Orthodontic treatment plans vary considerably from case to case, as the orthodontist attempts to correct the misalignment of teeth and jaw structure in order to improve your smile and overall oral health. This implies that different patients will have different experiences during their treatment.
Here are some of the things you can expect for the duration of treatment:
Sore mouth in the first week
From clear aligners to braces to orthodontic headgear, most orthodontic appliances cause your teeth to feel sore for the first week. It is normal to experience some discomfort during this time as your teeth begin to move from the forces being exerted to straighten them. But after the first week, the treatment becomes much simpler. Your orthodontist will prescribe some pain medication, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol to increase your comfort for these first few days.
Gum irritation for the first week
Your gums and cheeks may also become irritated for the first few days, but this should end in 1-2 weeks once they adapt to having braces on the teeth. During this time, your orthodontist may recommend rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. Swish the salt water solution in your mouth for 30 seconds and then spit it out in the sink. Repeat this several times, 3-4 times a day until the sores heal.
Change in diet
The foods you eat also play an important part in the level of comfort that you experience during your treatment. If you’re wearing aligners, you need to remove them when eating. This allows you to enjoy many different types of food without the risk of destroying your aligners. But if you’re wearing braces, you need to restrict yourself to consuming soft and “mushy” items that won’t damage the brackets and wires.
Some comfortable soft foods to consume during treatment include oatmeal, pancakes, eggs, yogurt, mashed potatoes, cooked pasta, soup, and smoothies. Avoid soft drinks, snacks, and candies that have high sugar content, as well as hard crunchy items like peanuts, corn nuts, popcorn, and ice. You may also need to cut your meat and raw vegetables into tiny pieces.
Caring for your Orthodontic Appliances
Your orthodontist will instruct you on how to brush and floss your teeth, and recommend special tools to help you clean underneath the wires if you’re wearing braces. If you’re using aligners, you should also clean them properly to prevent plaque buildup and subsequent damage to your teeth.