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You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food compacts in the brackets and between your teeth, and can only be removed by brushing and flossing. If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it will leave a permanent white scar on the surface. Brushing after meals should become part of your daily schedule. Use the soft toothbrush that was provided to you in your ortho “goodies” bag with firm pressure and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth; brush in small circles above and below the brackets. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray. A water-pik can be a useful addition but it cannot remove the sticky plaque that adheres to the teeth. Flossing is important and should be done everyday. The floss threaders are reusable.
Please do not eat hard foods. These foods risk breaking brackets and wires. Also beware of nail biting and pen or pencil chewing habits, since these can damage your braces. Do not eat sticky foods. Use common sense about most foods.
Eat with Caution or Cut up:
Check braces once a week for anything loose or bent. If a bracket or band comes loose or you break a wire, please call our office as soon as possible so that we can arrange an appointment long enough to repair it. If you lose your rubber bands, give us a call.
After braces are placed in the mouth it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about 2 o 3 days. Tylenol or Advil will help relieve this discomfort. Some irritation to the cheeks and tongue is normal, but if you feel anything sharp is poking you or any sores are developing, please call our office.
Attached to your braces, elastics (rubber bands) exert the proper force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and changed every day. Any time missed in wearing your elastics will only make your treatment take longer, so remember these things:
- You are responsible for placing the elastics on your braces between appointments. Make sure to wear them as instructed. Remove them only when brushing your teeth, gums and braces after meals. Then put them back on immediately.
- Always carry a few elastics with you, so if one breaks you can replace it right away. If your supply is low, call the office.
- If you forget to insert your elastics one day, don’t double up the next day- just follow your regular instructions.
- Elastics become worn out. When they lose their elasticity, they don’t provide the proper pressure on your teeth and jaws. It is very important to change them as directed, even when they are not broken.
- If your elastics break frequently, a wire or band loosens, or a hook breaks off – call our office immediately. Don’t wait until your next appointment. These problems need to be corrected as soon as possible!
Retainers & Appliances
- The removable appliance is carefully designed to move or to hold your teeth. It is important that it is worn according to instructions and brought to each appointment.
- Wear your appliance at all times, even while you are asleep. It may be removed while eating, swimming, or playing vigorous sports activities. In two or three days your speech will return to normal with the appliance in place. Avoid flipping your appliance with your tongue. This can cause damage to your teeth or breakage of your appliance.
- Your new appliance may make your teeth sore for a day or two, especially after an adjustment.
- Clean your appliance by brushing it daily with toothpaste. Denture cleaner can also be used for a more thorough cleaning. If you are wearing a bonded wire retainer behind your front teeth, be extra careful to clean the wire and the area around it. Flossing should be done every day.
- Never wrap your appliance in a paper napkin or tissue and set it down on the table. You or someone else may throw it away. Don’t put it in your pocket when playing or you may break or lose it. Whenever it is not in your mouth it should be in its plastic appliance case.
- Avoid storing them near any source of heat. Do not boil your retainer to sterilize it! If needed, bring it to the office and we will be happy to disinfect it for you.
- An additional charge will be incurred for lost or broken appliances and for recurrent re-cementing of
- If a wire causes irritation, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax, a cotton ball, or a piece of sugarless gum, until you can come into the office for an adjustment.
- If the wire has come out of the tube or pipe on your back molar tooth, Llámenos.
- If a bracket becomes loose, it usually remains connected to the main wire by a little rubber colored ring or the bracket itself. Eyebrow tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our office to get it recemented.
- If a piece of your braces breaks, save the piece and call our office to schedule a repair visit.
- If a retainer cracks, remove the retainer from your mouth and bring all the pieces to our office.
- Take Aspirin, Tylenol or Ibuprofen (unless allergic) if your teeth are sore after a monthly visit.
- If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge the food.