The decision to get braces as an adult can be difficult, but the long-lasting rewards as a result of the treatment are well worth the temporary investment and commitment required.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate the unfamiliar waters of life as an adult with braces.
Tip #1 – Expect some level of discomfort, especially at first
Braces are designed to physically move your teeth into new positions. It’s understandable how that process could cause some discomfort in your mouth and jaw.
Warm compresses or a heating pad can help ease jaw soreness, and dental wax applied to the braces can help protect your cheeks.
Tip #2 – Foods to avoid
For the first few days, soft foods will be easier to eat, such as soups, oatmeal, pasta, and scrambled eggs, to name a few. After the initial period of soft foods, you can return to regular eating, but there are several food types you’ll need to avoid for the duration of the time you have braces.
The list of foods to avoid includes, but may not be limited to:
- Foods that are sticky or chewy – bagels, caramel, gum, etc.
- Hard candies or other hard, crunchy foods that could damage the braces – like popcorn, apples, carrots, nuts
- Starchy foods or sugary foods and beverages – they cause plaque to build up around the braces
Your orthodontist will likely supply you with a full list of recommended foods you can or cannot eat. You’ll find it will help to cut up most of your food into smaller than normal, bite-sized pieces.
Tip #3 – Proper oral hygiene is a critical component
It’s a good idea to put together a cleaning kit, and perhaps even a second one to take with you when you’re away from home. You’ll need to be consistent and thorough with cleaning your teeth after every meal and flossing the braces and wires at least once a day. You’ll find waxed floss is easier to use with braces and less likely to get snagged on the metal.
If food particles and plaque get trapped in the braces and are allowed to remain stuck there for too long, your chance for cavities and decay increase.
Tip #4 – Know when it’s time to call the orthodontist
While some minor discomfort is to be expected, you shouldn’t have severe pain. If you do, or if you notice a wire is broken or a band has come loose, don’t hesitate to contact your orthodontist and set up an emergency appointment if necessary.
If you can’t get to the office right away, you can sterilize a pair of fingernail clippers, clip the point of the wire that’s broken and then cover it with dental wax until you can see the doctor.
Tip #5 – Keep smiling and maintain a positive attitude
You may be tempted not to smile as often or to hide your mouth behind your hand because you feel embarrassed about having braces. There’s no need for embarrassment. More adults are opting for braces than ever before, and it’s truly becoming part of everyday life.
Remember your braces are only temporary and focus on smiling as much as possible. It helps you maintain a positive outlook for what’s in store for you down the road.
If you have any questions, contact our office and we’ll be happy to help you.