Brushing and Flossing
Proper oral hygiene is the best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile, and is vital during orthodontic treatment.
Because it is harder to brush and floss with braces, we recommend that patients see their dentist every three months for a proper cleaning and hygiene check while you are undergoing treatment.
Brushing and flossing regularly will help prevent plaque buildup on your brackets and bands. This plaque buildup can lead to gum disease or gingivitis and can damage your tooth enamel. You can help prevent this from happening by following the suggestions below:
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes after every meal. (Be sure the bristles of the brush are angled in all directions around the brackets especially between the gum-line and the top of the bracket. You do not have to brush hard.)
- Before going to bed brush and floss. We recommend flossing once a day.
- Rinse or brush with fluoride supplement before bed (we will prescribe for you).
Eating with Braces
What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard bread, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to bite a cucumber again. But you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces.
Foods to Avoid
- Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice
- Sticky foods: caramels, gum
- Hard foods: nuts, candy
- Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 – 5 days. Take Tylenol or whatever you normally take for headache or discomfort. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces. We will supply wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort.
Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can move. The teeth will firm up in their new — corrected — positions after treatment is completed.
Loose Wire or Band
Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire sticks out and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the problem.
Rubber Band Wear
To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Lack of cooperation following instructions and damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time… so please … follow instructions.
If you play sports, it’s important you let us know. A protective mouthguard is provided for playing contact sports.