No matter what condition your teeth are in before you get braces, you’re used to how you bite down on things and chew your food. You somehow make it work, then you get braces, and your usual routine is disrupted.
With traditional metal braces, you now have wires and brackets and rubber bands all over the place. They’re putting pressure on your teeth this way and that. They’re making things move. They also hurt for the first few days! Therefore, your bite — and your ability to bite down completely — is changing.
There are several reasons why your braces make it hard to bite down as you did before. And there are things to avoid while the braces are in place that will ensure that they stay in place and do the work they’re meant to do in your mouth.
For now, you have to endure some discomfort, especially during the first week. You have to adjust to functioning daily with all that ‘hardware.’ But it’s effective and definitely worth it. When it’s all over, you’ll have an improved, healthier bite on top of a beautiful smile!
Reasons Why My Teeth Hurt When I Bite Down With Braces
You’re Still Warming Up to Your Braces
First and foremost, it’s because they’re new, so your mouth isn’t used to the pressure yet. Depending on how the braces are installed, the configuration may make it difficult to bite down the way you have before. The usual places your teeth meet when chewing may differ under these new circumstances.
Also, the pressure your teeth normally exert when chewing anything but soft food may be too much for your extreme sensitivity. The braces may get in the way of gripping and biting food, and it may feel like doing so will snap off a piece of the braces.
Your Teeth Are On the Move
As unpleasant as the initial discomfort can be, that soreness indicates that the braces are doing their job. The intent is for your teeth to shift from their current positions in your mouth to other, more advantageous locations.
Unfortunately, your teeth are not inclined to go quietly; they must be gradually coaxed. Any body parts made to move like that would hurt for a while. Fortunately, you will adjust, and it won’t hurt so much anymore.
Your Bite Is Misaligned
Braces correct a number of dental disorders, including bite misalignments. Your bite is the way your upper and lower jaws meet. A healthy bite means upper teeth and the corresponding lower teeth fit together. Misalignment creates overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites, thus interfering with your normal bite and getting in the way of biting down completely.
Your Orthodontist Installed Bite Blocks
Occasionally, orthodontists add bite blocks when top teeth touch the lower braces to keep your upper and lower teeth from coming into contact with each other. This process protects brackets from breakage when you bite down and helps your braces move your teeth when your mouth is closed.
You’re Trying To Bite and Chew Hard Foods
Braces change your ability to eat hard or chewy foods. If you can’t bite down completely, that granola bar is not going anywhere, and if you try, it may hurt and get messy. So, for a while, you’ll need to eat soft foods (e.g. mashed potatoes), or at least cut your food into tiny pieces that don’t require a lot of chewing.
What To Avoid When Wearing Braces
We’ve established that, while the braces are on your teeth, you might not be able to bite down completely. But what should you avoid to minimize the time you need to wear braces and maximize their effectiveness so you can get that full bite back?
Chewing On the Wrong Foods
Let’s start by elaborating on the previous section: the foods you eat. Hard and crunchy foods that put pressure between your upper and lower teeth should be avoided. Add to that list sticky foods that will get caught in the nooks and crannies of the braces and will be hard to clean out.
Here are some other foods to avoid:
- Chewing ice: It’s hard and cold and can break your braces.
- Chewing gum: It will create a sticky mess tangled in your braces and pull on them.
- Sugary foods and beverages: They can loosen your braces.
- Food bitten with front teeth: Things like corn on the cob can loosen brackets, which is why you should cut it into small pieces.
Dabbling in Bad Habits
If you have a habit of chewing on pencils, pens, and other objects or nail biting, please stop! They can damage and break your braces.
You’ll need to find a new way to respond to stress. For example, thumb sucking, which some teens and adults still indulge in, can push teeth out of the alignment your braces are working toward.
Smoking and chewing tobacco are horrible for your teeth, with or without braces. The discoloration tobacco causes is worsened with braces because they trap the stain-causing particles. And then there are the risks of gum disease, sore throat, and cancer that you certainly don’t need.
Using your teeth as tools can chip your teeth and damage your braces. Find some other way to open those stubborn bags and bottles!
Neglecting Your Orthodontic Dental Care
Taking care of your teeth daily and observing your orthodontic appointments are especially important when you have braces. Braces create spaces that can easily trap food debris and bacteria that, if left in place, will cause all sorts of health problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease, so brush and floss carefully.
Your orthodontist needs to make sure the teeth are moving into place as expected and find any problems before they become serious. Please don’t skip your appointments!
Start Your Orthodontic Treatment at Loudoun Orthodontics!
Contact Loudoun Orthodontics if you are ready to learn more about braces and how they can help you achieve your best smile. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of braces or simply have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (703) 858-0303 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today to book a free consultation! Our office, located at 19465 Deerfield Ave, Suite 304, Leesburg, VA 20176, proudly serves not just Loudoun County but also the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Purcellville, Broadlands, or Brambleton, and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in VA, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health, as well as follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!