How Do I Take Care of My Braces?

Whether you are in the middle of braces treatment or are curious about the process, Rio Grande Orthodontics is here to answer your questions about how to take care of your braces. Caring for your braces can be an intimidating learning curve, but our incredible orthodontists, Dr. Gardiner, Dr. Vest, Dr. Klinger, and Dr. Kellam, as well as our expert team, will be there to support you each step of the way. Read on to learn the importance of your follow-up appointments, our recommended oral care routine, food restrictions, and more


Attend Your Follow-Up Appointments

Attending each of your follow-up appointments is crucial. Dr. Gardiner, Dr. Vest, Dr. Klinger, and Dr. Kellam use this scheduled time to keep track of your progress and ensure everything is going according to plan. During this time, our team will make wire adjustments, shift your braces as necessary, and check in with you. Our job is to address your concerns throughout treatment during these appointments.

Follow-ups are thoughtfully scheduled with your progress in mind so we can make changes promptly according to your progress. We understand that sometimes things come up unexpectedly, and you may need to reschedule. Please let us know as soon as you can so our front desk can get you in soon after. Rio Grande Orthodontics strives to be flexible with your appointments without your care plan suffering.


Following Your Oral Care Routine


Maintaining a routine of brushing your teeth twice daily is essential to keep your braces treatment on track. Additionally, cleaning your teeth after each meal will rid your mouth of excess food particles and keep it safe from bacteria and plaque buildup. Polish each surface of your teeth for about two minutes and inspect them to see if any small food particles are left behind in hard-to-reach areas.

Using orthodontic-recommended tools, such as a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, keeps your gums and appliances safe from scratches and other inconveniences that may hinder your treatment progress. You can effectively remove plaque, bacteria, small food particles, or anything else bad lingering. It is also less likely to damage your enamel over time.


Due to the wires across each of your teeth, braces require flossing to be a little more involved than before. A string of floss will not be able to reach down between your teeth, so our team provides you with floss threaders. All you need to do is thread a string through the thin plastic tool and weave it under your wire to dislodge any plaque or particles of food.

When flossing is maintained nightly, you can make a positive difference in your dental health. If you run out, we will be happy to replenish your supply at your next appointment.


Another constructive way of staying on top of your oral health is using mouthwash. Mouthwash can freshen your breath, remove plaque, combat tooth decay, and prevent cavities from developing in their early stages. As helpful as this additional step is, it does not replace brushing and flossing your teeth. Each step cleans your teeth with different abrasiveness.

Many mouthwash formulas contain fluoride. The more fluoride products you include in your routine, the more you can bolster your protection against common complications. However, it is important to remember that mouthwash should supplement your oral care routine, not replace brushing and flossing.


How Do I Take Care of My Braces?

Abide By Food Recommendations

Foods You Can Eat

Rio Grande Orthodontics recommends sticking to a soft-food diet while undergoing braces treatment. Pasta, well-cooked chicken, soft vegetables, eggs, oatmeal, and similar items are encouraged. In other words, anything that is soft and easy to chew is the way to go. While your options may feel limited initially, we hope you use this opportunity to try new foods you may otherwise avoid trying. 

Foods to Avoid

As strong as your appliance is, some foods are strictly off-limits to protect you from emergencies and prevent you from developing future complications. Anything too crunchy, sticky, or hard, such as crunchy vegetables, pizza crust, gummies, popcorn, nuts, and more, is best to stay away from during treatment. Small pieces of these foods can stick to your appliance and lead to potential tooth decay.

We will also be happy to provide a complete list of braces-friendly and unfriendly foods so you have a better idea of what to stock up on after starting braces. 


How to Deal with Discomfort

During your braces placement appointment, our team will discuss how to handle discomfort. Soreness is normal and only temporary after your placement appointment and wire tightenings. To help ease any pain or tenderness, Rio Grande Orthodontics recommends keeping over-the-counter pain medication handy to manage tooth sensitivity. Symptoms like mouth sores, inflammation, and loose wires can be handled at home with its help.

Orthodontic wax is another essential tool to keep with you. It prevents irritation inside your mouth and can cover up or smooth out any sharp areas of your braces. All you need to do is tear a small piece off and press it flush against the area, causing discomfort. This unique wax can be safely digested, so there is no need to worry if it falls off of your appliance without you realizing it.

True emergencies are rare. However, if you experience an emergency or any situation with your braces and are unsure how to proceed, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We can walk you through initial at-home care and help you schedule an emergency appointment.


How Do I Take Care of My Braces?

Protect Your Braces Throughout Treatment!

Dr. Gardiner, Dr. Vest, Dr. Klinger, and Dr. Kellam take each patient’s oral health very seriously and are happy to answer any questions you think of, in or out of our practice. Rio Grande Orthodontics proudly serves Albuquerque, Edgewood, Espanola, Las Vegas, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Taos, Socorro, and the surrounding areas with free consultations for patients like you to learn how they can improve their oral health. Schedule yours today and take the first step toward a more beautiful smile!