Orthodontic Home Care

Braces

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 so that we can arrange an appointment long enough to repair it. Try to explain what has happened by using the diagram provided. Be as specific as possible with the receptionist. If you lose your rubber bands, call us so we can mail you some more or drop by the office and pick some up.

Sore Teeth

After braces are placed in the mouth it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about 2 or 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.

Elastics

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 and we will mail you an additional supply of elastics.
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!

Oral Hygiene Overview

For a brief overview of oral hygiene tips, please click on the image below. It will launch our flash educational module in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about oral hygiene.

Having trouble? Please make sure you have the Adobe Flash Player plugin installed in order to correctly view this presentation. This software is available as a free download.

Brushing

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 a soft toothbrush with firm pressure and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth; brush in small circles above and below the brackets. Click here for visual instructions. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray. A Waterpik can be a useful addition but it cannot remove the sticky plaque that adheres to the teeth. Electric toothbrushes are great. Flossing is important and should be done every day. The floss threaders are reusable.

Eating Habits

Please do not eat hard foods: nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spareribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating), and popcorn! 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: taffy, caramels, bubble gum, or sticky candy of any sort. Use common sense about most foods.

Absolutely No:

  • Sugar Gum
  • Sticky Foods and candies
  • Hard Foods
  • Minimize Sugar Intake
  • Eat Much Less
  • Foods with Sugar
  • Drink Much Less Drinks with Sugar

Retainers & Appliances

Retainers

Once the active period is completed, your braces are removed. The next step is called retention. Retainers are utilized to hold your teeth in their new positions until your bone, gums, and muscles adapt to the new teeth positions. You must wear your retainer as instructed, otherwise your teeth may move toward their original positions and the benefit of wearing your braces will be lost.
The dentist will determine how long you need to wear your retainer. Time varies with each patient. Some people may need retainers for an extended period of time in order to eliminate shifting of the teeth. In some cases, permanent retention may be necessary. The retention period is an important part of your overall treatment and should not be neglected!

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. If you have a sore spot on your gums call our office so that we can adjust the appliance.

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.

Keep your appliance away from dogs or cats as they love to chew on them. Avoid storing them near any source of heat. An additional charge may incurred for lost or broken appliances.

Brushing and Flossing

  • Brush after every meal.
  • Use a toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste.
  • Use circular, vibrating motions around the gumline for about 10 seconds on each tooth.
  • Brush every tooth slowly.
  • Brush the lower teeth up and the upper teeth down. Also brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
  • Brush after every meal.
  • Use a toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste.
  • Use circular, vibrating motions around the gumline for about 10 seconds on each tooth.
  • Brush every tooth slowly.
  • Brush the lower teeth up and the upper teeth down. Also brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Results

Proper Oral Hygiene photo
Proper
Oral Hygiene

Poor Oral Hygiene photo
Improper
Brushing and Flossing