegetables into bite sized pieces. Cut corn off the cobb. Avoid biting with your front teeth. If you chew gum, you may have sugar free gum that is recommended by the ADA, such as Orbit, Extra, or Eclipse.

Eat smaller bites of popcorn, potato chips, or corn chips to avoid wedging them between the braces and into gum tissue. Limit foods with a high sugar content as these attract plaque and bacteria that will damage your teeth.

Soreness caused from braces and appliances

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal for patients who have just gotten their braces put on. To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).

If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness.

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

Loose Wires and Bands

The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.

You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.

Take Care of your Appliances

Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.

Playing Sports with Braces

Protecting your smile while playing sports is essential when you have braces. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in contact sports, it is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that you wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards protect jaw joints, soft tissue, and teeth against injury. Sport related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries received by athletes.

If you have braces with us, we can make you a custom fit mouthguard at no additional cost. We will take a simple impression and make the mouthguard through our in-house lab, and sometimes can be ready that same day.

In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and your appliance for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth, or if your appliance has been damaged, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.


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