How long will my dental braces hurt?
When you first get braces on, your teeth will hurt or you may be in some amount of discomfort for several weeks. After about a month, it will get better. In a few months, you may even forget that you are wearing them. Within 3 months you will probably be able to eat almost anything you like. In six months, you might even be able to bite into hard cookies, chips, and crusty bread again. (Eat these things in moderation and always be careful).
I just got braces recently.
Why do my teeth feel loose?
The periodontal ligament, which helps to hold your teeth in place, is loosening up. Don’t worry; this is perfectly normal, although it can be very disconcerting. The teeth should stop feeling loose after a few weeks. If you’re very concerned about it, or if the teeth feel loose for months on end, talk to your dentist or orthodontist about it.
What helps to heal irritations in
your mouth from dental braces?
A warm salt water rinse, several times per day, can be very soothing. But if that isn’t enough, try a mouth rinse called Rincinol PRN, which helps to heal mouth sores. You can find this product at many stores online, or at your local drugstore or pharmacy. You may also want to read our page of suggestions about canker sore remedies, which contains many suggestions.
What is an orthodontic adjustment
and how is it done?
This is usually what happens during an orthodontic adjustment:
The orthodontic assistant removes your elastic ligatures (the little rubber bands that hold each bracket to the arch wire).
Then the arch wire is removed.
The orthodontist may come over to examine your teeth’s progress. Depending on the situation, a new arch wire may be needed. If you need anything new (such as power chains or elastics), the orthodontist should tell you.
The arch wire (new or previous) is put back onto your brackets. New elastic ligatures are put on.
For a detailed description of the procedure, read About Tightening/ Adjustment.
Why am I drooling more
now that I have braces?
Excess saliva (drool) is actually very common when in dental braces. There are two theories for why this happens:
- Your mouth mistakes the feeling of the brackets on the inside of your cheeks for food, and produces extra saliva to help digest it.
- There may food caught between your teeth or in your braces. Production of excessive saliva helps to clean away these food particles.
Although excessive drool can be bothersome and embarrassing, it is actually good for your oral health. Saliva helps rinse away sugar, acids, and bacteria that can be harmful to your teeth. It also helps to distribute minerals such as calcium and phosphate, which serve to strengthen the teeth.
So, while excessive drooling may be a bit frustrating, it’s nothing to be concerned about. If you feel that you are drooling more because your mouth is dry, discuss it with your dentist.
Why have I developed gaps between
teeth now that I have braces?
It is very common for your teeth shift and develop gaps while treatment is underway. Your bite will change many times during your treatment. Remember that any strange gaps or bite problems will be resolved by the time your treatment is finished. If you are really concerned, mention it to your orthodontist.
Do I really need to brush my teeth after
every meal when I’m wearing braces?
Yes you should, because depending on what you eat, food gets stuck in and around the brackets. Besides looking gross, it causes tooth decay and bad breath. It also feels yucky. Some people can’t stand the feeling of food stuck in their brackets. You wouldn’t believe how much food can get stuck — often more than you’d imagine!
However, if you let the brushing slide every so often, it’s not the end of the world. Just try to be as diligent as possible on a regular basis. At the very least, swish your mouth with water and try to pick out any food that is stuck in your brackets. It’s also a good idea to floss each night, or at least a few times per week. Sometimes food gets stuck between teeth and you don’t realize it until you floss it out.
Some dentists also recommend a fluoride mouth rinse, such as ACT, which is available in most supermarkets and pharmacies, and comes in several flavors.
What can I do to stop my braces from hurting?
In the first weeks after you get your braces on, your mouth will be sore and your teeth will hurt. There are many ways to feel help yourself better. Most people take ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to help ease the pain. Cold drinks or cold foods (such as frozen yogurt, milkshakes, ice cream, or just plain ice water) may also help. For mouth sores, a warm salt water rinse can be soothing. There are also many products on the market to help ease your braces pain, such as the PulsatePro, Therapy Bite Wafers, and OraChill. These products are all available at DentaKit.com.
What can I eat when my braces hurt?
It is best to eat only soft foods that are easy to chew. Do not take big mouthfuls. Chew carefully and slowly so that you don’t gag or choke. Avoid stringy foods like melted cheese that forms big strings, and long stringy pasta — they will get stuck in your brackets and may cause you to gag. Cut your food into small pieces. No biting into large sandwiches — use a knife and fork until you get the hang of wearing braces! I ate hamburgers with a knife and fork the entire 3 years I was in braces!
Read our pages of Soft Food Suggestions to get some insight on what types of foods you can manage. This stage will probably only last for a few weeks, until you get used to your braces and your gums “toughen up.”
Your orthodontist may have given you a list of foods that should be avoided. These include gummy sticky foods (like Gummy Bears), and very hard foods (like nuts or hard chips). But it can also include things like ice cream and popcorn. Why? Because many flavors of ice cream can include hard chunks. The unpopped shell of popcorn can get stuck in your brackets. Biting into any hard food might cause your brackets to break or your wires to bend, so you must be careful.
Why did my orthodontic brackets pop off?
Sometimes a bracket will spontaneously pop off. There are a number of reasons this can happen. Remember that your brackets are glued on, so if the glue bond is broken, the bracket will come off. If this happens to you, call your orthodontist immediately to get it re-glued. It is normal for a bracket to pop off occasionally. But if a bunch of brackets keep popping off by no fault of your own, speak to your orthodontist about it. Gluing on brackets can be tricky and it may take a few tries to get it exactly right.
I don’t want to wear my headgear during the day
Nobody likes to wear headgear, but it serves a specific purpose in your treatment. If you don’t wear it as many hours as your dentist recommends, your treatment won’t progress as fast, and you might wind up wearing the headgear additional months. It’s best to just go along with what your dentist recommends and get it over with sooner. Read A Few Words About Headgear for more information.
How often should I get my teeth
cleaned when I have braces?
Most dentists recommend that people get their teeth cleaned twice per year. For people with braces, this is especially important. Even if you brush and floss very well, a professional cleaning will ensure that you don’t develop decay. When you have braces, you should consider getting one or two extra cleanings per year. They do not take off your arch wires or brackets to do a cleaning. They usually work around your braces, or use a device called a Cavitron, which uses water and is like a high-powered Waterpik.
Can I play sports when I have dental braces?
Depending on the sport, it is probably a good idea to wear some sort of lip protector or mouth guard so the braces don’t cut up the insides of your mouth (and also to protect your teeth and braces). Light contact sports will be made safer with a simple lip protector. Many heavy contact sports require a larger mouth guard. If you are not sure what is appropriate for you, ask your orthodontist. Sometimes, orthodontists make custom-fitted mouth guards and lip protectors.
A wire at the end of my braces is poking my cheek
A poking braces wire is painful annoying. If possible, gob a bunch of dental wax at the end of the wire to stop it from poking you. You can also try a bit of cotton. OrthoDots may be able to adhere to the poking wire, as well. Call your dentist or orthodontist and ask to come in ASAP so they can clip the wire. Please don’t suffer needlessly with a poking wire. After a day or two it can really painfully tear up the inside of your cheek, so don’t wait to get it clipped! Some orthodontists let you come in “as needed” for a clipping without an appointment.
By the way, the wire pokes you because your teeth have moved, displacing the end of the arch wire. Although this is annoying and painful, it’s a good sign that your treatment is progressing!
Can you play a wind instrument
if you wear braces?
Yes, you can. Several companies make mouth guards and lip protectors specifically for this purpose. Ask your orthodontist for one that he/she recommends. In a pinch, you can just use dental wax or dental silicone to cushion your brackets. Some orthodontists can make a custom lip guard for you if over-the-counter lip guards don’t work well enough.
In general, loosening your embouchure (the way you apply your mouth to your instrument’s mouthpiece) can reduce the pressure. Work closely with your music teacher to adjust your playing technique and be comfortable while playing your instrument.
Is it OK to have braces if you are pregnant
or plan to become pregnant?
Yes, many pregnant women have had orthodontic treatment. Your teeth may be a bit looser than average because of the hormonal changes and the effect on your periodontal ligaments. But as long as you maintain good periodontal health, it shouldn’t be a problem to wear braces if you’re pregnant.
If you are allergic to nickel or latex, be sure to tell your orthodontist or dentist before you have braces put on your teeth. There are special brackets, arch wires, and ligatures that can be used which don’t contain these allergic elements.
If you plan to get Invisalign or other plastic invisible braces, be aware that an allergic reaction sometimes occurs that may cause your mouth and lips to swell, or your throat to get sore. If you experience these symptoms, stop wearing your aligners and call your orthodontist or dentist immediately.
For a reader’s perspective on the having braces while pregnant, read Braces and Pregnancy.
Can I smoke or vape with braces on my teeth?
You can smoke, vape, or chew tobacco when you have braces on your teeth. But these habits will stain your ligatures and may possibly stain ceramic brackets, as well as Invisalign or other clear braces.
Can I change my own
elastic ligatures (“o rings”)?
Unless your orthodontist has given you the go-ahead to do this, it is NOT recommended! Yes, there are places on the web where you can buy elastic ligatures and power chains, but even THEY do not recommend that you change them yourself at home. The reason is: putting extra pressure on your teeth at inappropriate intervals can interfere with your treatment. Read Changing Your Own Ligatures for more information on why it is a bad idea to change your own ligatures.
What foods stain the ligatures of your braces?
Foods like curry, mustard, black coffee, and red wine create the worst stains. For more details, read Help! Did I Stain My Braces? Clear or white ligatures show yellow stains the worst. The best colors, according to ArchWired readers (and my own personal experience) are: smoke, pearlescent, glow-in-the-dark, and any dark vibrant colors. I have also worn light blue, which turn a pleasant teal color when stained by curry (i.e., blue ligatures plus yellow curry make greenish blue ligatures).