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When a patient initially gets braces, a certain adjustment period is to be expected. Most patients adapt to the appliances rather quickly, but it is still helpful to know what you should expect in advance. Your orthodontist will give you more detailed recommendations based on your specific case, but here are some general guidelines regarding modifications that you may need to make in the first few weeks after you get your braces.
- Diet: While you are in active orthodontic treatment, you will need to avoid certain foods that can damage the appliances and interfere with your treatment. For example, biting directly into fresh fruits and vegetables could bend the brackets or wires, so you will need to cut up these items before eating them. Sticky foods, like caramels, should be avoided throughout treatment
- Oral hygiene routine: Patients still must maintain good oral hygiene habits when under the care of an orthodontist, but you may need to adapt your technique due to the limitations of your braces. A floss threader will be a handy tool to help you continue to keep the gumline clean while navigating around your appliances. You may also need to brush, or at least rinse your mouth, more frequently, as food debris can be captured in the brackets and held close to your teeth, where bacteria can feed on it and potentially cause decay.
- Comfort: Patients may experience some mild discomfort in the initial few weeks of wearing braces, as well as when the orthodontist makes additional adjustments to the appliances. This symptom can typically be managed with over-the-counter painkillers such as Tylenol.
Getting your braces can be a very exciting time, as it marks one of the first steps on your path to a more beautiful smile. However, it’s also important for you to make needed adjustments to your routine to accommodate the braces so that you can get the desired results from your treatment. If you have any questions about this aspect of your care, feel free to contact our office to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members.