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On this page we will discuss three main issues that orthodontic patients face while living with braces. They are pain issues, staining of the braces from consumption of certain foods and beverages, oral hygiene, and potential adverse effects wearing braces might have on your dating life.

During your orthodontic treatment you get your braces “tightened” or “adjusted” every 4 to 6 weeks. After an adjustment takes place, your teeth might hurt. Take some pain reliever to help you deal with the discomfort. It will probably last a few days, then dissipate. You may need to eat only soft foods for a few days. Protein shakes, such as the Atkins or Slim Fast shakes, made ideal meal replacements if chewing even soft food is uncomfortable. Remember that whatever you eat, cut it into small pieces and chew carefully and slowly. To get more protein into your diet, try adding protein powder or tofu to some of your meals or drinks. Within a week, most people an usually eat normal food again. After a few months, adjustments won't hurt as much.

Oftentimes, orthodontic patients get concerned about their ceramic brackets stained from foods, particularly curry. The truth of the matter is that the brackets are still white, but, in most cases, the elastic ligatures have become stained. The ligatures are those little rubber bands on each bracket that hold the arch wire in place. And those get changed by the orthodontist every 4-6 weeks. So the next time you have an adjustment, the stained ligatures will be replaced with fresh new ones and your braces will look white and perfect again.

But what if it will be weeks until your next adjustment? How can you get rid of stains from curry, mustard, coffee, tea, or smoking? Well, here's the bad news: it's very difficult. You can try brushing with whitening toothpaste, but that has very limited results. The yellowish tinge will probably still be visible to some degree. If you have an important engagement and need your braces to look white again, you must visit your orthodontist and get your ligatures changed.

Here are some suggestions to help you avoid this problem in the future:

Good oral hygiene is extremely important during orthodontic treatment. If you brush and floss regularly you will make sure that by the end of the treatment your teeth and gums will be in the best shape, and your smile will not only look straight and beautiful, but healthy at the same time.

In general, to clean your teeth and braces takes more effort on your part. When you brush, it is best to use fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush, which is in good condition. You need to brush around the braces and every surface of your teeth - fronts, sides and backs. Don’t forget to thoroughly brush your gums, tongue, and roof of the mouth as well. Inspect your teeth to make sure they are spotlessly clean and also check for loose or broken brackets. If there’s a problem, call Dr. Yarmolyuk for recommendations and to schedule an appointment if needed.

The best time to floss is before going to bed because you won’t feel pressed for time then. When you floss with braces on, you might need a floss threader. It is a reusable tool that helps you to get the floss underneath your archwire without difficulty. When flossing, make sure you clean thoroughly along and under the gumline. The process might seem laborious, but it is extremely important to keep your teeth and gums in top condition. Dr. Yarmolyuk can also recommend special cleaning aids that will streamline and improve the process, for example, interproximal toothbrush (allows to remove plaque and food particles near the brackets with more efficiency), prescription fluoride toothpaste/rinse (give the teeth maximum fluoride protection), and power toothbrush/water irrigator (make brushing easier as well as more efficient).

In addition to thorough brushing and flossing, you must be careful to avoid hard, sticky, chewy and crunchy foods. You also should avoid chewing on hard objects like pens, pencils and fingernails. And, chewing ice is off limits. It’s not a good idea to chew ice even without braces!

Finally, make sure to see your family dentist for a professional cleaning and a check-up at least twice a year while wearing braces.

Lastly, a lot of orthodontic patients are concerned about the potential difficulties attracting and dating other people. In reality, how the object of your affection reacts to you has little to do with what's in your mouth, and a lot to do with your self-confidence and your willingness to work just a little harder to win over the person you want.

You are spending major bucks to get your teeth straightened. When you are done, your teeth will look great. What about the rest of you? Use this time as an opportunity to improve other things about yourself, especially if you weren't a dating champion before the braces went on. Think of this as your "transformation time." 

Here's the main idea: if you look better, you'll feel better; if you feel better, you'll be more confident. And if you look good and are confident, you are attractive to other people.

The information have been adapted from http://www.archwired.com

Contact our Skokie practice for a complimentary orthodontic consultation.
(847) 749-4340

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Copyright © 2012. Yaroslav Yarmolyuk DDS, MS.