Although tooth-straightening devices have existed since the 1700s, modern orthodontics and metal braces really only became commonplace in the 20th century. For decades, metal braces were the gold standard for correcting conditions like gaps, crowding, and bite issues. This type of treatment is so effective that it is still used today as an affordable way to achieve the perfect smile. If you are being treated with metal braces, it is important to maintain them properly so they can be as effective as possible. Today, the team at American Dental has some tips for eating with metal braces to prevent them from being damaged.
Foods to Avoid with Metal Braces
Metal braces work by using a curved wire to gradually coax your teeth into a different position. If the wire or brackets become damaged, it can take longer to complete your treatment. That’s why patients need to be careful about what they eat until treatment is completed.
When you are first fitted with braces, there will be some discomfort as your teeth begin to shift. You may want to consume softer foods during this time to minimize the pain you feel. However, there are some foods that should be avoided throughout your entire treatment period. These include:
- Caramels and other sticky candies
- Nuts and crunchy peanut butter
- Potato chips, tortilla chips, and corn chips
- Raw vegetables like carrots and celery
- Dense, chewy bread like bagels and pizza crusts
- Raw fruits like apples
- Corn on the cob
- Tough, chewy meats and meats on the bone
- Beef Jerky
All of these foods have the potential to bend the wire or cause the rubber bands holding it in place to pop off, dislodging the wire. Sticky foods may also cause the brackets to detach from the tooth surface. Sugary beverages should be avoided as much as possible during treatment because they encourage the growth of plaque buildup that can be difficult to remove when you have braces. If you notice any damage to your wires, brackets, or rubber bands, it is important that you notify your orthodontist as soon as possible so you can get them repaired.
Although metal braces are proven to be effective, an alternative treatment became increasingly popular starting in the 1990s. Known as clear aligners, or often by the brand name Invisalign, these devices are made from a clear thermoplastic material that is molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Clear aligners have a number of advantages over traditional metal braces, which is why they are becoming the most popular choice for orthodontic treatment. One of the main advantages of Invisalign treatment is that the clear aligners can be removed when eating or cleaning the teeth to prevent damage. As long as the aligners are worn at least 22 hours per day, they will be just as effective as metal braces. Invisalign can even shorten treatment times because the aligners apply pressure all around the teeth instead of applying force at a single point for each tooth.
If you are a Chicago area resident who wants to find out more about metal braces or Invisalign, American Dental can help! Call (773) 284-1645 or click “Make an Appointment” to find out which one of our 8 Chicagoland locations works best for you. Today is the best day to start your treatment, so get in touch with us to find an orthodontist in Evergreen Park or anywhere else in the Chicago area.