Life With Braces
During your treatment, you’ll have to make some minor lifestyle adjustments, but these adjustments will become your new normal very quickly! Adjusting to life with braces isn’t challenging if you know what to expect.
Dr. Jewett and our amazing orthodontic team at our Johnson City office want to keep you informed every step of the way—before, during and after your treatment. We want to help you prepare for your life with braces.
Here’s what you can expect during your treatment with different types of braces or Invisalign®—and if you still have questions, please give us a call at our Johnson City office. We’d love to hear from you!
Do Braces Hurt?
No, braces don’t hurt! During the initial placement of your braces, we are bonding brackets to your teeth, and attaching your archwires. This shouldn’t cause you any pain or discomfort.
Throughout your treatment period, you’ll visit our office every 4 to 10 weeks so we can assess your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan. During these appointments, we may ‘tighten’ your archwires or reposition a bracket. It’s normal to experience some minor soreness after your adjustment appointments, but this should go away within a few days.
Invisalign doesn’t hurt either! When you’re starting out treatment with clear aligners, you may experience some soreness from the pressure of your aligners, but this is perfectly normal. Without this pressure, your treatment wouldn’t be effective!
What Can I Eat With Braces?
With metal braces, your diet the first week will differ from your diet in the following weeks and months. As your teeth are adjusting and your gums are tender, you may have to opt for softer foods, like applesauce, mashed potatoes, pasta, soft chicken, lunch meats, etc.
Knowing what to eat your first week with braces takes some of your own discretion. Foods that work well for you may not work for the next person, and vice versa.
During your first week, you may have to pick and choose the softest food options, but here’s a list of foods you can eat with braces:
Dairy — cream cheese, pudding, milk
Breads — tortillas, pancakes, muffins
Grains — pasta, rice, cereal
Meats — soft chicken, soft meatballs, lunch meats
Vegetables — cooked carrots, peas, beans
Fruits — bananas, kiwis, strawberries, grapes
Treats — ice cream (no nuts), milkshakes, Jell-O, frozen yogurt
If you prefer a treatment option that doesn’t require any dietary restrictions, Invisalign might be better suited for you! You won’t have to pick and choose different foods when you’re undergoing treatment with Invisalign, because you’ll remove your clear aligners to eat.
What Foods Should I Avoid With Braces?
During treatment with metal or ceramic braces, it’s important to avoid foods that are considerably chewy, sticky, or hard. These foods and candies can damage your brackets and wires, resulting in loose archwires, broken brackets, or broken appliances.
Here are some examples of foods to stay away from during your braces treatment to prevent an orthodontic emergency:
Chewy foods — bagels, hard bread rolls, Twizzlers
Crunchy foods — popcorn, ice, dried fruits
Sticky foods — caramel, gum, Laffy Taffy, Starburst
Hard foods — nuts, Jolly Ranchers, hard pizza crusts, Nerds
Foods that require biting — corn on the cob, apples, carrots
If you prefer a treatment option that allows you to eat anything you want, Invisalign might be better suited for you! You won’t have any dietary restrictions with Invisalign, because you’ll remove your clear aligners to eat.
Is It Normal If My Teeth Are Wiggling During Orthodontic Treatment?
As weird as this sensation may be, this is normal! Your teeth and gums are adjusting to your braces. The whole point of your treatment is to shift your teeth into alignment, and with this shifting comes some minor tooth wiggling.
Toward the end of your treatment, once your teeth have shifted into the desired position and you enter the retention phase, your teeth will stabilize and stop wiggling.
If any of your teeth are wiggling considerably and it concerns you, please don’t hesitate to give us a call! We want to alleviate your fears and ensure that your treatment is on the right track.
Can I Play Sports With Braces?
Yes, you can still play sports with braces! Although, it’s important that you wear a mouthguard while playing sports. A mouthguard will protect your cheeks, gums and teeth from potential damage during sports games or practices.
For sports players who prefer an orthodontic treatment without metal brackets and wires that could get caught in your cheeks, we offer Invisalign clear aligners and lingual (behind-the-teeth) INBRACE braces.
Depending on your preferences, Invisalign or INBRACE braces may be better suited for you, but you can still play sports no matter which type of braces you choose!
How Long Will My Treatment Period Be?
There is no fixed amount of time for your treatment period, because each patient’s case is unique. Each patient’s treatment period will differ based on their condition, the severity of their condition, and their diligence in wearing their appliances (like rubber bands) or wearing their Invisalign clear aligners.
On average, treatment with traditional braces can take anywhere from 12 to 34 months. Treatment with Invisalign can average anywhere from 12 to 18 months.
How Do I Brush And Floss My Teeth While Wearing Braces?
When you get your braces on, we’ll show you how to brush and floss your teeth properly. Proper oral hygiene is especially important during your orthodontic treatment, because bacteria can grow between teeth (if you don’t floss properly) and around brackets and archwires.
When brushing your teeth with braces, brush the outside and inside of your teeth, as well as the chewing surface and gumline. Brush in small circles to reach between your archwires and around the corners of your brackets. Make sure you’re brushing thoroughly, but gently enough to avoid damaging your braces.
To floss between your teeth, we recommend that you use a specialized flossing threader that enables you to insert the floss between your teeth and braces. Specialized flossing threaders have a solid end that makes it easier to push the floss through the archwires. We’ll show you how to floss properly before you leave your appointment too!
For patients who choose Invisalign, there won’t be any necessary adjustments in your brushing and flossing routine. You’ll remove your aligners to brush and floss your teeth, so you won’t have to work around any brackets or wires.
Will I Need Rubber Bands (Elastics) And Orthodontic Wax?
We won’t know whether you require rubber bands until you visit us for your complimentary consultation. Some patients need rubber bands to align their bite, while other patients don’t. It all depends on your unique case!
Elastics, or rubber bands, are one of the most common appliances used during treatment with braces. Elastics are hooked around a bracket on the top teeth and a bracket on the bottom teeth to exert persistent (but gentle) force. Over time, this force aligns the teeth and jaw bones and treats malocclusions (poor bite conditions), like overbites, underbites, cross bites, and open bites.
Elastics are typically worn for 24 hours a day, and will be replaced with new ones every few hours, or after each meal. Where you hook your elastics will depend on your condition and your custom treatment plan made by Dr. Jewett.
Orthodontic wax is used in the case of minor orthodontic emergencies. If a wire pops loose, or a bracket is irritating your cheeks, orthodontic wax can be applied to the bracket or poking wire to provide temporary relief until you’re able to visit us.
To apply orthodontic wax, you’ll wash your hands, then pinch off a small piece of wax. You’ll roll this piece into a ball, then apply it to the DRY wire or bracket. Squeeze the wax into place to make sure it doesn’t fall off, then run your tongue over the wax to feel for any looseness. If there is too much saliva upon placement, the wax will not stay attached well. Be sure to give us a call so we can get it fixed at your next appointment!