How to make it through your first week with braces

Congratulations from all of us at Lake Jackson Orthodontics on your new braces! Although modern treatment options provide patients with more comfort and ease than ever before, we know that they can be a bit of an adjustment, especially in your first week or so when you’re still getting used to having metal in your mouth that limits the amount of gum or nuts you can eat. As one of the leading providers of braces in Lake Jackson, we pride ourselves on helping patients navigate all segments of the treatment process! Keep reading below to learn how to make it through your first week with braces.

Plan ahead for meals and snacks

One of the toughest things to get used to with braces is the food restrictions. To protect the wires and brackets from damage, you’ll need to avoid eating anything crunchy or chewy throughout the treatment process. This can come with a bit of a learning curve, but you can make it easier on yourself by stocking the kitchen with orthodontist-approved foods even before you have your braces put on!

Our team will let you know what ingredients and snacks are safe, so you can use that list as a general guideline throughout your orthodontic experience. However, the first week or so immediately after you get your braces may look a little different. That’s because your teeth will be a little sensitive and your mouth may be sore. This will only be temporary, but sticking to soft foods and cold drinks during this time will help. Think soup, smoothies, applesauce, mashed potatoes, pudding, yogurt… and ice cream! The warmth of soup and mashed potatoes can be soothing, while the cold from ice cream and smoothies helps numb your mouth a bit.

Be prepared for any discomfort and soreness

Patients often worry that braces will be painful. The good news is, that today’s treatments are more comfortable than ever before! Braces don’t hurt, but there may be times you experience some mild discomfort or soreness. This often occurs right after braces are put on for the first time, and can sometimes follow adjustment appointments.

Any sensitivity will be temporary and should vanish within a day or two, but you can get a jump on this by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever right before your bonding appointment and before any adjustments. Be sure to check with Dr. McGrory before taking any medications, however!

As we mentioned above, sticking to soft foods and cold beverages will also help soothe a sore mouth. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of your jaw can give you some additional pain relief as well.

Take advantage of at-home remedies

It’s common to experience some irritation on the inside of your lips and cheeks during your first week in braces. This will disappear over time as your mouth toughens up, but in the meantime, there are a couple of ways to find relief. Saltwater rinses are a tried-and-true home remedy for relieving soreness! Simply mix one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. You can repeat this several times during the day.

If there are specific areas of your braces irritating the inside of your mouth, warm up a pea-sized piece of orthodontic wax between your fingers and use it to cover the places that are bothering you. This provides a protective barrier between your braces and the sensitive tissues inside your lips and cheeks. Just be sure to remove it when you’re brushing your teeth or eating, then reapply as needed.

Take extra care with your oral hygiene routine

Brushing and flossing your newly-braced teeth can feel pretty strange at first, but maintaining your oral health is an essential part of the treatment process. With a bit of practice, you’ll be handling it like a pro in no time! Our team will instruct you on how to brush and floss correctly, but here are some helpful tips in case you need a reminder.

  • Brush your teeth in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed.
    • Use a non-whitening fluoride toothpaste and brush for at least three minutes each time.
    • If you’re out and about, rinse your mouth with water before and after eating, then brush as soon as you’re able to!
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush every surface of every tooth, as well as your brackets.
    • Tilt your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and use light-moderate pressure.
    • Don’t forget to give the gumline plenty of attention, too!
  • Floss once daily. An orthodontic flosser or a floss threader can make the process a whole lot easier!
    • Make sure you floss up and down the side of each tooth all the way up to the gums.
    • Tools like interproximal brushes can be helpful for getting into the nooks and crannies created by your brackets and wires. Waterpiks can also be a fantastic way to rinse away food particles in hard-to-reach places, leaving your teeth sparkling clean!

Remember: this won’t last forever!

Like anything new in life, there’s an adjustment period with braces. It will take some time for your tongue and lips to get used to sharing space with the brackets and wires. You’ll probably feel like your braces are very bulky and noticeable. In fact, they may be all you see when you look in the mirror at first! Don’t get discouraged—you’ll get used to your braces quickly and, after a while, you’ll hardly even notice them. Remember that this won’t last forever! All of your hard work and dedication will be more than worth it once we remove your braces and reveal your beautiful new smile.

Get your braces journey off to the best start with Lake Jackson Orthodontics

Now that you know how best to navigate your first week in braces, you can look forward to taking the first step towards a happier smile and healthier mouth! Our expert team creates beautiful smiles for patients every day, and we’re committed to keeping the treatment process fun and free from stress. Dr. McGrory is here to answer any questions you have about your orthodontic journey, and we’re always happy to discuss any concerns you have about your treatment plan. Working as a team will give you the best experience and the best results!

Are you interested in how braces can transform your smile and want to learn more about our treatment options? Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. McGrory!