Whether you are a teen or an adult, getting braces is a big decision, however, it will be worth it when your braces are removed and you have the most beautiful, dazzling, healthy smile.Until that day arrives, you must go through the process of living with braces. So, we at South Surrey Smiles thought we’d come up with a list to help make that time a little easier. Here are our top 5 tips to help you cope with new braces.
1. Watch what you eat
One of the realities of living with braces is that certain foods will be off limits until your braces are removed. This includes things that are super sticky (like taffy and gum), or very hard and crunchy (like corn nuts and jolly ranchers) as they can damage the brackets affixed to your teeth. Hard vegetables like carrots can be cut into small pieces or steamed. Apples can be cut up and corn on the cobb can be cut off the cobb.
You may also stay away from foods that can cause discolouration such as turmeric as it can stain the elastic ties. If this happens, the good news is, at South Surrey Smiles, we put fresh elastic ties onto your braces at every visit.
You also want to avoid really sugary foods like soda and candy and the sugar causes tooth decay. With braces, the plaque can more easily build up around the braces and behind the wires that connect them. We know that every now and again you will indulge in a treat, just make sure that you spend extra time cleaning your teeth!
One further note on this — if you have a habit of absentmindedly chewing things like fingernails or the ends of pens, having braces is a good opportunity to break that habit. Chewing on foreign objects can damage your braces.
2. Brush after every meal
This is not a bad tip for those who don’t have braces, but it’s extra important for those wearing braces. There are many more places for bits of food to hide and get stuck with braces so brushing is imperative. If you are unable to brush after a meal, give your mouth a good, forceful swish with water to dislodge food, then brush when you are able.
Don’t forget to floss at least once a day! Braces make flossing a little trickier since you need to get the floss behind the wire. But you can use floss threaders to thread the floss behind the wires to make it easier.
Make sure to see your dentist regularly. When wearing braces, it is even more important to make sure that you are staying on top of your routine check ups and cleanings.
3. Avoid whitening products
While you might be tempted to whiten your teeth while you have braces on, don’t do it. That’s because while the surface area that is exposed will lighten, the part of your tooth that’s under the bracket will remain the same colour. It’s kind of like a sock tan but on your teeth, which is much worse. If you want to whiten your teeth, wait until your braces are removed and do the whole teeth at once.
4. Stay committed
Part of having braces means making a commitment to the process. Braces don’t just magically fix your teeth, it takes effort from you as well. That means going to every orthodontist appointment and following the instructions you receive. If you have to miss an appointment, reschedule instead of waiting a month so that you don’t prolong your treatment plan. Or if your orthodontist tells you to put elastics around certain brackets, make sure you follow the instructions so that we can stay on track. We want to make sure that you get your braces off sooner than later!
It’s understandable that people, no matter their age, can be shy about getting braces. But covering your mouth with your hand or forcing yourself not to smile is not the way to go. Embrace the fact that you are making a positive improvement! Let the world know that you are on the road to perfectly aligned teeth! And don’t forget that once you get your braces off, you are going to want to smile all the time, so you might as well start now.
Dr. Lesley Williams is a Certified Specialist in Orthodontics. She grew up in Victoria, BC with her parents and two sisters.
After being awarded her Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree in 1989, Dr. Williams then spent six years as a dentist in general practice before deciding that she wanted to further her education by undertaking three extra years of highly specialized training in orthodontics. With her Masters in Science (Orthodontics) degree under her belt, she went on to sit the Orthodontic Specialty Fellowship exams through the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. To date, her status as an active leader in the orthodontic profession means that she holds the following qualifications and positions:
- Certified Specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada
- Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics
- Examiner for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and the American Board of Orthodontics.
- Former president of the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (representing 2900 orthodontists from the 4 western Canadian provinces and 8 western American states).
- Active member of the Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists.