Once your braces are placed, it is important that you properly care for them. At Charles L. Oakes, DDS, Inc., we will show you how to care for your braces. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Eating with Braces
While you have braces, you need to be careful to avoid certain foods that could damage your braces. But don’t worry; you’ll be enjoying popcorn and caramels again soon!

Foods to avoid with braces:

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

Foods you can eat with braces:

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

Soreness caused by braces and orthodontic appliances
Your teeth and mouth may feel a little sore and tender when you first get your braces. This is normal, and the soreness will not last long. To help relieve the pain, you can dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and swish and gargle (but do not swallow) this solution for a couple minutes. If the saltwater does not help relieve the pain, Charles L. Oakes, DDS, Inc. recommends you take a pain reliever. Your tongue, lips, and cheeks may be irritated for one to two weeks while they get used to your new braces as well. To lessen the tenderness, you can place wax over the braces. To learn more about wax and other ways to relieve the tenderness, we welcome you to call our orthodontic office in Mesquite, Texas today.

Loose Teeth
When you first get your braces, your teeth may begin to feel a little loose. Don’t worry! This is normal as your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them to the correct position. Once they reach their new position, your teeth will no longer feel loose.

Loose Wires and Bands

On occasion you may have a wire bend or break, a bracket come loose or a molar band come off. None of these are emergencies. To temporarily fix a loose wire, use a pencil eraser to gently push the wire back into place. If the wire irritates your lips or cheeks, place wax or a wet cotton ball over the end of the wire to lessen the irritation. If it becomes too much for you to take care of until your next appointment, call our office and we will make you an emergency appointment. We see our emergencies first thing in the morning Tuesday through Thursday but you must call ahead. We do not see any emergencies in the afternoon. If a bracket comes loose or falls off it is not an emergency and we will replace it at your next scheduled appointment. If a molar band comes off, please save it in an envelope or plastic bag to bring with you at your next appointment. You will also need to call and let us know so we can schedule a spacer appointment the week before.

Care for Your Orthodontic Appliances
It is important that you take good care of your orthodontic appliances! If your appliance is damaged, it can increase the length of your treatment process. Be sure that you wear the rubber bands, retainer, headgear, or other orthodontic appliances consistently as prescribed by your orthodontist, Dr. Oakes, to ensure that your teeth and jaw move into their correct positions.

Elastic Wear
1. Braces can align and straighten teeth. It is the elastics (rubber bands) that will correct the bit and achieve the desired treatment result.

2. In order to achieve proper tooth movement, elastics must be worn all of the time. Day and night. It is ok to remove the elastics while eating, brushing, wearing a mouth guard for sports, singing and playing a musical instrument. Wear the elastics to your appointments so we can check them to be sure they are attached to the correct teeth.

3. If you forget which teeth to put your elastics on, please call us.

4. If you are getting low on your supply of elastics or you lose them, please call us. You can come by the office to get more, or we can mail some to you. Do not just wait for your next appointment to get more elastics.

5. If you are having a problem with your elastics that result in them not staying in place or popping off/breaking a lot, please call us so we can determine what is causing this problem.

*** Wearing elastics as instructed will allow the treatment to stay on time and reach a successful result. Conversely, not wearing elastics as instructed will lead to a compromised treatment result. Good elastic compliance is a very important part of successful treatment.

Retention

After full orthodontic treatment is completed and the braces are removed, the Retention stage of treatment begins. During the Retention phase, patients do not have regular visits to the office like they did during active orthodontic treatment.

The final orthodontic result depends on how regularly retainers are worn. Dr. Oakes recommends wearing the retainers every night during sleep. Without retainers, teeth tend to try and shift back to their natural, crooked positions. Retainer wear is a lifetime commitment. Dr. Oakes does not accept responsibility for a patient who fails to wear his or her retainers as instructed following treatment.