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Living With Braces: Tips To Keep Your Kids Comfortable and Avoid Orthodontic Emergencies

Remember, this isn’t 1982. Or 1992. Today’s braces aren’t anything like yours (if you had them) decades ago.

Today’s orthodontic care is far more advanced, more sophisticated, and more patient-centered than any prior generation has experienced.

If you had traditional metal braces twenty years or so ago, you may have experienced medieval torture.

Fear not, the dungeon is gone…

It has been replaced by modern, bright, patient-friendly offices. Out of the dark, into the light!

Living with braces is not nearly as difficult as you or your child might imagine.

Let’s look at a few specific concerns.

Living With Braces At Home: Brushing and Flossing

Modern braces, whether they’re metal, flexible, or “invisible,” are all actually made to fit the individual and allow for easy, painless, thorough brushing.

This means your child brushes pretty much the same as he would if he didn’t have braces.

Here are some simple tips you can share with your child for the best results when brushing with braces on:

  • Brush your teeth with a toothbrush after you eat and before bed.
  • Brush, rinse, and look; if you find any areas that are not clean, brush them again.
  • Brush your gums as you brush your teeth (massage and stimulate).
  • Take extra care in the area between the gums and the braces, because food caught and left there can cause swollen gums, cavities, discomfort, and permanent teeth stains.
  • If you are unable to brush, rinse your mouth vigorously with water.
  • Replace your old toothbrush when it gets worn out.

Depending on the age of your child, you, the parent, may need to supervise the first few brushings with the braces in place. Remember, brushing should be painless, simple, and routine.

Watch Our Video Below for Brushing and Flossing Instructions Plus Other Instructions for Living With Braces

Living With Braces: Forbidden Foods Your Child Must Avoid

After your child’s orthodontic appliances/braces have been placed, the teeth are usually “tender” and sensitive for three to ten days : a short time.

During this brief period, softer foods are recommended: soups, macaroni, spaghetti, eggs, fish, Jell-O, yogurt.

As needed, Tylenol or Advil are adequate in relieving any discomfort, taken an hour or so before eating.

*Warm saltwater rinses can be helpful. We also provide a “soft white wax,” a safe topical that eases cheek or lip discomfort.

For the entire duration of the braces being in place, I’d advise you to stay away from hard and sticky foods that can damage braces.

Sugar-rich foods can make hygiene harder and cause cavities…

You’re probably already monitoring and limiting your child’s intake of such foods, so there’s really nothing new under the sun here.

But, for the record, here are the “featured items” that should be avoided during orthodontic treatment and wearing of braces:

  • Rock-hard foods: Ice (don’t chew ice!), nuts, popcorn (has hard kernels inside), peanut brittle, rock candy, whole apples and carrots (unless cut into bite- sized pieces), corn on the cob, hard pretzels, hard rolls, hard taco shells.
  • Extra-sticky foods: Jolly Ranchers or Starbursts or similar candies, bubble gum, taffy, crème-filled doughnuts, and sticky Cinnamon rolls.
  • Very chewy foods: Pizza crust, beef jerky, gummy bears. Note: no chewing on pencils or pens.
  • Super-sugary foods and drinks: Soda pop with sugar, ice cream, most cookies and cake. If your child eats these foods, make sure to brush as soon as possible afterwards.

Most kids get it fine. Living with braces doesn’t really change your child’s normal diet or routines. Most parents who are initially worried about this tell us later it wasn’t the horror show they’d imagined.

Living With Braces: Emergencies, Injuries, Travel, and Time Away from Home

Many “emergencies” actually aren’t and can be easily and safely remedied at home. Watch the video above to learn more about the common orthodontic problems and how to take care of them.

Common emergencies include the breaking of some part of the braces or a feeling of discomfort or poking of the cheeks or lips.

Most of these types of problems can be alleviated using orthodontic wax or sugar-free gum. These are good temporary solutions so you don’t have to rush to the orthodontic office at all times of the day.

If you do run up against an emergency that isn’t easily managed with these instructions or can’t wait for regular office hours, we have a special phone number to call that routes to a knowledgeable staff member directly. Through this line, we will return calls in sixty minutes or less.

Most problems can be fixed temporarily with some orthodontic wax or a piece of sugar-free gum placed over the area that is causing discomfort.

Athletes Who Play Sports With Braces

The question of sports and braces worry kids and parents alike.

Good news: for every sport and every level of play, there is a mouth guard to provide an extra level of dental protection and to protect the braces themselves.

We can help select the best one for your child, depending on his or her sport,level of play and your budget. You never have to worry that one choice instead of another will affect the risk of concussion.

By the way, there are collegiate and pro athletes, even NFL players, getting orthodontic treatment and even wearing braces.

If they can, your child can! You do not need the drama of stopping your child from playing the sports they’re committed to because of their orthodontic treatment.

Arizona Cardinals players with Premier Orthodontics
Arizona Cardinals players with Premier Orthodontics
Arizona Cardinals players with Premier Orthodontics

Aaron Francisco, Elie Bouka, and Ifeanyi Momah, three members of the Arizona Cardinals who received orthodontic treatment with Premier Orthodontics while playing in the NFL.

See, living with braces isn’t going to be difficult!

Now that you understand more about life with braces…

…let’s talk about life AFTER braces for kids and what to expect with retainers.

Schedule a Free Orthodontic Consultation For Your Child

You can schedule a 100% free consultation for you or your child with Premier Orthodontics to find out if and when your child needs braces.

At your initial exam and consultation you’ll discover:

  Does my child need braces?

   What is the best age to get braces?

   What costs should I expect?

   How long will the treatment take?

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