Dr Vaishali Karad – Director, Clinical Services and HR – Smile Care Expert Dental Centre
- For the first few days the childs teeth will feel somewhat sore/sensitive/under pressure , the child may express it as dull ache/ pain / discomfort / pressure / irritable . it is advised that usual dose of mild pain reliever may be given as directed after meals to relieve symtoms .
Also, warm salt water gargles several times a day will help relieve the ache.
During this period a soft diet is recommended.
Food such as porridge, milk, soup, rice, dal, idli , cooked vegetables, curds, soft fruits like bananas, fruit juice, milk shakes, jelly, custard etc. Though the pressures of braces is low , such symptoms and inability to chew with back teeth may be experienced . This is because the teeth come under mild pressure suddenly and hence the experience . The symptoms generally subside after a couple of days .
In about a week’s time the child should gradually be able to start having a normal diet.
However throughout orthodontic treatment it is mandatory to avoid hard or sticky foods at alltimes( chewing gums , chikkis , toast , mentos , ice etc)
Eating hard or sticky food could break/dislodge the braces, causing great discomfort , reversing some treatment results and prolonging the time required to finish the treatment
Change the way to eat the following:
- Never bite into whole fruit like apples or pears. Always Cut them into small pieces / slices and should be chewed with back teeth.
- Vegetables like carrots can be grated.
- Meat off the bone should be soft & cut into small bits.Never chew on to bones
- Bread/biscuits/pizza may be cut into pieces and chewed with back teeth. Avoid eating into any of these with front teeth
- Nuts can also be chopped and chewed with back teeth.
- Mints can be sucked on, but never chewed.
- Take care while having snacks like popcorn , they sometimes have hard corns left behind and this could lead to breakage if the braces
Avoid having fizzy/carbonated beverages:
These could damage the enamel of the teeth. Choose healthier options such as fruit juices
- If the child feels any part of your braces is uncomfortable or are hurting/ bruising the cheek or lip, it is advisable to dry it with a cotton bud and firmly place a small piece of soft wax on the braces .The braces are above the original level of the teeth and the lips / cheeks are not used to being positioned above such levels , hence till they get used to the level of braces , the child may experience mild hurting on the soft tissues .
In case the childs tongue or the inside of lips or cheeks become inflamed, it is advised that first dry the area with a cotton bud, and then apply the prescribed gel.
The child soon gets used to the braces & after some time, do not even realize braces are there!!!
If some part of braces / appliance becomes loose or detached; use the soft wax as described above.
Never attempt to break off or remove any piece or part of the braces. Call the orthodontists office for an appointment
- Brushing with braces:
- Regular brushing
- The child must brush teeth and gums at least 3 times a day, preferably after meals. If this is not always then at least rinse mouth thoroughly with water atleast after lunch or snack
- It is best to use a soft bristle toothbrush with a small head, to easily access all areas of the mouth. Use fluoridated toothpaste; and spend at least 3 minutes for thorough brushing each session .
- Attend to both sides of each jaw separately and in sequence, so that every surface of each tooth is taken care of.
- Correct technique to brush – Angle the bristles of brush towards the gum, with the tips of the bristles at the gum line on the outer surfaces of the teeth, between the orthodontic wires and gum line. [the head of the brush will cover 2 or 3 teeth at a time].
Now jiggle the handle of the toothbrush to massage the gums with a light circular motion and then sweep over the teeth, away from the gums in one direction only. This will dislodge all the food particles stuck very effectively.
Avoid use of an up & down movement.
- Repeat this action a couple of times before moving on to the next segment of teeth. Do the same on the inner surfaces of the teeth, again starting at the gum line.
- Brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth with a scrubbing motion.
- Interdental brushing
Advisable to use interdental brush tips to remove any food particles or plaque that collects around orthodontic brackets, wires and near the gum margins.
Coreect technique to do interdental brushing
- Does not require toothpaste .
- Always enter below the wire from the gum side [not the tooth side] with the small tuft of bristles on the brush reaching between two teeth, under the orthodontic wire and resting on the peak of your gums.
- Move the brush with several quick strokes in a single direction only, that is, towards the tip of the gum peak.
- Use the interdental brush to clean around the orthodontic attachment on each tooth, the segment of wire between each tooth, and especially on every tooth surface — between the braces and gum line.
- Check that all areas are thoroughly cleaned and the braces are shiny.
To protect the enamel of the teeth, advisable to gargle thoroughly and vigorously for at least one minute with undiluted fluoride based mouthwash – at least 3 or 4 times a day after meals, that is, after brushing your teeth and gums. Do not swallow. Do not eat, drink or gargle with water for 30 minutes after using mouth wash
This will help protect the enamel against start of decalcification leading to further decay . The decalcification happens because of the acid producing microbes which lodge themselves in plaque around the braces on the teeth .
- Regular appointments
It is most important for the child to cooperate with the orthodontist by following all instructionsand following the given the appointment schedules to reap the correct benefits of the orthodontic treatment and complete it well within the estimated time duration