Dr. Daniel Ma knows that getting braces can be life changing, and that consequently, not everyone knows how to properly take care of their braces. Here is some of his advice on what you can expect during your time with braces and how you can make the process go by as quickly and painlessly as possible!
Dr. Ma recommends that you eat primarily softer foods while you have braces. When you first get them, you should only be consuming soft foods like mashed potatoes, soft breads, fish, soups, oatmeal, ice cream, and jello. Once you’re used to them, you can try harder foods such as pasta, burgers, chicken or burritos. Always try to avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods such as nuts, chips, gum, hard pretzels, granola bars, and popcorn. Avoiding these foods will prevent brackets, bands, and wires from breaking, bending, and loosening. Damaged braces can lead to painful poking wires and extra visits to our office, which can lengthen the treatment time. Every time a bracket is loosened, it increases treatment time by about one month.
Dealing with Discomfort
Braces may cause minor discomfort when they’re first put on. If you do experience discomfort, first find the root cause of the pain. If it’s a loose bracket, then wax can be used to prevent it from moving around on the wire. If the source of discomfort is a poking wire, wax can also be used to temporarily reduce the discomfort. If at any time you notice a loose bracket or poking wire, contact the office to arrange to have the bracket re-bonded or poking wire clipped.
Oral health care at home should include extensive brushing after every meal. Dr. Ma also recommends using a proxy brush to get in between the brackets and wires. You will receive one as a part of your oral hygiene kit when you get your braces.
If you have a retainer, brush it with cold water and toothpaste to keep it clean. If you notice a whitish buildup on the retainers that brushing can't eliminate, Dr. Ma recommends soaking them in a glass with half water and half white vinegar. Doing this everyday should get rid of the buildup.
Remember to always brush after every meal, including snacks. You should be brushing a minimum of three times a day after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Time spent brushing while having braces on should increase to at least 3-5 minutes each time. Dr. Ma encourages you to visually inspect your teeth after brushing. If you notice that your teeth and braces still have food trapped in them, brush again.
Flossing with braces is also important. It can be more challenging but with a bit of practice, it can be done. You can use a floss threader to get the floss underneath the wires of your braces. Dr. Ma and his assistants will review how to floss when your braces are put on. Flossing is always recommended in the evening before going to bed.
In order to achieve the best results in the least amount of time, Dr. Ma stresses cooperation from his patients. Remember to brush and floss, and be careful with what you eat. Taking proper care of your braces can have a tremendous effect on the treatment outcome and reduce the amount time the braces are on.
Dr. Ma has successfully treated numerous patients during his time as an orthodontist. If you’d like to see his treatment results, visit his YouTube channel and take a look! If you have questions regarding orthodontic treatment, don’t hesitate to call our Vancouver office.