Wearing dental braces can be one of the most difficult things one ever does in life. Yet, it doesn’t need to be that way. I write this from my heart to anyone who has braces and needs to know how to master them, instead of them mastering you. Dental braces don’t need to be a hardship, they can actually be fun, if you master a few areas from the first day you get them on…
I’m sure this letter is coming to a variety of age groups, which is my hope and prayer. You see, I’m 41 years old and I felt kind of weird getting full braces. Everyone in the waiting room was 7-25 years old, but my dentist said get them, or don’t expect my teeth to straighten. If your a child, I hope you love this article, If your an adult, I hope to encourage you to the utmost as well.
Let’s get to it. How do you master dental braces, instead of them mastering you. A little disclaimer: What has worked for me might not worked for you, so please, follow your dentist or doctor’s directions first and foremost, but I’m going to be blunt and to the point in order to help most of you out right now.
The best piece of advice that I got from the start. Relax. Relax and try not to think about them being in your mouth. In fact, the dental assistant told me: Don’t think about it. Just be yourself and be normal. That was priceless. Why?
The first day I got braces I wanted to take them back and tell the doctor to rip them off my face. I even thought about the $4,600 I had to pay (my insurance didn’t cover because I’m over 25) and thought about how I didn’t care even if I had to pay it, just stop this bottom bracket from tearing into my cheeks!
All-right. So I’m not trying to scare you, but wearing braces can be difficult if you don’t master them before they master you!
First and foremost you have to have fun, laugh, and be yourself just like you did before you got your braces. I know, I know, the directions say “don’t eat any sugar, no sweets, no caramel, etc, etc, etc., again, follow the directions of your dentist, but I say, use moderation instead, and enjoy your food!
Your teeth are going to hurt for a while. There are some things that are normal that you won’t feel are normal. I already called my dentist and all of the following are normal, believe it or not: teeth moving, you being able to touch your teeth and see them move, pain, tightness, and much more.
My dentist told me that I would feel normal in about one to two weeks. No way. It took me about a month and a half. After a month, I was beginning to feel like the old “me” and beginning to enjoy my food. Now, about the food. Please, don’t make the mistake I made, don’t try to eat with ALL your teeth right away.
I thought, ok, I better just be normal, so let’s go ahead and chomp away! Ugh! I got so much food stuck in my front teeth you could have filled up two gum wrappers with it! Don’t chomp away. Don’t eat like your teeth haven’t been affected. Granted, each person is different, but if I could please give you this advice. If you used to brush hard, brush medium, if you are a soft brusher, good for you. If you were a hard brusher like me, you are going to have to back off a little bit!
Let me explain. I went through a lot of undo pain the first few weeks just cranking away on my bottom teeth. Before I got the braces I would just scrub and scrub. However, the bottom tooth is the one that is crooked, so I was really scrubbing the daylights out of a tooth that’s MOVING. Not a good thing.
Realize, your teeth are moving now, you wouldn’t clean a moving car with a 500lb jet sprayer, so don’t do that with your teeth either. You’ve got to be a little more sensitive to yourself.
Again, the first two weeks for me, I wanted to take the braces back to the dentist. Now, I hardly know there there. Another thing is prayer. Seriously, pray and ask God for help at this time. I’m a Christian, and so one day I just prayed this simple prayer and I encourage you to pray it too: “Lord, please teach me how to eat again, with these braces on.”
He heard my prayer and I began to eat more with my back teeth. But first, there was a peace! God gave me the peace to move forward and I felt moved by him to stop brushing so hard, and to also eat more with my back teeth. Not to ignore my front teeth, and to chew with them too, but just to change them from the main chewers, to the backup chewers, if that makes sense.
The first three weeks for me can be summed up in one word: uncomfortable. Well, I can help you get through that too. I wanted to sit down at night and slurp on my nightly “Welch’s grape juice bars.” Uh-Oh. No way. They were history. They are history for now. Until I get the braces off. It was just too cold on my teeth and they all tightened up like they were preparing for war or something.
I’m a juice bar nut, but I almost like ice cream as much as juice bars. Come to find out, Ice Cream has less fat than some of those juice bars! Anyways, I needed some food I could enjoy. Before I tell you my favorite food wearing braces, let me encourage you by letting you in on some of my 2nd place finishers. I love to eat cream corn, ribs that are all the way cooked, because you can take them off the bone with your fingers…
A new love! Tapioca pudding! It’s actually an old love, but through the first few weeks it got me through! Also, health wise: Fig Newtons! Awesome soft food, healthy, and eating them is fun with your braces. Again though, you must focus on eating with your back teeth, not the front. Also, put a little food on your tongue and let it sit there for a minute, then move it to the back, because you don’t want it cramming into your front wires!
Hmm…let’s see. Other foods you may like: peas, cream corn-man this is satisfying with braces. Also, Chili! Yes, Chili! Do you have a Farmer Boys near your house? Best thing you can do for your little one after they get braces is just take them to Farmer Boys for a nice hot bowl of Chili! Farmer Boys makes them with meat in it, and not so many beans, and the meat is thin, so you will be nourished and you’ll feel normal again right away! Chili my friends! Chili!
Hmm..what else? Also, soft fruits are great. Watermelon, cucumbers, and orange slices are awesome with braces.
But remember above all else. You need to cut up everything! You can’t just sit down and eat a cheeseburger! You need to cut up all your sandwiches into fourths or eighths, make everything bite-sized. You can’t eat huge anymore.
Watch out for nuts! They seem to be the hardest thing to eat with braces. You can eat them once in a while, but let me teach you how. Anyone like chocolate nut clusters? Me too! However, you can NEVER, ever eat these with your front teeth! You just can’t! Eat them with your BACK teeth only. Believe me, you’ll thank me later. I tried to eat one the first three days and almost popped everything off in my mouth. Also, if you eat candy, eat just one! Believe me, one is going to feel like four with your braces on.
Secondly, eat slowly, enjoy, and chew up your food. Never before has chewing become so important! Chew! Chew! Chew! Enjoy! You’ll be glad you did.
Also, lastly, you’ve got to relax and watch out for wax! The doctor kept telling me to put wax, wax, wax. I have a scientific mind and it told me that I am just postponing the inevitable. Those braces by the cheek are going to have to tear in and make an indention or bruise eventually. So, after using wax for just a day or two, I gave it up.
Then, of course, there was the usual pain, but after a day for me, it started going away. Yes, yes, the braces made an indention in my cheek and if I swirl my tongue around under my cheek I can feel the scarred tissue or whatever that is, but hey, my cheek has toughened up, and I don’t need wax anymore. I’ve talked to people who waxed for months!
Ok, I promised to tell you my favorite food. It’s vanilla, sherbet, or strawberry ice cream. I eat just a scoop or two at night three or four times a week because it is so soothing to my mouth. At first my mouth started tightening up a bit, but after I did it for a day or two, the tightening has lessened and is hardly noticeable. Plus I feel so good after having the ice cream because it is so soothing to my mouth!
Now, again, follow your dentist, but at my first braces checkup, I am way ahead of schedule. I believe I’m going to get my braces off in 8 months or less! And that’s eating ice cream too!
My crooked truth has almost fully straightened and it’s been less than three months! Also, I am wearing Damon Braces, and they are very comfortable and they are a brand new technology that works with the natural movement of your teeth, and they don’t require tightening near as much as standard braces! If you’re a parent shopping for braces don’t forget that name!
Lastly, if I can do it at 41 years young, you can too. Don’t let braces master you. You must master them. And a final word on flossing too. You are NOT going to be able to floss everyday. It’s too difficult and you’ll get frustrated. Floss regularly, but most important, brush regularly, and use lots of mouthwash. It’ll sooth your mouth! Mouthwash with Peroxide! Colgate makes a great one.
Also, my dentist recommends Colgate Total for the best results while wearing braces. Let me tell you why I agree with him. I’m a public school teacher of 20 years, and I once had a sixth grade student who did an in-depth science experiment comparing Colgate Total, Crest, Agua-Fresh, and more. Long story short, the Colgate Total came out on top in every area: less cavities, less tooth decay, and most of all more whitened teeth than any other brand.
That student was one of my smartest ever and her research was intensive. I was actually a Vice-Principal at the time and a science fair judge. That said, please, enjoy your new braces, and remember, be the master of them, before they master you!