So, it’s your first day with braces and you’re wondering what’s next.
Maybe you’ve heard a lot of different things, but questioning whether they’re true.
Is it possible your first day with braces could be easier than you think?
We like to think it is!
Yes, your first day with braces will require some adjustment.
However, with these insider tips, you truly can enjoy the experience of your braces treatment from day one.
#1 Commit to the Right Attitude
We talk a lot about the right attitude when we’re working with our patients.
Why? Because we know the right attitude makes all the difference to your experience of braces.
If you think your first day with braces is going to be a downer, guess what? It will be!
Conversely, approach it with an attitude that says, I’ve got this and your experience will reflect it.
There’s no doubt day one with braces means a little discomfort, but start with the right attitude and it will be much easier to manage.
#2 Focus on the Outcome
If you’re a parent reading this, not only is your attitude towards treatment as important as your child’s
So is your focus on the outcome.
You will be the one who reminds your child or teen the outcome is worth the short term discomfort they might experience on day one and beyond.
In fact, it sets the benchmark for how you and your child will experience braces treatment.
Taking this approach will keep you both sane.
It will also mean you’re more relaxed about treatment, and committed to the outcome.
Hello straight teeth, a beautiful smile, a healthy mouth and self-confidence.
I remind my patients nothing worthwhile comes without effort.
I also counsel parents they need to balance understanding with firm resolve.
Kids will try anything for a sympathy vote, so don’t be sucked in.
Rather than feeling overwhelmed by temporary discomfort they experience, encourage your child to stay focused on the outcome.
#3 Make it Manageable
There’s no doubt that everybody has a different pain threshold.
Some people will tough things out and sail on through to the other side of discomfort.
Others will succumb to the slightest twinge.
Regardless of where you sit on the pain threshold scale, it’s important that you manage it.
On your first day with braces, and in the days immediately afterwards, be sensible.
We recommend to our patients that they manage the pain with soft foods and some paracetamol if necessary.
For most people, this is all they should need to get through the initial period after braces have been fitted.
If you feel the pain is unmanageable, contact your orthodontist. They will work with you to devise a pain management plan.
#4 Brush and Floss Like Normal
On your first day with braces it would be easy to think because you’re making the big adjustment, you should give yourself a break.
We encourage our patients on day one to begin their oral care as they mean to go on: by brushing and flossing properly.
For the best treatment outcome, it is essential you stick to an oral hygiene routine.
Even if it’s uncomfortable, do floss and brush on the first day. Although flossing with braces is tricky, with a little practice, you’ll get the hang of it.
Getting into this habit will set you up well for the duration of your treatment.
#5 Eat Soft Foods
As your child (or you) are getting used to braces, there will be a need to adjust meals.
The best way to approach this is with softer foods.
I often joke with parents they have my full permission to overcook their pasta legitimately on the first day with braces.
Other great meal options are blended soups, mashed foods (potato, pumpkin, sweet potato), soft noodles.
Stay away from hard or crunchy foods like apples, crusty bread, hard sweets and ice.
Although braces don’t require a restriction in diet, it is recommended you become mindful of the impact of foods you typically eat.
Eliminating foods with the potential to cause issues is just another way to get the best out of your treatment.
I hope these tips make your adjustment to braces easier and that you can enjoy the experience.
Dr Sarah Dan is an orthodontist and an advocate of early interceptive assessment to help improve treatment outcomes for children. Through her experience as a clinician and having orthodontic treatment herself, Sarah truly understands the orthodontics from the patient’s perspective. She ‘gets’ it and has developed her unique 5-Step Process to help patients navigate the treatment journey to a confident, beautiful smile.