Tuckahoe, NY – There can be a lot of anticipation leading up to having your braces put on. Will they hurt? What will they feel like in your mouth? How long will it take to get used to them? Dr. Sam Polan, a Tuckahoe orthodontist, offers some tips for getting used to wearing braces.
Many patients often worry that having braces put on their teeth will be painful. But Dr. Polan assures that the procedure is painless.
“You won’t feel any pain as I place the brackets and wires on your teeth,” says Dr. Polan. “But, the braces do begin to work right away, so you may notice that your teeth and gums feel a bit sore. It can take a week or so for your mouth to adjust to the feeling of your teeth moving.”
There should be minimal discomfort, however, and Dr. Polan tells his patients to take an over-the-counter pain reliever or gargle with salt water to relieve any discomfort. Patients should also stick to soft foods for the first few days as the teeth will be sensitive. Dr. Polan suggests things like mac and cheese, soup, applesauce and mashed potatoes for the first two to three days.
“Your teeth are adjusting to the sensation of moving and will be a bit sensitive, so you probably want to avoid crunching down on them for a few days,” says Dr. Polan. “My staff can offer some great ideas for soft foods you can enjoy while your mouth is getting used to the braces. Just ask us at your appointment, and we’ll be happy to help.”
You may also notice your mouth creates extra saliva in those first few hours after your braces are put on. Your mouth isn’t sure what is going on in your mouth, so it automatically produces this extra saliva. You may notice you feel the need to swallow a lot for the first 30 minutes to an hour after your appointment.
“The braces will feel strange in your mouth for the first week or so,” says Dr. Polan. “Many of my patients find themselves running their tongues along their braces in the first few days as they get used to how the brackets and wires feels. After a week or so, this novelty will wear off as your mouth adjusts.”
You may notice some areas of the inside of your mouth may rub funny against the brackets. Dr. Polan will give you orthodontic wax that can be placed in this area to help as your mouth gets used to the feeling of the brackets. If you have areas that continue to give you problems, call Dr. Polan’s office so he can make sure everything is ok.
While you’re in braces, you’ll have to pay extra attention to making sure your mouth stays clean. The brackets and wires create a lot of nooks and crannies where food particles and debris can hide, so take your time with brushing and flossing. Carry a travel toothbrush with you to school or work so you can brush after meals and snacks.
One thing many patients find difficult in the beginning of their treatment is the adjustment to their diet. If you wear traditional metal braces, you’ll need to avoid certain foods. Anything very hard, chewy or sticky will need to be avoided. After the first week or two, you won’t even notice this change in your diet, but it can be hard in the beginning. Dr. Polan’s office will give you a list of foods to avoid during treatment so you don’t damage your braces.
“The first few days of wearing braces are the biggest adjustment,” says Dr. Polan. “Your mouth will need this time to get used to the new sensations it is feeling, and you’ll need time to get used to the reality of life with braces. But, in just a couple of days, most patients find wearing braces is no big deal and doesn’t interfere with their daily life. If you ever have questions during your treatment, don’t hesitate to call our office.”