If you’re inching closer to your first week with braces, you’re probably feeling a lot of different emotions. You might be excited to start the journey towards your brand new smile, but you might also be a bit nervous about what to expect. You’ve probably got a million questions on your mind, too. Does it hurt to get braces put on? What can you eat with braces? How do you brush or floss with braces? How does the braces process work anyway?
At Shine Orthodontics, we know it can be nerve wracking to head into the unknown world of life with braces — but it doesn’t have to be. As your Thornton, Colorado orthodontists, we want you to feel fully prepared and confident to start your treatment. That’s why Dr. Brandon Scheer and his team are here to give you all the information, tips and tricks you need to cruise through your first week with braces with ease.
1. Know What to Expect from the First Week with Braces
As they say, knowledge is power. If you’re nervous about getting braces put on, it can be helpful to read up on what exactly to expect from the process. At this point, you will have already had your initial consultation with Dr. Scheer and your treatment plan has been locked in. All that’s left is to put your braces on and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier smile. Here’s how it works:
- Step 1: Dr. Scheer will then clean your teeth to make sure he’s starting with a clean surface.
- Step 2: He’ll attach your metal or ceramic braces brackets to your teeth using a small amount of a special orthodontic glue.
- Step 3: Next, he’ll attach your archwire to the brackets using small elastic bands. You can choose whichever color you’d like and even change your colors at each visit.
- Step 4: Go home and start your first week with braces!
When you come in to get your braces put on, expect to be at our Thornton orthodontic office for about one to two hours. Throughout the process, you will likely experience some pressure on your teeth but it should never be painful. If you’re worried about discomfort, you can always take a mild over-the-counter pain reliever, like Tylenol, prior to your bonding appointment.
2. Fill the Fridge with Braces-Friendly Foods
One of the biggest challenges when adapting to life with braces is figuring out what you can and cannot eat with your new hardware. It can feel like there are a lot of rules around eating with braces at first, but if you just keep a few key things in mind, it’s actually pretty simple.
Basically, the rule of thumb is not to eat anything that could break your braces or get caught beneath your brackets and wires. After all, if you do damage your braces, you’ll need an emergency trip to your Thornton orthodontist to get your treatment back on track … and as much as we love to see our patients’ smiling faces, the less we see you during treatment, the better! So, that means you’ll need to avoid anything hard, crunchy, chewy, sticky or any foods you have to bite into. Here are some examples of foods to avoid with braces:
- Hard foods: nuts, hard candies
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
- Chewy foods: beef jerky, licorice, bagels, pizza crust
- Sticky foods: caramel, taffy, gummies
- Foods you bite into: whole apples, whole raw carrots, corn on the cob
Instead, you’ll want to stock up on foods that are safe for braces. In the first week, your teeth might be a little tender as they adjust to your gear, so the best options will be soft, cool foods that are easy to chew (or don’t require any chewing at all!). Here are some great foods for the first week with braces:
- Soft cheeses
- Soft fruits and vegetables (such as baked apples, watermelon or steamed veggies)
- Soft meats
3. Learn How to Brush and Floss with Braces
You already know that eating with braces takes a little extra forethought. Well, the same goes for brushing and flossing. Proper oral hygiene is more important than ever when you have braces because it’s much easier for food particles to get trapped between your teeth. You’ll need to take extra care when brushing and flossing, so here are some tips for getting into those hard-to-reach places.
- Brushing your teeth with braces: Everyone should always brush their teeth at least twice a day, but with braces, you’ll need to brush after every meal and snack. Yes, we know it sounds like a lot but it’s the absolute best way to prevent harmful plaque and bacteria from building up on your teeth. We recommend using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush.
- Flossing your teeth with braces: Let’s face it, no one really loves flossing their teeth. Fortunately, even with braces, you just have to do it once a day. To make flossing with braces easier, try using an orthodontic flosser or floss threader so you can be sure to get in between every set of teeth.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re staying on top of flossing and brushing your teeth with braces is to build a braces to-go kit. Put your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss in a little bag and keep it with you wherever you go. Trust us, taking good care of your teeth will make all the difference in your future smile.
4. Prepare for (Rare) Braces Emergencies
We’re not trying to freak you out — rest assured that true orthodontic emergencies are incredibly rare. That said, minor braces emergencies do happen but the good news is that they can easily be handled at home. These are some of the most common issues that may occur:
- Soreness: As we said before, braces should never hurt but they can cause some mild discomfort. If you’re experiencing soreness during your first week with braces, take a pain reliever such as Tylenol.
- Irritation: When you first get braces, the inside of your mouth might get irritated by your new hardware. To relieve discomfort, swish a saltwater rinse (one teaspoon of salt in a glass of water) around your mouth throughout the day as needed, or place orthodontic wax over the brackets that are causing irritation.
- Poking wires: It’s totally normal for braces wires to come loose sometimes. If this happens, the ends of the wires may poke the inside of your cheeks and lips. Use a clean cotton swab to push the wire back into place and cover it with orthodontic wax. Then call us to book an appointment and we’ll fix it up for you.
- Broken or loose bracket: If one of your brackets breaks or becomes loose, don’t panic. Simply place orthodontic wax over the bracket to secure it (temporarily) in place and then call Shine Orthodontics to schedule an appointment as soon as possible so we can reattach it.
5. Look Forward to Your New Smile
The first week of braces can be tough for a lot of patients for good reason. You might be a little uncomfortable, and you have to change what you eat and how you brush your teeth. Not to mention, you’re looking at a whole new smile in the mirror! But we promise you that you’ll get used to your braces in no time and soon you’ll hardly notice they’re there. Before you know it, it’ll be time for your braces to come off and you’ll have the straight, healthy teeth you’ve been waiting for. So keep your eye on the prize and trust that it will all be worth it in the end.
If you still have questions about what to expect from your first week with braces, or if you’re looking to start orthodontic treatment, contact Shine Orthodontics to book a consultation. We’re here to support you on your journey to a healthier smile.