Dear Dr. Bronsky: Holiday Season with Braces

Dear Dr. Bronsky: Holiday Season with Braces

Dear Dr. Bronsky,

The holidays are coming up, and with my child wearing braces, we’re going to have to be extra careful about navigating the season while ensuring optimal orthodontic health. I imagine many parents have children undergoing orthodontic treatment in the Tribeca area, so I wanted to inquire about what you suppose we should do in the coming weeks.

Seasons Greeting,

-An Orthodontic Mom

Dear An Orthodontic Mom,

Thank you for reaching out! This is a question I get quite a bit during this time of year, so I wanted to share a few of my strategies for protecting my patients’ braces during the holidays and ensuring that orthodontic treatment goes ahead as planned during this busy time of the year.

Dealing with Diet

One of the biggest concerns for when wearing braces during the holidays is all the holiday treats we like to indulge in during this time of the year. While the thought of a warm pecan pie or a colorful candy cane may seem inviting, these snacks and foods like them can break brackets, get stuck under archwires, and cause many other problems with orthodontic treatment. However, with some forethought, it’s easy to celebrate the season without jeopardizing orthodontic care.

In general, I make sure to steer my patients with braces clear of any foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky, chewy, or too full of sugar. That means no candy canes, caramels, nuts, or corn on the cob – all of these items can damage braces. Instead, I recommend giving your child softer treats and opt for low sugar options where possible. I find that ice cream, cobbler, and soft pies like pumpkin or key lime are great replacements for traditional options like pecan pie. I’d also recommend avoiding hard candies and candy canes, instead choosing simple, soft options like milk chocolate or baked fruits.

What To Do In Case of Orthodontic Emergency

Prevention is always the best medicine when it comes to orthodontic treatment, but sometimes, orthodontic accidents and emergencies can happen. It’s important to know how to respond in these situations, so here’s a quick guide to dealing with orthodontic emergencies:

  • The most important thing is to avoid panicking and make sure to call our orthodontic offices right away. The sooner I can treat the problem, the better.
  • If it’s something more serious like a broken archwire or a broken bracket, it’s important to make an appointment for repair as soon as possible.
  • If any pieces like brackets or archwires pop out or fall off, make sure to save them and bring them into your repair appointment.
  • For more minor issues like a sore spot, try covering that area of the braces in a piece of orthodontic wax. This can prevent irritation and help the gums heal.
  • In rare cases where braces are causing extreme pain, it may be necessary to cut the archwire on your own. Be sure to call us before attempting this, but if you both decide it’s the best course of action, use a sterilized pair of nail clippers to gently clip the archwire. Again, save any piece of the braces that fall out and make a repair appointment as soon as possible.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Park Avenue Orthodontist

The holidays present a difficult time for children wearing braces, but with some forward-thinking and extra care, it’s easy to get through them safely and with braces in tact.

I hope other parents find these tips helpful for protecting braces during the holiday season, and I wish everyone a happy, braces-safe holiday this year.


Dr. Bronsky

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