Important Information for Home Care of Your Braces
You'll notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food gets caught in the brackets and between your teeth. It 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 a 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 ultrasonic toothbrush can be used to help remove the plaque. Flossing is important with braces and is accomplished using reusable floss threaders.
Do not eat hard food, 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! They 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 food like taffy, caramels, bubble gum, or sticky candy of any sort. Use common sense about most food. Excessive broken appliances due to careless eating habits may result in additional charges for repair.
Check your braces for anything loose or bent. If a bracket or band comes loose or you break a wire, call our office so that we can arrange an appointment long enough to repair it.
After braces are placed, it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about 2 to 3 days. Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin will help relieve this discomfort. Some irritation to the cheeks and tongue is normal, but if you feel anything sharp is poking you, call our office immediately.
Attached to your braces, elastics (rubber bands) exert the proper force that creates the right amount of pressure to move the teeth and correct your bite. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and be 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.
A removable appliance is carefully designed to move or 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 when playing vigorous sports activities. In 2 to 3 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 arrange to adjust the appliance. Clean your appliance by brushing it daily with toothpaste.
Denture cleaner can also be used for a thorough cleaning. 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 the plastic appliance case.