Tips to avoid Common Problems with Braces

While braces play an important part in helping to create a healthy mouth and teeth, Dr. Chou in Toronto says you might experience a few side effects while wearing them. Most of these are common and can be easily treated.

Even with the best of care, braces can cause soreness to your mouth. As your teeth begin to move, Dr. Chou says that it is normal for your teeth to feel aches and your jaw to possibly experience soreness. However these problems should go away within a few days.

If there are broken wires or loose bands on your braces, a sore tongue or cheek, or a canker sore can occur. You should apply the soft wax which we gave you to cover these irritations until you can come in for an emergency appointment. There are also ointments available at the drug store to reduce the pain and irritation associated with such sores. If you experience a sore mouth or any of the following problems, call Dr. Chou to schedule an appointment.

• Loose brackets: Apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to the bracket temporarily. You might also apply a little between the braces and the soft tissues of your mouth.

• Loose bands: These must be secured in place by our office. Try to save the band for recementation.

• Protruding or broken wires: The plastic stick in your "go-home" box or the eraser end of a pencil can be used to move the wire carefully to a less painful spot. If you are unable to move it, apply orthodontic wax or sugarless gum to the offending area and come into the office as soon as possible. If a mouth sore develops, rinse with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse.

• Loose spacers: These will need to be re-positioned and sometimes replaced.

Some foods can also help or hurt you while you’re wearing braces. Dr. Chou recommends that you cut your food into small pieces that can be easily chewed. You will want to avoid hard and sticky foods that can break your hardware. Foods such as large nuts, ice cubes, frozen treats like ice cream bars (warm them in your mouth before biting them), caramels and toffees, and large wads of gum should be avoided. Hard apples and pears and crispy celery and carrots should be cut into bite-sized pieces and pits should be removed from fruits before biting into them. Cut corn off the cob and meat off the bone and use a pick or fork on shellfish to avoid breaking your "braces".   Dr. Chou frowns on gum chewing, but if you really need to do so, chew sugarless gum and one piece at a time.

Braces, rubber bands, springs, and other mouth appliances associated with braces will normally attract food particles and plaque. Without the proper care, this could cause staining of your teeth and tooth decay.

Dr. Chou recommends brushing after every meal or snack and carefully removing any food that might be lodged in the braces. That is why we provided you with a fold-up travel toothbrush and a small proxy-brush. A fluoride mouthwash might be helpful in addition to flossing to prevent cavities.

If you would like more information on the care of braces, please contact Dr. Chou 's office or visit our website.

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