Here’s what we recommend.
Take Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers for Mild Discomfort
It’s normal to feel some discomfort after we adjust your traditional metal braces. That’s a sign that your braces are working! During your treatment, your dental braces will exert a gentle, steady pressure on your teeth. This guides your teeth to create a straighter, more attractive smile.
The discomfort should only last for a day or so after we adjust your dental braces. You may also manage any discomfort with over-the-counter pain relievers. In fact, many patients take over-the-counter pain relievers right before their appointment. That way, the medication has time to work before you start to feel the pressure on your teeth.
Use Wax for Irritated Lips and Cheeks
During your visit, we can give you some dental wax in case the brackets irritate your lips and cheeks. For relief, pinch off a pea-sized glob of wax before squishing it between your fingers. Next, you’ll want to gently push the wax on top of the offending bracket. Since the wax isn’t medicated, you won’t need to worry if you swallow it by accident. Just don’t make a habit of it!
Use Tweezers to Replace Elastic Ties
During orthodontic treatment, you’ll need to avoid sticky foods like caramel. Otherwise, the small elastic ties that hold the arch wire in place can loosen or fall off their brackets. Our Ann Arbor orthodontist recommends using tweezers to put elastic ties back in place.
Wear a Mouth Guard to Prevent Injuries
Do you play a contact sport? If so, let us know so we can recommend a protective mouth guard. A mouth guard is an oral appliance that absorbs some of the impact of getting hit in the face. For example, it can prevent you from knocking out a tooth the next time you’re tackled on the football field.
Slide Loose Brackets Back into Place With Tweezers
Most patients don’t realize that a bracket is loose until they go to brush their teeth. At that point, they notice that the bracket is off-center on the tooth. Keep in mind that you may not notice a loose bracket right away if it’s made of clear porcelain.
If a bracket comes loose between appointments, schedule an appointment with our orthodontist. In the meantime, use tweezers to slide the bracket into its proper place. Next, you’ll need to gently push the bracket back against the tooth.
Clip Pokey Wires
If you have a wire protruding off the end of your last bracket, use a small keychain nail clipper to trim the excess. We recommend using a folded tissue to isolate the piece of wire from your gums before trimming. If the excess wire isn’t long enough to trim, place a pea-sized glob of wax between the wire and your cheek.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
It’s essential that you practice good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment. That way, your teeth and gums remain healthy while you have traditional metal braces. To make flossing easier, we may recommend using a floss threader. This helps to guide the floss under the archwire so you can clean between each tooth.
Avoid Sticky and/or Chewy Foods
In general, we recommend staying away from foods that are sticky and/or difficult to chew. Otherwise, you risk damaging your metal wires and brackets. Foods to stay away from include raw carrots, raw apples, caramel, popcorn, and bagels.
Learn More: Foods to Avoid with Metal Braces →
Request an Appointment With Us
Always remember that you can call our office with any questions or concerns. Our team would be more than happy to give you instructions for at-home care. We can also set up an appointment if you need to see us right away.
Ready to request an appointment with our orthodontist in Ann Arbor, MI? Call Enhance Family Dentistry & Orthodontics at (734) 821-7676. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our team will reach out to you soon.
This blog post has been updated.