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Five Ways to Ensure a Successful Braces Experience

Getting braces is a monumental moment for your mouth. It means that healthier teeth, easier hygiene, and a lot more smiles are just around the corner. 

At Hamada Family Dentistry in San Jose, California, we want your braces experience to be as positive and successful as possible, and that starts right here in our office. Our experienced team of dental professionals, led by Jason Hamada, DDS, strives to make you feel welcome, never rushes your appointment, and is always here to answer your questions.

When it comes to fixing your crooked teeth or misaligned bite, you have many options. If you’ve chosen braces, you’ve made an important decision that’s going to serve you well for the rest of your life. 

Here, Dr. Hamada offers five practical tips that can help you get the most out of your braces experience.

1. Master new hygiene techniques

Braces make oral hygiene a little more challenging than simply brushing your bare teeth twice a day. In fact, three times would be better. Make sure to brush well along your gum line and hit every surface. It should take a full two minutes every time you brush. 

Choose a toothpaste that’s not labeled as a whitening product because it may cause the exposed parts of your teeth to end up whiter than the parts under the brackets when your treatment is complete. 

Consider using an electric toothbrush with a round head to get into all those new nooks and crannies created by the brackets and wires. 

Flossing requires you to learn a new skill, as well. You’ll have to thread the floss between the brackets to get between your teeth. Use a proxy brush to reach into deeper pockets. A waterpik may make your flossing routine easier.

Finish off your time at the sink with a swish of fluoridated mouthwash to make sure you annihilate the harmful oral bacteria.

2. Watch what you eat and drink

Braces come with some specific dos and don’ts when it comes to your diet. You’ll have to stay away from hard, sticky, or chewy foods that can damage your braces. For example, apples, corn on the cob, taffy, gum, popcorn, and bagels are potential braces bashers.

You have to give up candy and gum for the duration, but you can still enjoy many foods on the “don’t” list by cutting them into smaller pieces, so you have no excuses to avoid veggies.

Drinks can also do some damage — we’re talking about carbonated drinks, sweet sodas, and fruit juices. Not only do these contain sugar and acid that erode the enamel on your teeth, they can also stain your brackets, especially if you’ve opted for clear braces

3. Ease discomfort

It doesn’t hurt to get braces, but you may feel some soreness or mild discomfort a few days after the initial application and after adjustments. During these times, be kind to your mouth and soothe the soreness with some cool ice water or a comforting smoothie.

Eat soft foods until you feel like chewing again. Mashed potatoes, applesauce, soup, and yogurt can get you through a day or two of discomfort. If needed, you can also turn to OTC pain relievers, such as acetaminophen.

4. Guard your mouth

The metal wires in your mouth are helping to shift your teeth into healthier positions, but they put your cheeks, gums, and tongue at risk in the meantime. A blow to the face is never pleasant, but if it happens while you’re wearing braces, the sharp edges of the braces can cut your soft tissues. 

That’s why we recommend wearing a mouthguard when you play sports or participate in any activity that carries the potential for a fall or a bump to your face. 

Accidents can happen even when you’re not active. You may find that a wire breaks or pokes into your cheek. You can carefully bend it back into place with a pencil eraser until you can come see us. Also, carry some dental wax with you at all times in case you need to cover a protruding piece of metal. 

5. Keep your appointments

Your orthodontic treatment requires regular appointments where we check the progress and make adjustments that gradually move your teeth. You may be tempted to skip these visits, but don’t. Without progressive adjustments, your braces are just powerless pieces of metal attached to your teeth. Keep the end result in mind and stay on course with your appointments for the best outcome and the shortest treatment time. 

If you haven’t yet begun your orthodontic treatment, Dr. Hamada can guide you through your options, including traditional metal braces, clear braces, Invisalign®, and Six Month Smiles® (for adults). 

Call or click to schedule a consultation at Hamada Family Dentistry today.