I got my upper lingual “invisible” braces on back in October last year. It took a while for me to get use to eating and cleaning them. In this blog I will describe what I experienced with eating with lingual braces, trying to keep them clean, as well as what I had to do when I encountered “emergencies” with my braces.
Like many active male adults, I love my food! All you can eat sushi buffets was welcomed on a weekly basis. I would tell anyone who is willing to listen that I was on a diet, a “seafood” diet I would say; which really meant that I would only eat food that I can “see”! After I got my braces on, three things kept me from my “seefood” diet;
1. My bite changes all the time, such that I did not have a comfortable place to chew, more importantly, I frequently bit my cheek if I tried to eat too fast. This really made me slow down my eating. I started to chew slower and much more deliberately, so that I did not end up chewing my cheeks and lips every time I ate. The solution is to use the wax that your orthodontic office provide for you, or if you run out, you can get some at the local drug store. You take a small piece of wax, kneed it in you fingers to soften it and form it into a ball, then you can press it to the bracket or wire that is irritating your lip or cheek. This will soften any sharp edges on the bracket or wire that is bothering you, until you skin forms a “callus” that can withstand the constant rubbing of the the new metal in your mouth. The irritation usually goes away in less than 2 weeks. If this does not work, you should return to your orthodontist to get it look at and taken care of.
2. Food tended to get stuck in my braces easily, especially sticky and fibrous foods. I tried to keep a balance diet, and since I do not have any food allergies, and I enjoyed food from many different nationalities, I ate a large variety of different foods. What I found was that vegetables with long strands of fiber was a particular challenge, the fibers tend to wrap themselves around the brackets. I find that I would have to really learn what foods I can eat, and how to clean my braces properly after each meal. Your orthodontic office will be able to provide you with some of the tools and techniques that will keep your teeth and braces clean. Of course, you will need to continue to visit your family dentist for regular check up and cleaning. Some patients find that due to the extra time it takes to chew their food, they have reduced their food intake, and thus have lost weight. This may be a benefit in some cases, however, you should really watch what you eat. Since many of the foods that are easier to eat are highly processed, and may contain high levels of sugar and fats, you will need to be careful not to take in too much of these foods that are not good for you.
3. Until you get used to having something glued onto your teeth, you may try to eat foods that are too hard for your brackets. In those cases, you may break your brackets off. When that happens, your brackets may become loose on the wire, or come completely off the teeth and wire and fall into your mouth while you are chewing. The brackets are there to move your teeth, so if it comes off your teeth, your teeth will not move as they should, and your treatment will be delayed. Also, with no bracket there to hold the wire in place, the wire may start to poke your cheek and gums. It those cases, you should keep the bracket if you can, and return to your orthodontist to get them fixed in a timely fashion.
In the beginning of my own treatment, I experienced all these inconveniences. I broke some brackets off eating thing that I used to eat, with excess vigor; I bit my cheek due to all the excess hardware, and I had trouble keeping them clean. However, after a month or so, I learned how to deal with most of these discomforts, and I believe all of you will too. It is still bothersome at times, however, I have noticed significant improvements to my teeth that are very encouraging. I look forward to further improvements and the day that my braces finally come of and I will be able to enjoy all the benefits of a healthy bite and great looking smile.