You will notice that it requires more time to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food tends to get stuck in the brackets and between your teeth, and can only be removed by brushing and flossing. Floss every day. In order to get the floss under your wires, use floss threaders. 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. Make sure to use the special fluoride gel prescribed by your orthodontist every day. It will not only prevent cavities, but also help prevent decalcification around the brackets of your braces.
A healthy diet means a healthy body, healthy teeth, and a better result for your orthodontia. 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, sticky candy of any sort. A small piece of sugarless gum occasionally is acceptable. Use common sense about most foods.
Foods to avoid while wearing braces:
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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 once a 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 your elastics 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, do not double up the next day, just follow your regular instructions.
- Elastics become worn out. When they lose their elasticity, they do not 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. Do not wait until your next appointment. These problems need to be corrected as soon as possible.
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.
You must wear your appliance at all times, even while you are asleep. It may be removed while eating, swimming, or playing vigorous sports activities. 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 (e.g., Efferdent, Fixodent or Polident) 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 accidentally throw it away. Do not put it in your pocket when playing or you may break or lose it. Whenever it is not in your mouth, it should be placed 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. Do not boil your retainer to sterilize it. If needed, bring it to the office and we will be happy to disinfect it for you.
Now that your braces are off and you are enjoying your beautiful new smile, we would like to give you some information about retainers.
Retainers are very important to your orthodontic result and the first year after braces is always the most crucial.
- Until you are advised differently, wear your retainer all the time, except for playing sports and eating.
- Brush the retainers with cold water every time you brush your teeth.
- Soaking them in mouthwash during dinner will give you that after-dinner mint taste. Occasionally soaking in regular denture cleaner is also a good idea.
- Retainers can easily be broken if they are not in your mouth or in their case. Avoid backpacks, back pockets, tabletops and places where the family pet can reach them.
- If you break your retainer, do not try to fix it yourself. Call our office to get it repaired.
- Be careful not to click your retainer in and out all the time or always be taking it out to show friends. This will cause it to get loose and not fit properly.
- Retainers do not like heat. Avoid hot water, sunlight and do not microwave them (yes, it has been done)
- You may talk funny or salivate more when you first get your retainer. This is normal and will improve with practice and time.
- Remember: retainers are difficult to make and are expensive to replace. Take care of them and keep your recall appointments with us.
The Patient’s Responsibility
With proper care, your retainer will serve you well for a very long time. For best results, please follow these instructions and keep your appointments.
- See your dentist every 6 months.
- Brush your teeth after every meal.
- AVOID eating sweets between meals unless the teeth can be cleaned immediately thereafter.
- AVOID chewing ice, hard or sticky candy, gum, and popcorn, playing with, or dislodging appliances.
- AVOID rough play where you could receive a blow to the face or could catch the appliances upon your clothing and dislodging or breaking them.
- Please notify the office IMMEDIATELY if the appliances are loose, lost or broken.