You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food becomes caught 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 can leave a permanent white scar on the surface. Brushing after meals should become part of your daily schedule. Use a soft toothbrush and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth 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 waterpik can be a useful addition, but it cannot remove the sticky plaque that adheres to the teeth. A Sonicare or Oral B ultrasonic toothbrush can be used to help remove plaque. Flossing is important with braces and is accomplished using reusable floss threaders or Platypus orthodontic flossers. A concentrated fluoride gel will also be provided to protect the health and integrity of the teeth.
Please do not eat hard foods including nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spare ribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating) and popcorn! These foods can cause breakage of the 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 like taffy, caramels, bubble gum or sticky candy of any sort. Use common sense about most foods. Excessive broken appliances due to careless eating habits will prolong and complicate treatment.
Check your 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.
After braces are placed in the mouth it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about 2 to 3 days. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil/ Motrin) will help relieve this discomfort. Some irritation to the cheeks and tongue is normal, but if you feel anything sharp poking you, 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 and correct your bite. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and changed a minimum of 2 times every day. Any time missed in wearing your elastics will only make your treatment take longer, so make sure to wear them as instructed. Remove them only when brushing your teeth and when eating meals. Then put them back on immediately.
If you forget to wear your elastics one day, don’t double up the next day—just follow your regular instructions.