Looking after your braces
After you’ve had your braces fitted, you’ll need to follow your dentist’s advice to make sure you keep your teeth (and braces) clean and healthy. This article outlines the things you should do to prevent damage or decay.
Keeping your braces clean
It’s important to make sure you’re cleaning your teeth properly and that you keep up good oral hygiene when you have braces. With fixed braces, in particular, there’s a higher risk of plaque building up and food getting stuck in your braces and teeth. It’s important that when you have braces, you clean your teeth after every meal.
You’ll also be advised to see the hygienist regularly when you have braces, as they can help you brush the difficult parts you might not be able to easily reach. Using a toothpaste with a fluoride content of 1450ppm (you can find this information on the packaging) is also recommended, as this can help fight off decay.
Eating with braces
You should avoid eating anything sticky or crunchy while you have braces on, such as caramel or lollipops as these could snap or damage the wires. These foods can also get stuck in your braces and be difficult to clean out when brushing and flossing. You should avoid fizzy drinks while you have your braces on, as this could cause decay in the teeth. Even diet drinks will still contribute to plaque build-up, which is bad for your teeth and can stain the brackets of your braces.
Wearing a retainer
One of the most important pieces of aftercare advice for braces is wearing your retainer. Retainers are designed to keep the teeth in place so they don’t move back into their original position.
Pain after having braces fitted
It's likely you’ll have some pain after your braces are fitted while you get used to the feel of having them on. This can be reduced with the help of painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
For the first few days, you should stick to soft foods such as soup and mashed potato to help you get used to eating with your braces on. You may also get some sores on the inside of your mouth while your gums adjust to having braces resting on them.
As you go through the teeth straightening process, you might also feel some mild discomfort, as it’s an unusual feeling that the teeth are changing position. The longer you have the braces, the more natural it will become and the less discomfort you will feel.
Smoking and braces
Before you have your braces fitted, your orthodontist will advise you to give up smoking, as this can stain the brackets of your braces, especially if you’ve opted for clear ones. It can also make you more prone to a plaque build-up in the mouth.
The type of brace you opt for will determine when and how often you have follow-up appointments. If you’ve had fixed braces, these are usually tightened every six to eight weeks to help the straightening process.
If you’ve opted for removable braces, you’ll be given a new set of aligners every two weeks, so they don’t lose shape.
If your braces snap, you should book an emergency appointment with your orthodontist so they can fix them as soon as possible.