Master dental braces before they master you

Wearing braces can be one of the hardest things a person does in their life. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. I am writing this from my heart to anyone who has braces and needs to know how to master them, rather than them mastering you. Dental braces don’t have to be a hardship, they can even be fun, if you master a few areas from the first day you get them…

I am sure this letter will come to different age groups, and that is my hope and prayer. See, I’m 41 years old and I felt a little weird getting full braces. Everyone in the waiting room was 7-25 years old, but my dentist said get them, or don’t expect my teeth to straighten. If you are a child, I hope you like this article. If you are an adult, I also hope to encourage you to the limit.

Let’s get down to business. How to master dental braces, instead of them controlling you. A little disclaimer: what worked for me may not have worked for you, so please follow your dentist’s or doctor’s instructions first and foremost, but I’ll be blunt and to the point to help most of you right now.

The best advice I got from the start. Relax. Relax and try not to think about them being in your mouth. In fact, the dental assistant told me: don’t think about it. Just be yourself and be normal. That was priceless. Why?

The first day I got braces I wanted to take them back and tell the doctor to pull them off my face. I even thought about the $4,600 I had to pay (my insurance didn’t cover because I’m over 25) and thought about how I wouldn’t care even if I had to pay it just make sure this bottom bracket isn’t in my cheeks!

Okay. So I’m not trying to scare you, but wearing braces can be hard if you don’t master them before they master you!

First and foremost, you need to have fun, laugh, and be yourself, just like you did before you got your braces. I know, I know, the directions say “don’t eat sugar, no candy, no caramel, etc, etc, etc, again, follow your dentist’s directions, but I say use moderation instead and enjoy your food!

Your teeth are going to hurt for a while. There are things that are normal that you don’t feel are normal. I already called my dentist and all of the following are normal, believe it or not: teeth move, you can touch your teeth and see them move, pain, tightness and much more.

My dentist told me I would feel normal in about one to two weeks. Not really. It took me about a month and a half. After a month I started to feel like the old “me” and started enjoying my food. Now, about the food. Please don’t make the mistake I made, don’t try to eat with ALL your teeth right away.

I thought, okay, I better just be normal, so let’s go ahead and chew away! Ugh! There is so much food between my front teeth that you can fill two gum packages with it! Don’t chew away. Do not eat as if your teeth are not affected. Granted, every person is different, but if I may give you this piece of advice. If you used to brush hard, brush medium, if you are a soft brusher, good for you. If you were a hard brusher like me, you’re going to have to back off a bit!

Let me explain. I went through a lot of undone pain for the first few weeks just twisting away on my bottom teeth. Before I got the braces I was just scrubbing and scrubbing. The bottom tooth is the one that’s crooked though, so I was really scrubbing daylight out of a tooth that MOVES. Not a good thing.

Realize your teeth are moving now, you wouldn’t clean a moving car with a 500lb jet spray, so don’t do that with your teeth either. You have to be a little more sensitive to yourself.

Again, the first two weeks for me, I wanted to return the braces to the dentist. Now, I hardly know there. Another thing is prayer. Seriously, pray and ask God for help right now. I am a Christian, so one day I prayed this simple prayer and I encourage you to pray it too: “Lord, please teach me how to eat again with these braces on.”

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He heard my prayer and I started eating more with my back molars. But first there was peace! God gave me the peace to move on and I felt moved by him to stop brushing so hard, and also eat more with my back teeth. Not to ignore my front teeth and also chew with them, but just to change them from the main chewers to the back-up chewers, if that makes sense.

The first three weeks can be summed up in one word for me: uncomfortable. Well, I can help you through that too. I wanted to sit down at night and slurp my nightly “Welch’s grape juice bars.” Oh oh. Not really. They were history. They are history for now. Until I take the bracket off. It was just too cold on my teeth and they all stiffened like they were preparing for war or something.

I love juices, but I love ice cream almost as much as juices. Come on, ice cream has less fat than some of those juice bars! Anyway, I needed some food that I could enjoy. Before I tell you about my favorite foods with braces, I want to encourage you by introducing you to some of my 2nd places. I love cream corn, ribs cooked all the way through, because you can pull them off the bone with your fingers…

A new love! Tapioca pudding! It’s actually an old love, but the first few weeks it got me through! Also in terms of health: Fig Newtons! Delicious soft food, healthy and eating it is fun with your braces. But again, you need to focus on eating with your back teeth, not the front. Also put some food on your tongue and let it sit there for a minute, then move it back as you don’t want it cramming into your front wires!

Hmm… let’s see. Other foods you may like: peas cream corn man this is satisfying with braces. Chile too! Yes Chile! Do you have a Farmer Boys near your home? The best thing you can do for your little one after they get braces is just take them to Farmer Boys for a nice hot bowl of Chili! Farmer Boys makes them with meat in them, and not so many beans, and the meat is thin, so you’ll be fed and feel back to normal right away! Chili my friends! Chili!

Hmm..what else? Soft fruit is also great. Watermelon, cucumbers and orange slices are great with braces.

But remember most of all. You have to cut everything! You can’t just sit down and eat a cheeseburger! You have to cut all your sandwiches into quarters or eighths, make everything bite-sized. You can’t eat huge anymore.

Watch out for nuts! They seem to be the hardest thing to eat with braces. You can eat them occasionally, but let me teach you how. Does anyone like chocolate nut clusters? Me too! However, you can NEVER eat these with your front teeth! You just can’t! Only eat them with your back teeth. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. I tried to eat one for the first three days and put almost everything in my mouth. And if you eat sweets, eat only one! Trust me, you’ll feel four with your braces on.

Second, eat slowly, enjoy and chew your food. Never before has chewing become so important! Chew! Chew! Chew! Enjoying! You’ll be glad you did.

Finally, you should also relax and be wary of earwax! The doctor kept telling me to wash, wash, apply wax. I have a scientific mind and it told me to just postpone the inevitable. Those braces near the cheek will have to tear and eventually create a nick or bruise. So after only using wax for a day or two, I gave up.

Then of course there was the usual pain but after a day for me it started to go away. Yes, yes, the braces made an indentation in my cheek and when I rotate my tongue under my cheek I can feel the scar tissue or whatever that is, but hey my cheek has hardened and I don’t need wax anymore. I’ve spoken to people who have been waxing for months!

Okay, I promised to tell you my favorite food. It’s vanilla, sorbet or strawberry ice cream. I eat just a scoop or two at night three or four times a week because it’s so soothing to my mouth. At first my mouth started to tighten up a bit but after doing it for a day or two it has tightened up and is barely noticeable. Plus, I feel so good after the ice cream because it’s so soothing to my mouth!

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Now follow up with your dentist again, but at my first braces check I’m way ahead of schedule. I believe I will get my braces out in 8 months or less! And that includes eating ice cream!

My warped truth has almost completely straightened out and it hasn’t even been three months! I also wear Damon braces, and they are very comfortable and it’s a brand new technology that works with the natural movement of your teeth, and they don’t need to be tightened as tight as standard braces! If you’re a parent buying braces, don’t forget that name!

Finally, if I can do it at 41, so can you. Don’t let braces control you. You have to master them. And a final word on flossing. You will NOT be able to floss every day. It’s too hard and you get frustrated. Floss regularly, but most importantly, brush regularly and use plenty of mouthwash. It soothes your mouth! Mouthwash with Peroxide! Colgate makes a great one.

Also, my dentist recommends Colgate Total for best results when wearing braces. Let me tell you why I agree with him. I’ve been a public school teacher for 20 years, and I once had a sixth grade student do an in-depth science experiment comparing Colgate Total, Crest, Agua-Fresh, and more. Long story short, the Colgate Total came out on top in every area: fewer cavities, less tooth decay, and most importantly, more white teeth than any other brand.

That student was one of my brightest ever and her research was intense. I was vice-principal and a scientific fair judge at the time. That said, please enjoy your new braces, and remember, master them before they master you!