Once you have begun wearing braces, it is important that you learn how to properly take care of them throughout your orthodontic treatment. Here at the practice of Drs. Sellke & Reily, we have provided the following information to help you maintain your braces.

Eating with Braces

There are certain foods that you should avoid while wearing braces in order to avoid damaging your braces and adding more time to your treatments. But don’t worry! There are still many foods that you can enjoy while wearing braces.

Foods to avoid include:

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Foods you can eat include:

  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake

Soreness Caused by Braces and Appliances

When you first begin wearing braces, you might notice that your teeth and mouth feel tender or sore. This is normal, and will go away within a few days. To relieve the discomfort, our orthodontists recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for a couple of minutes.

If your discomfort is more severe and gargling with saltwater does not provide relief, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is also common for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one or two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We can provide you with wax to put over your braces to lessen tenderness. If you want some wax, please let us know.

Loose Teeth

Your teeth may begin feeling a little loose as your treatment progresses. This is normal. Your braces must loosen your teeth in order to shift them into the correct position. When your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

Loose Wires and Bands

If the wires and bands on your braces come loose, please contact us immediately so that we can check and repair your braces. If any piece of your appliance breaks off, please save it and bring it to our office when you come in for repairs.

If you cannot come into our office immediately, there are a several temporary fixes that you can perform at home. You can use the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over it to relieve pain and irritation.

Taking Care of Your Appliances

Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process. Your teeth and jaw can only move into the correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliance prescribed by our orthodontists. Please take good care of your orthodontic appliances to ensure that they do not break or malfunction.

Playing Sports with Braces

Athletes can still play and participate in sports while undergoing orthodontic treatment. We recommend that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth, mouth and your appliance.

If you have any questions about wearing braces in your day-to-day life, please call our office. We will be happy to provide you with information about braces in Grayslake, Antioch and Gurnee, Illinois, and to schedule your next visit with one of our experienced orthodontists, Dr. Sellke or Dr. Reily.