Caring For Your Braces
CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY TO A FANTASTIC SMILE! Braces are a big investment in your smile, so make sure you take great care of them!
WILL MY BRACES HURT?Most patients notice some discomfort 24-48 hours after an appointment. This is because your teeth are moving. Any discomfort should subside within a few days. Any over the counter pain reliever can be used to help ease any discomfort (similar to what you would use for a headache). Our wires are “heat activated” at body temperature, so cold foods like ice cream or smoothies may relieve some pressure and discomfort. Our braces have a gate or sliding mechanism that reduces pressure on your teeth and allows us to move them with lighter forces than was previously used with older style braces. We also give you orthodontic wax that you can place over the bracket in case the brackets feel like they are irritating the inside of your mouth. Rinse with salt water or peroxyl mouthwash as needed to relieve any sores or mouth irritation. After the first couple of weeks your mouth and cheeks will become “tougher” and you won’t need the wax or rinses anymore.
HOW DO I KEEP MY BRACES CLEAN?
Make sure you brush your teeth right after every meal an before you go to bed. Use a fluoride toothpaste to help fight cavities.
Follow this brushing method with braces:
Use a soft bristled toothbrush, brushing after every meal and before bed, in a gentle circular motions with special emphasis to dislodge food that is between your teeth and braces.
Start with brushing the outside of each tooth at least 10 times.
Brush the inside surface of each tooth 10 times.
Then brush where your gums and teeth meet, using a rolling motion.
Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth last.
Use the small proxybrushes (sample included in your orthodontic kit) to clean under the wire in any areas your toothbrush missed.
Brushing alone won’t keep your teeth clean, flossing will help prevent cavities in between your teeth. A floss threader (included in your orthodontic kit) helps you floss with braces on. Floss once a day, like this:
Thread the floss through the threader and slip it under your wire.
Pull the floss between two teeth and up and under your gum margins, continue with each tooth.
If you are having difficulty flossing, we recommend investing in a Waterpik or Waterflosser.
WHAT FOODS DO I HAVE TO AVOID WHILE I HAVE BRACES?
Remember, braces are fragile and strong forces from hard foods will break them off. Damaged appliances can extend treatment time and can increase the risk of cavities and stains on your teeth. Eating with braces is more about HOW you eat, rather than WHAT you eat. Remember to take smaller bites and chew a bit softer. Hard foods like apples, carrots, pizza crusts and bagels should be cut up or sliced and eaten on the back teeth. Avoid extremely hard things like nuts, hard candies, chewing on ice or pen caps. You should also stay away from really sticky foods like taffys, toffee and caramels. You can continue to eat most of the foods you love if you are careful!
WHAT CAN I DO IF A WIRE IS POKING ME OR A BRACKET IS BROKEN?
Poking wires: As the teeth get straighter, the wires will get longer in the back and can poke. If a wire is poking at the back, try shifting it with your fingernail or to the other side or use wax on the poking end. Call our office and we can schedule an appointment to snip the long wire. You or a parent can also cut the wire with a nail clipper at home. Cut the wire as far back as you can. If you can’t reach all the way to the back, cut in between two other brackets and pull the end piece of the wire out of the brackets.
Loose brackets: If the loose bracket is not causing any discomfort but is “spinning” on the wire and annoying you, you can place wax over the bracket to stabilize it. Please call our office so we may schedule an appointment for you if you are in discomfort, or to allocate extra time at your next scheduled appointment to repair the bracket.
MOUTHGUARDSare recommended for patients involved in contact sports. You can buy “boil and bite” mouthguards specifically for braces.
HOW CAN I GET MY BRACES OFF SOONER?There are four main ways to help get your orthodontic treatment completed as efficiently as possible:
- Keeping your appointments and being on time.
- Not breaking your appliances. Make sure you are following all of Dr. Ashley’s instructions on foods to avoid and how to take care of your braces.
- Wearing your elastics and appliances as instructed.
- Keeping your teeth and braces clean and healthy and seeing your general dentist every 3-4 months for regular cleanings and check-ups.