Having braces should not cause any major changes in your day-to-day activities. You can still dine out, sing, play a musical instrument, or have pictures taken. If you play a wind instrument, several companies make mouth guards and lip protectors, although you may not need them. For certain sports it is a good idea to wear a mouth guard. Ask us about recommendations based on your specific needs when you come in for your next appointment.With proper care and maintenance, you can promote your oral health while on your way to a more beautiful smile.
While you are wearing braces, please avoid eating hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar. Hard foods can break or damage the wires and brackets, and sticky foods can get caught between the wires and brackets. Minimize the amount of sugary foods you eat; the sugar can cause tooth decay and other related problems.
Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid:
- Gum (sugar-free or regular)
- Sugar Daddies
- Tootsie Rolls
Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:
- Hard taco shells
- French bread crust/rolls
- Corn on the cob
- Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
- Jolly Ranchers
- Pizza crust
- Uncooked carrots (unless cut)
Minimize Sugary Foods Like:
- Ice Cream
ONLY ONCE A DAY:
- Sweetened tea
- Drinks with sugar
We encourage patients to quit bad habits, such as fingernail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects. All of these activities can break or damage your braces.
It's important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. If you have a loose/broken wire or bracket, please call our office immediately to arrange a repair appointment.
To keep your smile healthy and bright while wearing braces, it is very important to practice good oral hygiene every day. You should carefully follow all instructions you are given regarding your dental care and specific steps may vary depending on the type of braces you have.It is important to keep your teeth and braces as clean as possible to avoid potential problems.
Use a soft rounded-bristle toothbrush that is in good condition. Toothbrushes will wear out faster and need to be replaced more often when wearing braces, so be sure to keep some spare toothbrushes on hand. When brushing, you should also brush your tongue and rinse thoroughly when done. Also, rinse with water or mouthwash after brushing.
While wearing braces, you should brush your teeth after any meal or snack. It’s a good idea to carry a travel toothbrush when you will be away from home. Before going to bed at night be sure to brush thoroughly and floss carefully. It may take a little extra time but this is an important step in maintaining your oral hygiene on your way to a better smile and healthier teeth.
Flossing your teeth every day is an important part of good oral hygiene. With braces, it may take a little more time and practice, and a floss threader may be necessary to get the floss under the arch wire. Make sure you clean along and under the gum lines with floss each night before going to bed. After you have properly brushed and flossed, your braces should look clean and shiny, making it easy to see the edges of the braces.
If you have any questions, our team will be happy to help you with your flossing skills!
During orthodontic treatment the doctor may use elastics to assist your braces in making adjustments to your teeth and bite. Also known as rubber bands, elastics are typically attached to brackets on the upper and lower teeth and use tension to create changes in the teeth and bite.
You should always wear your elastics as directed. You may remove your elastics when eating and brushing, and you should always replace your elastics with new ones after eating or brushing. Only wearing your elastics occasionally will prolong treatment and also cause any tenderness to persist.
You may experience some tenderness when first wearing elastics, but the tenderness should subside after a few days. Over the counter medications like Ibuprofen should help, but if the soreness continues more than a week, please give us a call.
If an elastic breaks, please replace both the broken one and the adjacent elastic to ensure the same amount of force is applied on each side. You should always carry extra elastics with you in case one should break. If you think you might run out before your next appointment, please stop by our office for more elastics, or give our office a call, and we can mail extras to you.
Dental wax can be very helpful with any areas that are irritating your mouth or gums. This can be especially helpful at night while sleeping when your mouth may get drier than during the day time when you can regularly hydrate.
- Please wear your appliance at all times, even while sleeping, or as instructed by our office. Doing so will help reduce treatment time and will also ensure the best possible results from your orthodontic treatment.
- Please be sure to bring your appliance to every orthodontic appointment.
- Please clean your removable device both morning and night to remove dental plaque. You can clean the appliance with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Please place your removable device in the provided case any time it is not being worn.
- If you have pets, please do not place your removable device anywhere that your pets can reach them. Pets are attracted to saliva and would enjoy chewing on your appliance!
- Please do not place your appliance in or on a napkin or tissue. Many appliances have accidentally been thrown out this way!
- You may remove your appliance while participating in physical activities, but be sure to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth, gums and lips.
Keep these materials on hand to help with the most common orthodontic maintenance and minor emergencies:
- Interdental or Proxabrushes fit between teeth and help patients to clean around wires without damaging them.
- Non-medicated orthodontic relief wax can be placed over brackets or wires that may be irritating gum tissues. This can be especially helpful at night when sleeping when your mouth may get drier than during the day time when you can regularly hydrate.
- Antibacterial Mouthwash can be used to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. For minor sores in the mouth, Peroxyl, an antiseptic rinse containing hydrogen peroxide may be used up to 4 times per day after brushing. Refer to the product label for specific instructions.
- Dental floss, an interproximal brush or a toothpick can be used for removing food that gets caught between teeth or wires.
- Sterile tweezers can be used to replace orthodontic rubber bands that have come off.
- A Q-tip or pencil eraser can be used to push a wire up against a tooth if it has come loose and is irritating the cheeks or gums. If it is not possible to reposition the wire so it is more comfortable, place wax over the end of the wire and call our office so that we can set a time to have the wire adjusted and put back into place.
- Salt is used for warm salt-water rinses, which help heal sore gums and tissues in the mouth.
- Non-prescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help with the temporary discomfort that sometimes occurs for the first day or two after an orthodontic adjustment.
- Topical Anesthetic Treatments, such as Orabase or Ora-Gel, can be applied with with a Q-tip to any abrasions or sores in the mouth should they occur.