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Ice cream is safe to eat with braces


What’s not to love about the Denver area? It’s beautiful, there are so many amazing outdoor activities and we get close to 300 days of sunshine a year. Another perk to add to the list? The top-notch ice cream shops! Yup, I may be a Westminster orthodontist, but even I enjoy the occasional frozen, sweet treat.


And, yes, you can eat ice cream with braces or aligners. In fact, when it comes to soft foods for braces, it’s one of the options Dr. Carolyn Cronin and I recommend to our patients. In this post, I’ll be covering a few basics about Invisalign® and braces pain, as well as my top picks for where to get ice cream in Denver and the surrounding area. 


Are Invisalign and Braces Painful?


The good news is, orthodontic treatments have come a long way. While in the past, braces pain was par for the course, the modern appliances we offer at Cronin & Czarnik Orthodontics straighten teeth more comfortably and efficiently. We use clear braces and metal braces from American Orthodontics. The streamlined, cutting-edge brackets are paired with lightweight wires that exert gentle, controlled force to shift the teeth into place. 


That said, though you won’t feel severe braces pain the first week of treatment or at any point after, you might have some general soreness in your mouth and your teeth can be sensitive to biting pressure when you get your braces on and, occasionally, after adjustments. Within a few days, any mild discomfort will go away and you’ll probably forget you’re even wearing an appliance. 


Will your teeth hurt with Invisalign? Again, you might have minor discomfort when you start treatment and sometimes when changing to a new tray. Just like with braces, it will subside quickly and just means your Invisalign is working! Overall, because Invisalign doesn’t involve brackets and wires and also exerts gentle force to move the teeth, treatment is incredibly comfortable. 


How to Relieve Braces Pain or Invisalign Discomfort

As for how to relieve braces pain or Invisalign discomfort, one of the easiest and most effective things you can do is stick with a soft foods diet until the tenderness improves. 


When trying to decide what to eat with braces the first week, anything that requires minimal chewing and is easy on the mouth will do the trick. Ideal soft foods for braces wearers include mashed potatoes, yogurt, oatmeal, protein shakes and macaroni and cheese. Even though you can eat whatever you want during clear aligner treatment, if your Invisalign hurts when putting in a new tray, you might also find temporarily eating soft foods helpful. 


Cold things like milkshakes and ice cream are especially soothing, because the cold offers a little numbing power. As long as the ice cream doesn’t contain anything really sticky or hard like nuts, it won’t damage your appliance. If you’re one of our Westminster or Arvada Invisalign patients, since you’ll take your aligners out before eating, there are no restrictions on flavors or toppings. 


Even though ice cream does have sugar in it, it’s less likely to cause cavities compared to most other sweets. This is because it rinses off the teeth easily and doesn’t sit on the enamel feeding the cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth. As long as you have ice cream in moderation throughout your treatment and you brush your teeth after eating it (or at least swish with some water), it gets the Cronin & Czarnik Orthodontics’ seal of approval!


The Best Ice Cream in the Denver Area

Well, we’ve established that orthodontic treatment is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to some ice cream, so it’s on to the more pressing issue of where to get it. To help, I’m sharing my favorite Denver area ice cream shops:


  1. Little Man Ice Cream – Denver, CO – Little Man Ice cream launched in 2008, serving up scoops out of a 28-foot cream can in LoHi. Now considered by many to have the best ice cream in Denver, they’ve expanded to six locations through their sister shops, Sweet Cooie’s, The Constellation, Little Man Ice Cream Factory, Old Town Churn and DANG Soft Serve. The homemade ice cream is made with locally-sourced ingredients and boasts innovative flavors. Bonus: they have options for everyone, including vegan and gluten-free versions of their fan favorites. Dr. Carolyn Cronin’s favorite ice cream is their Salted Oreo!



  2. High Point Creamery – Denver, CO – High Point Creamery uses fresh, local ingredients in their decadent, tasty creations. The owners spent years perfecting their recipes and it shows! While you can’t go wrong with any of the flavors (the basil with blackberry swirl is wildly popular), if you’d prefer variety or can’t decide on just one, you can also order an ice cream flight.



  3. Scrumptious – Arvada, CO – Scrumptious doesn’t just sell candy and sodas, it’s also a microcreamery. They whip up homemade ice cream in their store in Olde Town Arvada and it’s really, really good. The flavors rotate, but there’s always a nice mix of classic flavors and unique combinations. Dr. Scott Czarnik loves sneaking a scoop of Scrumptious at lunch.



  4. Yogurt Brothers – Westminster, CO – Okay, so technically Yogurt Brothers isn’t a Westminster ice cream shop since they make frozen yogurt, but the frozen yogurt is delicious and great for soothing sore teeth. The self-serve store offers 16 flavors of fresh frozen yogurt and tons of toppings. You can top your yogurt with fruit and keep it on the healthy side or go all in with some cheesecake bites. Just be sure to steer clear of really crunchy or sticky toppings like nuts and gummy candy if you have braces.



  5. Sweet Cow – Denver Metro Area – Sweet Cow started with one ice cream shop in Louisville, CO and now has locations across the Denver metro area. They make handcrafted ice cream on site, fresh daily. At Sweet Cow, you’ll find some year-round staple flavors and a bunch more that rotate regularly, including a few non-dairy options.



  6. Bonnie Brae Ice Cream – Denver, CO – This family-owned Denver ice cream shop has been around since 1986. The neighborhood spot makes their ice cream fresh every day and has over 30 flavors to satisfy any sweet tooth. Eat your ice cream right there at the shop or take advantage of their takeout and delivery options.



  7. Frozen Spirals – Westminster, CO – Frozen Spirals is the go-to spot for rolled ice cream in Westminster. They turn liquid cream and milk into ice cream on their cold plates right in front of you. You have complete creative control over your treat and get to choose your mix-ins and toppings. Though the rolled ice cream is, well, rolled, it’s still soft, cold and easy to eat with braces.



  8. Nuggs – Denver, CO – Nuggs is another family-owned shop. They use fresh, all natural, local ingredients in their award-winning ice cream. Their menu is made up of traditional, seasonal and a few more daring flavors, all of which you can enjoy on their patio. Nuggs also makes some of the best milkshakes in Denver.



  9. Liks Ice Cream – Denver, CO – Liks is a locally owned creamery that’s been in business since 1976. Its Denver scoop shop in Capitol Hill has an excellent neighborhood feel and serves handcrafted ice cream, sorbet and vegan flavors. Liks also has a second location on Highway 285 in Conifer. The flavors rotate daily at the shops and they offer pints you can order online for pickup.



  10.  Sweet Action – Denver, CO – Sweet Action uses natural ingredients sourced from Colorado in their handcrafted ice cream. Committed to sustainability, its stores and manufactory are all 100% wind-powered. The flavors, both traditional and one-of-a-kind, are made in small batches and change frequently. They also have vegan options. If you can’t get to one of Sweet Action’s scoop shops, you can purchase the ice cream at select Whole Foods and Natural Grocers.

Ready for a Sweet New Smile?

Now that you know ice cream is still on the menu during braces and Invisalign treatment, are you ready to get a fantastic new smile? Schedule a complimentary consultation at Cronin & Czarnik Orthodontics in Westminster, CO. As a husband and wife orthodontic team, our patients get double the expertise and in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.


Dr. Scott Czarnik

Author Dr. Scott Czarnik

Dr. Scott Czarnik graduated at the top of his dental school class from University of Illinois. He was then selected to attend orthodontic residency at the highly esteemed University of Minnesota. Following his residency, he took the additional step of becoming board certified. At Cronin & Czarnik Orthodontics, Dr. Czarnik is committed to delivering high quality, leading-edge orthodontic care in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere.

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