Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It’s important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment. Eating some foods will loosen the braces, but you may not discover the problem until hours or days later. This will lead to prolonged treatment time.
Foods to avoid with braces
Chewy foods – bagels, licorice Crunchy foods – popcorn, crisps, ice Sticky foods – caramel candies, chewing gum Hard foods – nuts, hard candies Foods that require biting into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots, sandwiches Eating these foods will loosen the braces, but you may not discover the problem until hours or days later.
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.
Loose Wires, Brackets and Bands
The wires, brackets and bands on your braces may come loose. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. You can temporarily fix the problem yourself. If wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back into place, or you can use a fingernail clippers that have been washed or rinsed in alcohol to cut the wire. Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the broken wire to reduce the annoyance. Call the practice as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the surgery.
Soreness caused from braces and appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal for patients who have just gotten their braces put on, and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend swish and gargle with lukewarm salt water in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow).
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever such as Paracetamol or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know!
Take Care of your Appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
Brushing and care of Your Teeth with Braces
It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and your appliance. When you have a brace it takes longer to clean your teeth and gums. It is essential to not only brush your teeth morning and evening but to have a toothbrush with you so that when you eat you can safely remove any food that may stick to your brace. Poor brushing can lead to decalcification of the teeth. This creates permanent white patches on the front of the teeth where the enamel has been weakened, this can lead to cavities. Decalcification is less common with lingual braces and if it were to occur it cannot be seen.
Apart from brushing fluoride mouthwashes and tooth mouse are encouraged to be used every evening to help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Disclosing tablets can be used to highlight those areas that you may be having difficulty reaching during your tooth brushing. They will stain the areas where plaque is still present and hence alert you to an area you may have missed.
You know how important it is to brush and floss properly when you’re wearing braces. Either a soft-bristle brush or a bi-level brush (one that has shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges) can be effective. Used carefully, an electric toothbrush can work just as well. But be sure the electric brush is set to a moderate power level, and don’t let its vibrations cause the back of the brush to hit brackets or braces! You should brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times per day (preferably after meals), for at least five minutes each time. Remember to brush all of the tooth surfaces: the outside, the inside, and the chewing surfaces as well. Be especially careful to clean the areas between wires and teeth, and between brackets and gums — that’s where food particles can easily become trapped. Here’s a suggested brushing technique: Beginning at the outside surfaces, place the tips of the bristles flat against your teeth, and use small circular motions to gently polish them clean. For areas between braces and gums, tilt the brush toward the gum line (down for the bottom teeth, up for the top) while keeping up the circular motions. Next, move on to the chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth, using a firm back-and-forth motion. Finally, finish up by carefully brushing the inside surfaces of the teeth the same way you did the outside surfaces.
To clean the areas near brackets and under the wires, you can gently use an interdental toothbrush, or proxabrush. It has a small tuft of bristles that stick up all around, like a pipe cleaner. Another special cleaning tool is the oral irrigator or “water pick.” This device shoots a small stream of pressurized water at your teeth, which can help dislodge bits of food that become trapped in nooks and crannies. While it’s easy to use, an oral irrigator isn’t a substitute for a toothbrush or dental floss — but when used along with proper brushing and flossing techniques, it can be very effective.
To keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, you need to floss at least once per day. It’s not so hard with the help of a floss threader. Using this device is somewhat like threading a needle: You pull one end of floss through the threader, and then push the threader — carrying with it the free end of the floss — under the archwire. Now grasp the floss on each end and slide it up and down the sides of both teeth, and all the way under the gums until you hear a squeaky sound. Finally, pull it out and use a new section of floss for the next area.
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy now is an investment in your future. It enables you to get the best results from your orthodontic treatment, and starts you toward a brighter smile that can last for a lifetime.
Good oral hygiene is essential when wearing an orthodontic appliance. Poor plaque control around the brackets can lead to decay and permanent damage to tooth surfaces. Daily use of interdental brushes in and around the appliance will remove plaque from areas not normally accessible by regular toothbrushing.