How to Eat With Spacers

Spacers can cause jaw pain which is why eating can be a challenge.
Spacers can cause jaw pain which is why eating can be a challenge. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Spacers are tiny pieces of plastic or rubber that are inserted between your back teeth to help move them and prepare them for treatment with braces. These small pieces can be painful. While dealing with the pain itself can be done with over-the-counter pain medication eating can be a challenge but not impossible. It's important that you don't deprive yourself of food when you have spacers.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft or liquid foods
  • Fluids

Eat soft or liquid foods for at least the first three or four days you have spacers. These days you will have the most sensitive mouth and easily chewable foods can help make this time easier. Try warm foods such as mashed potatoes or hot soups, as the warmth can help ease some of the pain.

Avoid chewing too much with your back teeth for the first three to four days. The back of your mouth will be extremely sensitive as it adjusts to spacers; soft foods that require minimal chewing are best to start with.

Eat slowly to avoid pressing down or agitating the spacers in your mouth. Take smaller bites. If you eat too quickly you’ll run the risk of accidentally biting down on your back teeth, which can cause a lot of pain.

Drink plenty of fluids while you eat to help wash out food particles and keep them from catching in your teeth or in spacers. Warm fluids such as tea or warm milk can also help to ease some of the tenderness associated with spacers.

Eat foods that require more chewing with caution and slowly integrate them back into your diet. If you notice an increase in pain and swelling while eating or following eating certain foods your mouth is not ready for them so stick to softer foods. Remember to take your time when trying to eat certain foods again and don’t force yourself to.

Avoid eating foods that are sticky or require a lot of chewing such as candy or tough meats. You don’t want to risk these foods getting caught up in spacers or worse pulling them out. Avoid them until spacers are removed and your orthodontist says it is okay.

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