Lifestyle Tips When Wearing a Bite Plate with Braces
Deep overbites can require some additional assistance aside from braces during orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist might recommend something called a bite plate, which is an acrylic tray that clasps into place over your teeth. The bite plate keeps your rear teeth from connecting when you close your mouth or chew.
The positioning of the bite plate can feel incredibly awkward and make everyday tasks like eating and speaking seem more difficult. The difficulty can make it more tempting to wear the bite plate incorrectly or to take it out altogether.
But there are a few lifestyle tips that can make wearing a bite plate with your braces as comfortable as possible and allow you to still enjoy your daily life.
Stick to Wear Time Instructions
Ask your orthodontist when you are allowed to remove the bite plate. If it's a fixed bite plate, the answer will be, "When the orthodontist removes it for you." But many patients receive removable bite plates that can be taken out for cleaning and sometimes for eating.
If your orthodontist tells you not to take the removable plate out for eating, follow those instructions. You likely need to keep it in while eating because the very act of chewing is helping the plate work better at pushing your front teeth back. So you will only hurt yourself and your progress if you don't follow this rule.
Bite plates are usually prescribed at the beginning of orthodontic treatment and only need to be worn for a short portion of the overall treatment plan. Follow your orthodontist's instructions to the letter so that the bite plate can come off as soon as possible.
Adjust Your Eating
When you ate before the bite plate, your rear molars did most of the forceful chewing. But the bite plate takes those molars out of the equation because the upper and lower molars can't come together. So you will essentially need to teach yourself a new way to chew and eat.
You will have to use your front upper teeth for most of your chewing. How successful you will be at this depends on how much you practice and your particular teeth. Some patients find it easier to simply stick to softer foods such as soup, applesauce, and ground meats. Remember, the bite plate won't be in permanently, so try your best and stick to your orthodontic plan even when a juicy apple is staring you in the face.
Excess saliva is another potential side effect of a permanently open mouth. The saliva produced when wearing a bite plate can make speaking clearly and cleanly even more difficult and has the potential for some embarrassment in public.
Avoid food and drink that stimulates saliva production, such as spicy foods, acidic drinks, or anything you can suck on like hard candy or mints. You might also want to spend your alone time talking out loud or singing to use up some of that saliva and to help you practice speaking with the bite plate in your mouth. If you'd like more information about orthodontic procedures, consider contacting Crest Hill Family Dental.