Eating with Braces: What to Eat and What to Avoid

July 23rd, 2019

Whether we’re talking about teens or adults, braces are extremely common throughout the world. And given their proven teeth straightening abilities, it’s easy to understand the benefits of getting braces. However, many usually consider restrictions on eating food. While eating with braces does have its limitations, you can still have a well-balanced, nutritious diet while still having the foods you love. However, it’s important to consider what to eat with braces and the top foods to avoid so you don’t run into any costly issues down the road.

Feast on the Following with Braces

Once you feel those wires around your teeth for the first time, it can feel restricting when eating with braces. Once you get used to the orthodontic treatment, its easy want to go back to consuming the same types of foods you had before—but that’s where you should take a pause. If you have braces, it’s best to eat the following foods for a nutritious, yet still delicious diet:

Soft Fruit

If you have braces, you can't go wrong with eating most types of fruit (as long as they’re of the softer variety). From strawberries and blueberries to oranges and pineapple, these fruits are considered safe for your braces.

However, there are a number of fruits you should avoid—and we’ll discuss those later on. But for now, just know that soft fruits are just fine to eat and leave you with the peace of mind you deserve. Fruit is a healthy treat that will keep you and your braces happy and healthy.

Cooked Vegetables

Cooked vegetables are another fantastic food option for those eating with braces. The reason being – raw vegetables are naturally hard, making them a nightmare for your braces. Not only can they become stuck in your braces, but they can also cause brackets to loosen or detach from your tooth.

A great way to soften vegetables is by steaming them, but you can also boil them or cook them in the microwave for a quick solution.

Tender Meats

As you've probably already guessed, you’ll want to enjoy softer, more tender meats to keep your braces intact. The tougher the meat, the more discomfort you’ll have—not to mention the annoyance of having food stuck in your braces and damage to your orthodontic treatment.

For tender, scrumptious meats, try fish, lean pork or beef, and chicken. Additionally, it’s best to cut these meats into small, bite-sized pieces for easier chewing.

Dairy

Many dairy products are soft – yogurt, cheese, etc. which make them perfect options for eating with braces. Plus, they are packed with calcium. Calcium is proven to support healthy teeth, and strong teeth are key for any dental treatment, including braces. If you decide to eat cheeses that seem to be a little harder, make sure to cut them into tiny pieces in order to chew them more easily.

Avoid These

Now that you know what’s okay to eat with braces, now you should understand what not to eat. Many of the following food items can still be eaten with braces, but it’s important to prepare them properly and know that you’re risking the chance of having a broken wire, bracket or other issues, which will require an expected trip to your orthodontist. While you may love the foods listed below, you will need to hold off and make some sacrifices to have that perfect smile you’ve been waiting for. Do your best to avoid these foods:

Hard Candy

Let's face it, most of us enjoy a good piece of candy from time to time. However, if you have braces, most candy is definitely something to avoid. While you may think that soft, chewy candy should be fine, these sticky sweets tend to get stuck in your braces more often than not.

Hard candy, on the other hand, can be detrimental to your braces and many times cause a broken bracket or wire. So, leave the hard peppermints and caramels in the candy bowl for now.

Certain Fruits

Although many fruits are okay to eat with braces, there are some types of fruit that should be avoided. However, how you prepare them also plays a big role. Here are some examples:

  • Apples tend to be very harsh on braces but slicing them into small pieces is a great way to still enjoy them.
  • Blackberries are another type of fruit you should stay away from given their hard seeds.
  • Unripe pears and peaches can also pose some issues, but these can also be cut into small pieces for your enjoyment.

Raw Vegetables

While we all enjoy a good veggie tray from time to time, these hard, raw vegetables can be damaging to your braces. Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower—all are very healthy, but not so healthy for your braces. So, if you enjoy eating a lot of vegetables, make sure to cook them beforehand. You can also cook them in other dishes such as casseroles and pasta to soften them.

Nuts

Nuts are another type of food group that should not be eaten with braces. Peanuts, cashews, pistachios, almonds, and walnuts - not only are they very hard, but they can also easily become stuck around your braces. In addition, given the small size of most nuts, a broken bracket or wire is extremely possible when chewing these.

Bone-In Meats

Consuming meat with bones can very damaging if you bite down on them with braces on. Foods such as chicken wings, boney fish, and pork spare ribs. However, it is still possible to eat the meat, as long as it is removed prior to mealtime.

OrthoCare Orthodontics is Here to Help

While it’s important to understand what foods to eat and what foods to avoid when wearing braces, it’s also vital to choose a great orthodontist. There may be a time when you consume the wrong food and break a bracket or wire. Our team at OrthoCare Orthodontics is here to help.

From our friendly and experienced staff to our professional, top-notch services, we’re here to offer the best orthodontic treatment in the greater Charlotte area. If you’re looking to get started with braces, call us today to take advantage of a $500 off orthodontic treatment promotion at any of our four practice locations. Contact us to make an appointment!

Can I Get Braces if I Have Dental Implants, Crowns, or Veneers?

June 26th, 2019

For many patients who question whether they should get braces, the answer is pretty straightforward. Our Charlotte orthodontics team often recommends that braces are a good choice to solve dental problems for patients from young to old. Although there is no set period of treatment, the time it takes to straighten your teeth can vary, often depending on age, physical condition, and the level of dental correction required.

Not only can dental braces help resolve multiple types of problems in your mouth, but they can also help you feel much better about yourself. In cases where teeth are misaligned, there is an overbite or underbite, or where a tooth is missing, we might suggest that patients get braces so their mouth will have a more natural and uniform appearance.

Braces may also help the patient chew more evenly and can help reduce some pain they may be experiencing. Today, there is far less concern about comfort levels and appearance with braces than ever before. In the “old days” getting braces might have been a cumbersome process, but modern orthodontics offers many comfortable and natural-looking options. These can vary from appliances which are attached to the teeth to using a series of trays to help bring teeth into a better alignment:

  • Metal Braces: These are probably the type of braces that most people are familiar with — the traditional brackets, wires, and “rubber bands.” But they are not the bulky kind you might remember. Great advances in orthodontic care have made today’s metal braces much smaller and far more comfortable than they were in the past. Many of our teen patients even choose from a variety of colors to show school spirit or make a unique fashion statement!
  • Clear Braces: People might not want others to know they are wearing braces for a variety of reasons. Although this is more likely in our adult patients, some teens prefer the ceramic or clear braces option as well. These alternatives achieve the same goals as traditional metal braces but are simply not as apparent to the casual observer. The wearer does not feel self-conscious about wearing braces and can smile with confidence.
  • Invisalign Clear Aligners: With a similar purpose of readjusting teeth in the mouth, clear aligners differ from braces in that they are not directly attached to the teeth. They are instead a series of custom-made plastic trays that gradually shift the teeth into their desired position and are usually most effective for those patients who only need a minor orthodontic correction.

What are the Dental Conditions Which Might Affect Your Ability to Get Braces?

In most cases, the decision to get braces is simple and straightforward — you have a dental condition that can be corrected with braces, and we have many options to suit your specific needs. But some patients have had previous dental work completed in their mouth which can make them concerned about the effect of adding braces. That is certainly a valid question to ask as they don’t want to lose the investment they have already made, and definitely, do not want to do any damage to the work that has been completed.

This concern is expressed most often with patients who have dental implants, crowns, and veneers. They wonder whether it is a good idea for them to get braces, or if they should just leave their mouth in its current condition. Although each case is different, and our orthodontists will make a recommendation only after a thorough evaluation of your tooth, jaw and gum structure, we do have many options we can access that will help make braces work for you.

Braces with Veneers

A veneer is a thin layer of ceramic, porcelain, or dental composite material which is placed over the visible portion of a tooth to improve its appearance. Although we would prefer to apply the braces before the veneers, this is not always possible with all patients. In the case of veneers, we will use a very precise technique to attach the braces and may use a special adhesive for this purpose. We also remove the braces very carefully so as not to cause damage to the veneer. In some cases, we might recommend the use of Invisalign clear aligners in place of the traditional brace structure.

Braces with Crowns

A crown is a “false” tooth made of ceramic, porcelain, gold or other materials that is affixed over the base portion of an existing tooth. They are usually placed on teeth that have been cracked, chipped or broken. The natural tooth structure remains in place under the gum line and can be moved through the process of braces. If you have an existing crown, we can fit braces over it and will use a different type of adhesive to apply the braces so that we do not damage the crown. Here again, it might also be helpful to use the Invisalign clear aligners as they do not require any adhesive at all. In some cases, we may recommend that you wait until after the course of braces has been completed to have any crowns placed in your mouth. This will help achieve an even greater degree of uniformity with your newly-realigned teeth.

Braces with Dental Implants

Dental implants are different from dental crowns in that they affect the root structure of the tooth and are used to replace teeth that have been severely damaged or lost. A titanium post is inserted directly into your jaw bone to replace the missing tooth structure. A crown is then attached to this post to simulate the appearance of your natural tooth.

When it comes to braces though, the fact that the post is inserted into the jaw means that it is not moveable; however, that does not mean you cannot get braces. We may be able to work with you before the implant is placed to rearrange the surrounding teeth while leaving a space for your new implant. If the implant is already in place, we can still go ahead with braces if the teeth that need to be aligned are not in the surrounding area.

In other cases, we can use the dental implant as an anchor point and use that to provide the force necessary to move the surrounding teeth or focus on other areas so that your teeth are not strictly moved to be in alignment with the implant. In the most unlikely scenario, we can remove the implant, realign your teeth, and replace the implant after the course of treatment with braces is complete.

In any case, it is always best to have an experienced orthodontist place the braces in your mouth and follow your course of treatment carefully. After a thorough examination and discussion of your medical history, our dental care team will develop an individual care plan that is just right for your unique dental needs. Call the OrthoCare Orthodontics office nearest you to set an appointment for a complimentary consultation, and let us help find the braces that best meet your exact orthodontic needs.

Why Do Adults Need Orthodontics?

May 29th, 2019

Teens aren’t the only ones who are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Adults are as well. They too are choosing to change their smile with the help of orthodontic treatment.

Just How Many Adults are Undergoing Orthodontic Treatment?

The American Association of Orthodontics estimates that approximately 20% of all orthodontic patients are adults. That comes out to 1 in every 5 patients who are getting some type of orthodontic treatment, such as Invisalign, traditional braces, or clear braces, are over the age of 21.

Why is Orthodontics for Adults So Popular?

Just like with teens, the reason why an adult would undergo orthodontic treatment will vary depending upon personal preferences and circumstances. Some individuals may choose to undergo orthodontic treatment just to improve their appearance, while others want to improve their oral health or to treat a specific problem.

Some of the most common reasons why adults need orthodontic treatment include:

  • Changes to their appearance - orthodontic treatment can improve a person’s smile by making their teeth appear straighter and more even.
  • Improve oral health - straighter, more even teeth are easier to brush and floss.
  • Correct over- and underbites - over- and underbites can cause problems with speaking and eating.
  • Relief from jaw pain - jaw pain can sometimes be caused by teeth grinding or clenching. People with straighter teeth and a more even bite tend to not clench or grind their teeth. Orthodontic treatment can help correct a person’s bite and straighten their teeth.

What Treatment Options are Available for Adults Considering Orthodontics?

Adults who are considering undergoing orthodontic treatment have a number of treatment options available to them. Orthodontic treatment options that are available to adults include:

The type of orthodontic treatment that will be used will depend upon the types of problems that need to be corrected.

For example, Invisalign is great with correcting overcrowded teeth or gaps between teeth. However, it isn’t able to correct teeth that need to be rotated or a person’s bite. On the other hand, traditional braces and clear braces can correct everything from severe orthodontic problems, such as severe overcrowding and jaw misalignment, to minor problems such as gaps between teeth or slight overcrowding of the teeth.

Want to Correct Your Smile? Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Orthodontics for Adults

Interested in correcting your smile? If so, call us at OrthoCare Orthodontics to schedule a consultation. Our comprehensive orthodontic consultation will help you discover what type of treatment can be used to help you improve your smile. During the consultation, we will take a series of x-rays and digital photos, conduct an oral examination, and talk with you to see what your expectations are. Then, we will be able to provide you with personalized treatment recommendations to help you get the smile you have always wanted.

Why Are Rubber Bands Used With Braces?

May 14th, 2019

Whether you have braces now or have a teen in your family with braces, you may notice there are other patients with braces are using tiny rubber bands. Wondering why that is? Let’s discover why your orthodontist may be recommending the use of rubber bands as part of your orthodontic treatment.

What is the Purpose of Rubber Bands for Braces?

Ultimately, the purpose of rubber bands for braces, which are sometimes known as interarch rubber bands or elastics, is to help make sure your jaw is placed in such a way that your teeth, once they are shifted to their new position, will properly line up. The rubber bands work by applying a constant and steady amount of force and pressure to the jaw area. The force and pressure help to shift the jaw into the desired new position.

Who Needs to Use Rubber Bands?

Not every person who gets metal braces will need to use rubber bands. It will all depend on the alignment of the jaw. If the jaw is unaligned and causes a cross-bite, underbite, or overbite, rubber bands will need to be used in order to subtly and slowly move the jaw into proper alignment.

Are Rubber Bands Used for the Whole Length of Orthodontic Treatment?

How long you will have to wear rubber bands as part of your orthodontic treatment will depend upon how much your jaw and teeth need to be adjusted. If the jaw and teeth only need to be slightly shifted, you may only have to wear the rubber bands for several weeks. However, if your jaw and bite need major adjustments you could end up wearing rubber bands for almost the entire time of your orthodontic treatment.

What to Expect if You Should Need to Use Rubber Bands

Wearing rubber bands in your mouth will be a completely new experience. Luckily, it isn’t painful; just a little uncomfortable. As you adjust to wearing rubber bands, the discomfort you are experiencing will often decrease and eventually, you won’t even notice them in your mouth.

You will be completely responsible for the placement, care, and maintenance of interarch rubber bands for braces. If your orthodontist recommends wearing rubber bands for your braces, you can expect to have to do the following things on a regular basis:

  • Remove the rubber bands when eating or snacking
  • Remove the rubber bands when brushing and flossing
  • Replacing the rubber bands with new rubber bands every single day

Not doing these things could cause you to experience delays in orthodontic treatment or it could prevent you from getting the best results from your orthodontic treatment.

What Happens if You Choose to Not Use Rubber Bands with Your Metal Braces?

Not everyone is thrilled about having to wear rubber bands as part of their orthodontic treatment. However, it has to be done if you wish to improve your smile.

If you choose to undergo orthodontic care and not use rubber bands, your teeth will still be straightened out. They just might not look as straight as you wish them to look because the alignment of your jaw is causing your smile to appear slightly distorted.

Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Orthodontist

Our experienced orthodontists will take x-rays and digital imaging, which will be used to create a comprehensive orthodontic treatment plan for you. That treatment plan may or may not use rubber bands as it will depend upon the alignment of your jaw.

Curious to see if you may need rubber bands for your braces? Call OrthoCare Orthodontics to schedule an orthodontic consultation.

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