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If your dental braces are causing discomfort, here are some helpful tips

When you get dental braces fitted, it’s not uncommon to feel a little discomfort. In this post I offer some tips on managing pain you may feel when having braces fitted or adjusted. If you find this useful, please share.

Be prepared

Like a good Boy or Girl Scout, be prepared. Before you visit the clinic, take pain relief, like Panadol. It is much more effective when taken before the pain starts, rather than after. It also pays to have eaten a decent meal. This is because you will probably feel a bit ‘weird’once your braces are fitted (it can take a little while to get used to all the bumps in your mouth), and you might not feel like eating.

What can you eat?

For about three days after having braces fitted, most people feel a little sore. So, pre-plan the meals you would like to eat during this time. I suggest you stick to soft food, like scrambled eggs, but there are plenty of tasty choices available. For recipe ideas, check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages. Depending on your treatment, you could be wearing braces for between six months and two years. During this time it pays to be careful about what you eat. As a rule, don’t eat anything you can’t crush between your finger and thumb. You should also avoid chewy or sticky foods, sticky or crunchy foods, like toffee or muesli bars or biting straight into a raw carrot or crunching on popcorn. Fruit, like apples, is okay — just cut it into small pieces first.

Children with braces

If your child is getting braces, and they are particularly active, during those first few days, feed them a protein shake before school. This way you can be certain they’re getting all their energy requirements for the day, even if they don’t eat as much as usual. They’ll be much happier: active kids burning through calories but not eating much can get a bit ‘tetchy,’ to say the least.

Protecting your mouth

Braces can sometimes irritate the inside of your cheek. So, we provide a little container containing braces wax. If it’s a bracket that’s causing the problem, use the wax to create a little pad on the bracket. Or, if a piece of wire is the culprit, put a long ‘sausage’of wax over the bracket. At Turner Lim, you needn’t come to the clinic if you run out of wax. Just phone up and we’ll put some in the mail. While you’re waiting for new wax to arrive, silicon earplugs are an excellent alternative — you can even use chewing gum, though it’s not ideal.

Got a pencil?

A pencil with an eraser on the end can also be useful for pushing back a distorted wire, and there is no risk of hurting your finger.

More tips for pain relief

For patients with particularly sensitive mouths, I often recommend taking Nurofen as well as Panadol. Also, some types of braces, like SureSmile, use heat activated wires. These wires are in their working form at room temperature. If you ‘chill them down’ by eating or drinking something cold, they go into a soft, bendy state. You’ll notice less pressure when this happens.

What do you think?

Please share if you found this useful.

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orthodontist showing girls new smile

Wish for a Smile

A bright new smile for Megan

Who can forget little Evan Hill, who featured on Campbell Live a few years back with what his orthodontist described as the worst teeth he had ever seen?

Viewers donated $150,000 to get Evan’s teeth sorted. There was money left over so $70,000 was donated to the Wish For A Smile Trust to fund orthodontic work for children and improve their lives.

Fifteen-year-old Megan Malloch is the latest patient to benefit from the trust.

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When to take your child to an orthodontist

When should I take my child to an orthodontist?

Braces are more commonly worn by teenagers. However, increasingly more adults now choose to wear braces to straighten their teeth and correct their bites. Thankfully, braces are smaller and more technically advanced than they used to be — and some people even enjoy their bit of bling!

In this post we explain when to take your child to an orthodontist. If you find this useful, please share. Your questions or comments are welcome.

As a parent, you might have heard of other children getting full orthodontic treatment in their preteens; maybe you want the same for your child. You may feel that early treatment could reduce the need for treatment (and having wonky teeth) later on.

Avoiding the guess work

There is a good reason why major orthodontic treatment is usually applied to patients in their teenage or latter years. You see, by then, a patient’s bite has fully developed — all their adult teeth have come through.

As orthodontists, we prefer not to guess what a child’s teeth will do — treating a child too early relies on chance. For example, after having braces fitted at younger than ten, a child’s 12-year-old molar might grow incorrectly and result in more treatment (and additional expense) later on.

Treating preteens

At Turner Lim Orthodontists, we do like to see children at around the age of eight to nine. Though, as already mentioned, treatment is unlikely. Any orthodontic treatment we do carry out will likely be less involved, like fitting a removable plate or limited fixed braces.

One benefit of seeing a child at around nine is it enables us to spot problems early, like:

  • a tooth being prevented from growing
  • a tooth stuck across the bite, known as a cross bite
  • crowded or missing teeth.

Skeletal mismatches between the jaws can also be identified, and we can sometimes correct them early orthopaedically, rather than later on. This can be the case for someone with a very small lower jaw, which gives them a big overbite (overjet/buck teeth). This sort of bite can be linked to teasing and a higher risk of the teeth being knocked. In contrast, someone with a very big lower jaw may have to wait until their face has completely stopped growing.

What do your think? If you found this post useful, please share. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section.

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