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First Days In Braces

The adhesive used to attach the braces to your teeth cures rapidly, but takes several hours to cure completely. You can eat any time after leaving our office. However, Dr. Held asks that you remember the list of foods that may be harmful to your braces. Until you become accustomed to eating with your new braces, you may find it beneficial to follow a diet that consists of all soft foods.

Initially, the braces feel as if they stick out. This feeling is normal. As you become accustomed to your braces and tooth alignment improves, this sensation will cease to be a concern.

Although the brackets have been rounded and smoothed, until your lips, cheeks, and tongue have toughened, they may become irritated for one to two weeks. If so, you may find it helpful to use a pea-sized or grape-sized piece of orthodontic wax on the irritating bracket or wire end, by embedding the irritating bracket or wire totally within the wax.

If your supply of wax runs out, please Text or call the office for more. Dr. Held is happy to give you wax to lessen any irritation. Please just let her know that you need some. The wax may also be purchased at a local pharmacy or grocery store.

You will probably notice some discomfort beginning a few hours after your braces are placed. Some teeth, usually the ones in front, may be tender and sensitive to pressure. Occasionally, patients report that they experience no discomfort, but most patients have some soreness a few hours after having braces put on. This soreness dissipates within a day or two. Exactly when the discomfort will cease is impossible to predict and differs with each patient.

To relieve the soreness, Dr. Held recommends dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes, but do not swallow the salt water.

If the sorenes does not go away after rinsing, Dr. Held also recommends taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as Ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®), in regular doses. If Ibuprofen cannot be taken or is not effective, Naproxen (Aleve®) in regular doses is a good second choice.

While Tylenol® will address discomfort, it is not an anti-inflammatory medication and thus, it will not work as well to alleviate the inflammatory response to moving teeth. For maximum effectiveness, it may be best to take such medications before the discomfort begins.

And please be aware that while local use of Ibuprofen is recommended, chronic use of any over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication will slow down tooth movement and may increase treatment time.

It is necessary to clean your braces, using the hygiene kit and instructions provided. Doing so will prevent scarring, cavities, and gum disease. Additionally, teeth move faster in a healthy environment. Please see the oral hygiene page for a review of cleaning instructions.

Before Leaving the Office

Take routine steps prior to leaving the office. These will minimize discomfort related to irritation from your braces and ensure an optimal response to treatment. Please make these tasks a part of each office visit:

  • Using your finger and tongue, check to see that the wire ends do not extend into areas which might poke or abrade the cheek or tongue.

  • Make sure that you understand what you are supposed to do until the next appointment. Your responsibilities could include wearing elastics as instructed, and/or following specific hygiene and diet instructions.

  • Make sure that you have an adequate supply of orthodontic wax, special cleaning aids, elastic rubberbands, or other related materials that you might need between appointments.

  • Whenever possible, schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. Waiting one to two weeks after an appointment before scheduling your next visit complicates the scheduling process, since appointments are typically programmed eight to 12 weeks in advance. Postponing appointments is a common contributor to extended treatment length.

Visit the Emergencies and Urgencies page for more helpful information.

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