Although the procedure of having braces put on your teeth is painless, everything is going to feel a bit different once those brackets and wires are in place. While most people get used to having the braces in place after a couple of weeks, there can be a bit of discomfort in the beginning. Here’s a closer look at what to expect and some helpful tips that can help you get used to your new braces as you embark on a journey towards a straighter smile.
Expect the Brackets and Wires to Feel Strange
Once the braces are in place, expect everything to feel a bit strange to your tongue and lips. Many people find themselves repeatedly running their tongue over the new appliances as they get used to the feeling. As your mouth adjusts to all the new wires and brackets, this will wear off, and you’ll get used to the feeling.
Excess Saliva is Normal
Excess saliva is normal, particularly within the first few hours after the braces have been placed. You may feel like you need to swallow more often. Your mouth doesn’t know what’s going on and treats the new additions like food, making you salivate more than normal. Usually, this goes away after the first few hours.
Using Orthodontic Wax Can Help
Sometimes the rough parts of your braces may irritate your cheeks and lips, making them sore. Your orthodontist will give you some orthodontic wax, which can be used to cover any rough or sharp areas. While the wax can offer you a bit of relief, using it too often can keep your mouth from getting comfortable with the braces. Try to go longer and longer without the wax until your mouth adjusts and your lips and cheeks toughen up a bit.
Try Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers for Discomfort
Many patients experience soreness and sensitivity in the teeth and jaws, and it’s generally the most pronounced within the first few days after getting braces and for a day or so after having adjustments done. This is actually a good sign your braces are working, but if needed, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce the discomfort in the first few days.
Dietary Adjustments to Make
Not only will you need to make some adjustments to your diet so things don’t get stuck in your braces, but you may find that your braces change your bite as well. Sensitivity right after brackets and wires are applied may make it difficult to eat. Here are a few dietary and eating tips to keep in mind as you adjust:
- Stick with soft foods for the first few days after you get braces since teeth are often sensitive when biting down.
- Eat more slowly as you get used to having the brackets and wires in your mouth.
- Avoid extremely hard, sticky, or chewy foods while you have braces. Not only can they get stuck in braces, but these foods could also break them.
- Many patients find it’s difficult to bite with their front teeth, and you may need to adjust to biting with the side of your mouth.
Cleaning Your Teeth and Braces
The brackets and wires of your braces create many nooks and crannies where food particles can get trapped, so you’ll need to brush and floss more carefully. A water flosser can be an excellent adjunct for traditional flossing and will make it easier to get between teeth and brackets. An electric toothbrush is also good for getting to all the crevices now that you have braces, but a manual toothbrush can also get the job done. It’s critical to brush after every meal, so it’s a good idea to have a travel toothbrush to take to school or work so you don’t miss out on brushing. Remember, taking great care to keep your teeth and braces clean will reduce the risk of gum irritation, cavities, and unsightly white spots around the brackets.
It’s the first few days of wearing your new braces that will be a big adjustment. However, with a few tips to guide you everything should feel normal soon after, and you’ll be even closer to that straight, beautiful smile you have always wanted.