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INTERACTIVE BRACES SELECTOR
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. Answers to many of your questions can be found below. If you still have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Dr. Smith’s office:
EATING WITH BRACES:
Avoid eating hard foods such as ice, popcorn, nuts, spare ribs, corn chips, crusty bread, pizza crust, beef jerky, etc. If you eat hard fruit, vegetables, crusty bread, etc., it is a good idea to cut them into bite size pieces first. Avoid sticky foods and foods high in added sugar, such as caramel, bubble gum, toffee, gummy bears, etc. Whenever you have something sweet, brush your teeth and braces immediately afterward. Don’t wait!
Your teeth will most likely be sensitive to the touch, so don’t try to chew anything that is crunchy or challenging, such as a sandwich or hamburger. Try mashed potatoes, pastas, soups, yogurts, and other soft foods. Eat something very cold like ice cream or suck (not chew!!!) on an ice cube. It will numb your mouth and temporarily relieve the pain. Alternatively, drinking hot soups & broths will ease any swelling, as heat promotes blood flow.
SORENESS FROM BRACES:
The first week or so with braces usually brings minor pain and discomfort. Here are some tips to help make you feel better.
- Usually a normal dose of Advil or Tylenol will do the trick .
- It will take some time for the inside of your mouth to get used to your braces. A weak solution of warm salt water (1/2 tsp of salt per cup of water) helps to ease the irritation. Rinse with warm salt water several times per day if possible. If this doesn’t work, rinse your mouth with plain cold water, and take Tylenol or Advil as directed. Use dental wax on sharp corners and hooks to reduce the pain of sores.
- When you go for an adjustment or any sort of orthodontic work, its worth using a light lip balm so your lips don’t split. Don’t forget the corners of your mouth!
LOOSE BRACKETS, BROKEN WIRES, LOST APPLIANCES:
If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set aside time for you during regular office hours. A loose bracket, broken wire, lost or broken retainer are all non-urgent emergencies and can usually wait until office hours.
PLAYING SPORTS WITH BRACES:
You will definitely want to wear a mouth guard so the braces don’t cut up the insides of your mouth and also to protect your teeth and braces. Because your teeth are still moving, we will provide you with a mouthguard that can be reshaped from time to time. Once you have completed orthodontic treatment, we recommend a custom, fitted mouthguard.
I HAVE GAPS BETWEEN MY TEETH:
It is very common for your teeth to shift and develop gaps while treatment is underway, especially if you have a palatal expander. Your bite will change many times during your treatment. Remember than any strange gaps or bite problems will be resolved by the time your treatment is finished. If you are really concerned, please be sure to mention it at your next visit, or feel free to contact our office.
TIPS FOR BRUSHING WITH BRACES
- Brush the braces and teeth first. Start brushing the outside surfaces of the teeth with braces in a back and forth motion, try to brush each tooth 10 times. Continue around the outside, then the inside and finally, the tops of the teeth. (Remember – outside, inside, tops!) Pay special attention to cleaning the back bands completely.
- Repeat this sequence, this time concentrating your brushing along the gum line (where the tooth and gum meets) Brush in a small, gentle, circular motion – about ten times per tooth. Avoid hard scrubbing which can cause the gums to recede.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly. Pull your lips back and check in the mirror to see if you have brushed all areas. Your teeth and braces should sparkle. Touch up any areas you may have missed.
TIPS FOR FLOSSING WITH BRACES
- Use the floss threader as a needle and thread and lace the floss under the wire between the teeth. Remove the floss threader and holding the floss with the fingers of both hands gently wipe up and down the surface of each tooth a minimum of five times. The tooth will feel “squeaky” when clean. Without removing the floss from between the teeth, move the floss to a clean section and repeat for the other surface of the adjacent tooth. Remove the floss, rethread, and repeat for each tooth. After practice, you may be able to thread the floss without the help of the floss threader.
- Floss all teeth at least once a day. Remember, flossing is the best way to prevent plaque build-up between the teeth and gums. Without daily plaque removal from between your teeth, your gums will bleed, a first sign of gum infection, gingivitis or periodontal (gum) disease.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR EXCELLENT ORAL HYGIENE…
- Use a fluoride-containing toothpaste when you brush.
- A soft bristled brush is also recommended – change at least every six months.
- Continue to use all hygiene aids (such as electric toothbrushes, proxy brushes, fluoride mouth rinses, etc.) that have been part of your regular routine. Remember, however, these cannot substitute for good brushing and flossing!
- Use an egg timer or watch to measure your brushing time. A minimum of five minutes is needed to brush correctly.
- Use a waxed floss to help prevent fraying. A floss threader is helpful in flossing under orthodontic wires.
- Oral hygiene supplies, such as toothbrushes, floss, floss threaders, proxy brushes, will be supplied to you. Keep a supply on hand at home, work, school, or when you travel, so you may clean your teeth after every meal.
- Maintain regular six-month check-ups with your family dentist throughout your orthodontic treatment. If you need your orthodontic wires removed before your next dental appointment, please call us. We would be happy to schedule this procedure for your dentist.
- Avoid eating hard foods such as ice, popcorn, nuts, spare ribs or corn chips. If you eat hard fruit, vegetables or french bread, it is a good idea to cut them into bite size pieces first.
- Avoid sticky foods and foods high in added sugar, such as caramel, bubble gum, toffee, gummy bears, etc.
- Whenever you have something sweet, brush your teeth and braces immediately afterward. Don’t wait!
TIPS FOR BRUSHING RETAINERS
- Use your toothbrush and toothpaste; scrub the plastic surface that touches the teeth, gums, or inside of your mouth.
- Gently brush around any wires or metal parts, taking care not to bend or distort them.
- Rinse thoroughly under cold water. The retainers should sparkle!
- Plaque sticks to plastic retainers very easily, so be sure to brush your retainers after every meal or snack.
- Rinse your retainer in mouth rinse to prevent odors and keep it tasting fresh.