Eating - Be careful to protect your appliances when you eat. The first few days, soft foods will be the best to eat. Throughout your treatment, avoid foods such as: tough meats, hard breads, nuts, sticky foods, gum, popcorn, ice, corn, chips, corn-on-the-cob, whole apples, uncooked carrots, sweets.
Loosening of Teeth - It is normal for your teeth to loosen during treatment. They must, so that the teeth can begin to move to their new position.
Loose Wire, Band or Bracket- Sometimes a wire, band or bracket may come loose. If a wire protrudes and becomes irritating, it can be turned down with a blunt instrument like a pencil eraser or a spoon until repaired. Also, try using wax to cover the tip of the wire, band or bracket that is bothering you. Please call our office if you need assistance.
Soreness - A few days after the braces are placed, there might be a general soreness in your month. This discomfort can be relieved by rinsing the mouth with warm salt water or taking Tylenol or other pain relievers. This soreness is expected and will soon go away. As a general rule, an emergency appointment may be made if there is something sticking out that you cannot take care of. Call our office as soon as a problem arises. It will be helpful if you can describe the loose or broken part.
Braces are orthodontic appliances custom designed by your orthodontist to realign your teeth to a more desirable position in your mouth or to correct other mouth and jaw imperfections. Make your treatment process easier and more effective by learning the names of components necessary to make the the process happen. This will make it easier for you to discuss problems that arise with us.
1. Archwire- The main wire that acts like a track along which the teeth are guided.
2. Brackets- Metal or ceramic devices having a center track designed to hold the archwire.
3. Direct Bonding- The bracket is cemented directly to the tooth surface.
4. Buccal Tubes- Attached to the bands on molars to hold the end of the archwire safely in place.
5. Bands- These are cemented in place to encircle the tooth and are attached to the brackets.
6. O-Ring- Used to hold the archwire in the bracket grooves.
7. Elastics- Elastic or rubber bands are sometimes attached to hooks on the band and used to exert a pulling force from upper to lower teeth.
8. Hooks- These are sometimes added to the bands or to the archwire for attaching the elastics.
9. Tie Wire- A twisted wire that may be used instead of O-ring to hold the archwire in the bracket grooves.
10. Head Gear Tube- Tube that the inner bow of the headgear fits into.
Your Role In This Process
It is important for you to do your part in making treatment a success. The following list contains a few helpful hints to progress your treatment.
Follow all directions faithfully. Ask questions if you do not understand. It will be easier to follow directions if they make sense to you. Keep all appointments. They are spaced to give you the best results. Expect some minor discomfort and discuss with us in advance the best ways of dealing with it.
Success and quick results depend more on you than anyone else.
Elastic bands move teeth by exerting a constant force on the teeth which need to be moved. If you do not wear the elastics as instructed, the treatment will be less effective. Here are some basic rules for elastics:
Do not run out of elastics! Make sure you have plenty before you leave our office. Keep them with you at all times so that if one breaks, you can replace it immediately to continue the "moving force". Do not substitute a different size. We have provided the size elastic you need for optimal treatment. Change elastics twice a day or as we have instructed you.
Palatal Appliance Wear
The palatal appliances are used to widen the arch of the mouth and to improve the bite. You may feel an itchy sensation at the bridge of your nose and the roof of your mouth. This sensation means that the appliance is working, and it should go away very quickly.
After the orthodontist has cemented the appliance into place, you may be responsible for activating it as we have instructed you. When activating the appliance, always follow these rules:
Always ask someone to help you with your adjustment Loop the string (attached to the key) around finger. This is to keep you from swallowing the key! Insert the key into the hole in the center of the appliance and push the hole toward the back of the mouth. Do not turn key toward the front of the mouth! Carefully remove the key from the hole. Do not turn the key forward as you remove it from your mouth. Always keep the appliance clean. After eating, thoroughly rinse with water or mouthwash to remove food particles caught between the appliance and your palate. Using a waterpik (or something similar) in addition to brushing helps the cleaning process.
Brush, Brush and Then Brush Some More
This is more important than ever because the appliances you are wearing trap tiny particles of food and can contribute to an increase in tooth decay, plaque build-up and bad breath. Always brush immediately after eating, and do not forget to brush thoroughly. If you cannot brush immediately after eating, rinse your mouth vigorously several times with water or mouthwash. A waterpik is great to use in addition to brushing.
Be sure to brush along and under the gum line at a slight angle. It is good to brush the teeth the way they grow. Brush the upper teeth down and the lower teeth up. Brush at least 3 minutes (5 is best). You must floss even though it is hard to do with your braces. A floss threader can also be helpful in holding the floss for those hard-to-reach places.
Use a dental mirror after cleaning to see if the cleaning was thorough. A red plaque disclosing tablet is a good idea if you have the time. This will show you if you have more brushing to do. A proxibrush is another tool that comes in handy for hard-to-reach areas.