Congratulations! You’ve made a great investment in your future by moving forward with getting braces. Your first appointment is coming up and you’re wondering how you will adjust, especially with your first week of braces.
It’s natural to be apprehensive but with a bit of preparation and these pro tips for your first week in braces, you’ll be on your way to having the smile you’ve always wanted!
Understanding How Braces Work
Before we jump into the tips, it’s also helpful to make sure that you understand how braces work exactly so that you know what to expect. Braces use gentle pressure applied on the targeted teeth to help move them into proper alignment. The teeth may need to be closer together or farther apart based on the treatment plan created by your orthodontist. This process happens slowly so your jawbones adapt to the changes without any damage.
The pressure put on the teeth may lead to discomfort, especially during the first week in braces and when the pressure is periodically changed throughout your active treatment. Your mouth may be tender for a few days, but the six pro tips listed below will help and ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
6 Tips to Ease Your First Week of Braces:
#1 – Use Over-the-Counter Pain Medicine Before Your First Appointment and For the First Few Days
The pressure and movement of your teeth can increase blood flow to your gums, which causes inflammation and pain. Your teeth and gums might ache and feel a little tender immediately after your braces are put on. This may also happen after each adjustment. Initially, this discomfort will last less than a week and only for a day or so after the periodic adjustments.
In anticipation of this tenderness, right before your initial braces bonding appointment, take any over-the-counter pain relief medication you normally take for headache or muscle pain. Continue to take it as directed during the next few days. You can also relieve the discomfort with a saltwater rinse.
Severe pain isn’t normal and shouldn’t be ignored. Notify your orthodontist if you feel anything more than the minor tenderness described here.
#2 – Assemble a To-Go Braces Care Kit And Take It With You When You’re Away From Home
Don’t get caught by the unexpected when you’re away from home! Fill a toiletry bag with these supplies to help keep your teeth and braces clean even on the go:
- A travel toothbrush
- Dental floss, floss threaders, or orthodontic flossers
- Orthodontic wax
- A small mirror
- Interdental brushes
- OTC pain reliever
Make sure to brush and floss after eating and use the mirror to check that you don’t have food stuck in the braces. OTC pain medication may never be needed but you’ll have it just in case.
#3 – Be Mindful of Certain Foods: What To Eat The First Week Of Braces
You will indeed need to adjust your eating habits while your braces are in place, especially during the first week. Your diet should consist of soft foods and cold drinks. Items like apple sauce, soup, puddings, yogurt, smoothies, and mashed foods are the best. Anything cold will help numb your mouth and relieve pain, too.
After the tenderness is gone, avoid sticky, chewy, or hard foods, like caramels (and other sticky candies), hard bagels, nuts, pizza crust, tough meats, and popcorn. Cut apples, carrots, or other hard fruits and veggies into small pieces rather than biting into them. Cut corn off the cob. And chew everything with your back teeth.
It will all be worth it when your braces come off and you have beautiful, straight teeth!
#4 – Brush and Floss Like a Pro
With metal braces, it will feel strange at first to brush and floss around the brackets and wires. Here are some tips to use:
Use a Soft-Bristled Brush and Moderate Pressure
Brush along the top and bottom of the brackets at a 45-degree angle, at the gum line, and behind the molars for two to three minutes each time.
Brush After All Meals and Snacks and Before Bed
Brush immediately after you eat and use a non-whitening, fluoride toothpaste. If you are out and can’t brush after you eat, rinse your mouth with water before eating and brush as soon as you get home. Also, make sure to brush before going to bed.
If you are wearing clear aligners to straighten your teeth, take the aligners out to eat and then brush your teeth before putting them back in.
Floss Once Daily
An orthodontic flosser or threader makes flossing with braces much easier. Make sure to get between all teeth, flossing up and down the sides of each tooth, all the way to the gum.
Interdental Brushes and a WaterPik Can Help
Also known as interproximal brushes, these are used to properly clean the spaces between teeth and around and under the brackets and wires. The WaterPik uses a stream of pulsating water to thoroughly clean all the hard-to-reach places between teeth. Keep in mind that you will still need to floss.
#5 – Use a Mouthguard
Wearing a mouthguard while playing sports (or engaging in any physical activity) is a good idea even without braces, but it is essential if you wear braces. It protects the soft tissues of the mouth and the braces if you get hit in the face. The mouthguard will take the force of the impact, saving your mouth from cuts and any other damage. Talk to your orthodontist right away about a custom mouthguard if you will be playing sports during your treatment.
#6 – Keep Your Braces Wax Nearby
Orthodontic wax can be a big help during your first week of braces treatment. At first, the hardware that makes up the braces can irritate the inside of your cheeks, lips, and tongue. After a few weeks, your mouth will naturally get used to the braces, and the irritation will go away. In the meantime, keep your braces wax handy to create a soft barrier between the irritating part of the braces and your mouth.
Dry off the area of the braces that is causing the irritation. Use a piece of gauze, a tissue, or a cotton swab to do that. Then, roll a small piece of wax between your fingers to warm it and stick it on the braces in that spot.
Your First Week In Braces Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult
Adjusting to braces can be a challenge, especially if you aren’t prepared. By being proactive and anticipating the issues that can arise, your first week in braces doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow the six tips presented in this article and you’ll be on your way to a stress-free and pain-free experience!
Here at White Plains Orthodontics, we are the trusted local provider of braces in White Plains, NY, for teens and adults. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about what to expect during your first week in braces or anything else orthodontics related. Our compassionate and experienced team is ready to assist!