Starting your journey with braces or aligners is a big step towards a radiant smile. While it’s an exciting time, it’s natural to have questions or feel a tad nervous about the changes ahead. That’s why our team at Feil Orthodontics created this guide for your first week in braces to help prepare you for the start of this rewarding experience.
Manage Your Discomfort
When you first get your braces, you are going to feel some uncomfortable sensations as your mouth adjusts to its new roommate, such as:
- Brackets, wires, or clear aligners pinching and poking your cheeks, gums, or lips.
- Tender and sore teeth and gums from the pressure put on them to create movement.
- Swollen or inflamed gums.
Fortunately, as time passes, your mouth will get tougher, and you’ll hardly notice the appliances.
But what should you do until then? During your first week, we encourage you to get familiar with some ways to manage your discomfort. Here are some recommendations from Dr. Feil:
- Ice packs applied externally for a few minutes can help with swelling.
- Use orthodontic wax to prevent irritation and pinching.
- Over-the-counter pain medications can provide relief.
- Saltwater rinses can also help soothe swelling.
Please note that while some discomfort is expected, severe pain is not! If you feel your situation is abnormal, please contact our office immediately!
Adjust Your Grocery List
We know you’ve likely already heard what you can and cannot eat with braces (anything hard, crunchy, sticky, or tough) and how you need to take your clear aligners out to eat. Are there any additional dietary changes during your first week of treatment?
The answer is yes! During the first week, your mouth is going through a lot! Stick to super soft food to make the transition into treatment as comfortable as possible. On the way home from your appointment, stop at the grocery store for yogurt, mashed potatoes, soups, applesauce, and anything you like to put in smoothies.
Once you’re feeling better, usually as quickly as the next week, you can expand your groceries to include pasta, soft bread, steamed veggies, fork-tender meats, soft-cooked fish, tofu, beans, and other soft food. (After the first week, clear aligner patients can resume their regular diet.)
Your New Oral Hygiene Routine
Let’s start with fixed metal and clear braces first. Braces that are not removable pose a challenge to your oral hygiene routine. Fortunately, with a bit of practice, you’ll be a pro. Here are some tips to shorten the learning curve.
- Use a water flosser to dislodge food stuck in braces and remove stubborn particles.
- A floss threader can help you get the floss between your teeth.
- An electric toothbrush will keep your teeth and braces cleaner.
- Interproximal brushes are great for cleaning between brackets, especially if you are on the go or struggle with thread floss.
- Do not use any whitening products until you have completed your treatment; your teeth will end up different colors!
Now, let’s talk about clear aligners. If you have clear aligners, you can also benefit from water flossers, floss threaders, electric toothbrushes, and interproximal brushes. However, you are usually not required to change your routine and can still use whitening products. Just remember to clean your trays daily to preserve their transparency and prevent odors! Follow the instructions provided to you by Dr. Feil to maintain your removable appliances.
Braces are sturdy, but sometimes, unexpected things happen. You might feel a wire poking your cheek or notice a bracket feels loose. And guess what? It’s okay! These are common concerns many people face on their braces journey.
Another thing you might notice is slightly loose teeth. This might sound alarming, but it’s actually a sign that your braces are working. Your teeth are shifting to new positions, and this feeling is a part of the process.
With that said, if something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Feil Orthodontics. We’re here to help and guide you. It’s always better to check and be sure.
Play Sports? Get A Mouthguard.
After stopping at the grocery store for extra soft food, you want to stop again and get a mouthguard. Being active and playing sports is fantastic for your health, but when you have braces, there’s an extra player you need to think about: your teeth. A stray ball or an accidental elbow can cause damage to your braces or even injure your mouth.
If you’re already a sports star or thinking of joining a team, chat with Dr. Feil about purchasing one of our high-quality orthodontic-friendly mouthguards. It’s a small step that can make a big difference, ensuring your journey to a perfect smile stays on track, even during the most intense games!
Expect Changes In Your Speech
When you first get braces or an aligner, you may develop a temporary lisp or speech impediment. This change is entirely normal. Your tongue and mouth are adjusting to the new addition. With some practice and patience, you’ll speak clearly again in no time.
Water is more than just a thirst quencher when you have braces or aligners. Staying hydrated helps combat dry mouth, a common side effect of starting orthodontic treatment. A dry mouth can make your braces feel more uncomfortable and increase the risk of cavities. Drink plenty of water to keep your breath fresh, teeth and gums healthy, and braces clean!
Feil Orthodontics Is Here For You Every Step!
From the moment you first reach out to us, we’re here for you. If you have any questions or concerns during your first week in braces (or any week after that), don’t hesitate to contact any of our three offices. Our teams in Bismarck, Mandan, and Beulah are always here and happy to help!