Life With Braces - Western Massachusetts

Tips to Make Daily Life Easier

Safe Foods:

Girl with braces in Western Massachusetts holding a green apple

While you must modify your diet while wearing braces in Western Massachusetts, there are still many things you can enjoy. Here are some examples:

  • Fruit /raw vegetables cut up into bite-size pieces
  • Mini pretzel sticks, thin chips, and crackers
  • Pirate Booty (a great popcorn alternative!)
  • Popcorn (but no kernels)
  • Be sure to brush after these snacks!!

Foods to Avoid:

Young man with braces cleaning his teeth
  • Ice
  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard cookies, hard bread crusts, tough bagels, hard pretzels, and granola bars.
  • Corn chips, nuts, peanut brittle
  • Beef jerky, ribs, Buffalo wings
  • Hard sticky candy (Jolly Ranchers, Lifesavers, Mints, Skittles, Starburst)
  • Caramel and candy apples
  • Chewy candy (Milk Duds, Sugar Babies, Rolos, gummies, Swedish Fish, Twizzlers, taffy)
  • Rice Krispy Treats

Habits That Will Damage Your Braces:

Girl in orthodontic treatment chair holding her cheek in pain

In addition to the above-mentioned foods, some habits can bend and break your braces.

  • Picking at braces with pens or fingers
  • Biting your fingernails
  • Sucking your thumb or fingers
  • Chewing on pens and pencils

General Soreness

Orthodontist examining a patient with braces

Right after you get your braces put on, you may feel a bit of pressure or tenderness in your teeth and gums. This will usually go away after three to five days, but you can take Tylenol or Ibuprofen to help in the meantime. Certain areas of your mouth may become irritated because of the metal brackets as well, but they will adapt and toughen up over time. Rinsing with saltwater or placing dental wax over an offending bracket can help minimize any irritation, too.

Loosening of Teeth

Close up of smiling girl with braces holding a toothbrush

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 new-corrected position.

Rubber Bands

Close up of a smile with rubber bands on their braces

Rubber bands are small elastics that create a continuous force causing the upper and lower jaws to align properly. Unless otherwise advised by your Springfield orthodontist, you need to wear your elastics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may remove the elastics only when eating and brushing your teeth. You should wear the rubber bands the way the assistant has shown you. If you forget how to wear them, please call the orthodontic office so we can explain the proper placement. You should replace your rubber bands with new ones at least once a day. After a while, elastics lose their strength. Always carry extra elastics with you in case they break or get lost. If you run out of elastics or lose them, please stop by the orthodontic office to pick up more. If it is not convenient to do so then call us and we will be more than happy to send them to you.

Your teeth may feel sore for a couple of days while adjusting to the elastics. The soreness will go away with continuous wear. Giving your teeth “a break” from the elastics will only make them feel sore the next time you put them on and set you back in treatment.

Brushing and Flossing

Orthodontist performing an exam on a young girl with braces

Good oral hygiene practices are important to a healthy mouth with or without braces. With braces, food and plaque have more places to hide. It is important to take a full 2-3 minutes of quality brushing 2-3 times a day. You should make certain to brush along the gum line where food and plaque can easily get caught. After your braces are placed, one of our team members will go through detailed hygiene instructions with you. We will provide you with an orthodontic “survival kit” that has all the tools you will need to care for your teeth and braces.

Retainers - Essix Retainers - clear retainers

Congratulations!! You have made it through orthodontic treatment in Enfield and now you have a beautiful smile. In order to keep your great smile, you must wear your retainers or else the teeth will move back. You will need to follow these directions to take care of your retainers and your brand-new smile.

  • Wear retainers FULL TIME for one month (unless otherwise told by the doctor). You may remove your retainers while eating and brushing but you must replace them as soon as you are finished.
  • After wearing retainers for one full month, you can then begin to wear them at night only. You need to wear your retainers EVERY night for about 10 to 12 hours. If you only sleep eight hours then put them in a few hours before bed.
  • Keep retainers clean by gently scrubbing them with your toothbrush. Never rinse with really hot water. Make sure to clean retainers before storing them in your case.
  • Always bring your retainers with you for your appointments. If your retainer is lost or broken, please call immediately. If you do not wear your retainer, the teeth will move back. There will be a fee for replacement retainers.
  • Keep retainers away from pets. They will make a great chew toy.
  • Never wrap retainers in a napkin or paper towel. They will get thrown away.