There are certain dietary habits that are known to increase the risk of dental disease and the breakage of orthodontic appliances. Our goal is to minimize broken braces and tooth decay, which can extend the treatment time.
Foods which may cause tooth decay should be restricted while wearing braces. Sticky foods are to be avoided as much as possible because of the increased risk of dental decay and appliance breakage. These foods stick to your braces and remain on your teeth for long periods of time. Please make sure that careful brushing and rinsing take place immediately afterwards. After each snack or meal, vigorous rinsing with water is recommended even if a toothbrush is not available.
Examples of Foods to Avoid
Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice, jerky
Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, tortilla chips
Sticky foods: caramels, gum
Hard foods: nuts, candy
Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots (these foods should be chopped into little pieces and eaten in smaller bites)
Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you'll feel more self-confident.
Your dentist may also have discussed with you the benefits of having healthy teeth and proper jaw alignment. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This can result in tooth decay, worsen gum disease, and possibly lead to tooth loss. Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment of the jaw joints. Treatment by an orthodontist can be less costly than the additional care required to treat dental problems arising as a result of orthodontic problems.
At the first visit to the orthodontist, diagnostic records are made to determine the best course of treatment. Complete diagnostic records typically include a medical/dental history, clinical examination, models of the teeth, photos of the patient's face and teeth, and digital X-rays. This information is used to develop a custom treatment plan for each patient. These records are also helpful in tracking the progress of treatment as the teeth move under orthodontic care.
After the doctor has evaluated your records, we discuss your treatment with you in detail, including the cost for your particular case.
Brushing with Orthodontics Appliances Aims and Goals
Our aim is to get your teeth straight as soon as we can so that your braces will not be on for longer than they need to, and have your teeth and gums in a healthy condition at the end of your treatment. If this is your aim too, we will all need to work together, to make it happen. We will make sure we keep your teeth moving, by changing the modules and activating or changing the wires as required. You will need to help us by avoiding breakages, and by keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
How to brush effectively while you have your braces on
Brushing your teeth will take a lot longer now that you have braces on. Any brush with soft bristles and a small head that is comfortable to hold is fine. In the morning we understand that your time is limited, so just a quick but thorough brush with your regular toothbrush. Start at the back and work your way around your mouth, from one side to the other. That way no teeth will be missed. Hold the toothbrush not on top of the braces, but on the gums, wriggling in small circles. You can then push the bristles of the brush under the wires from above and below the braces to remove food and more importantly, plaque from under the wires. This will require placing the brush in one spot, then pushing the bristles. It won't work if you are just scrubbing the under and top sides of the braces.
At lunchtime (at school), you don't have to brush unless you want to. You will find though, that lots of food will get caught in your braces, so you'll need to rinse thoroughly with water to get rid of it. At night, or whenever you have more time, you should spend at least 5 minutes having a really good thorough brush. Start with the spiral brush. This is great for getting huge chunks of food out, but it is also essential for daily use to remove all the plaque from your teeth and gums. Bend the wire part of the brush so that it is at right angles to the handle. Direct the brush under the arch wire of your braces, going from the gums towards the biting edge of your teeth, then using long strokes, brush 15 strokes, from above one bracket, to above the other bracket.
That is five strokes from the left
five strokes straight up and down
and then 5 strokes from the right
Make sure the bristles of the brush are held firmly against your gum and the tooth above/below each bracket. If you pull against the arch wire with the brush, you will be holding the brush away from your gums, and this will be ineffective.
True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can't take care of yourself. We'll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with our office. When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you are able to identify what part is broken or out of place. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment plan. The following solutions may help you relieve your discomfort:
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.
Loose Bracket or Band
If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue and bring it to your next appointment.
Using tweezers, try to place your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax does not help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.
Headgear Does Not Fit
Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, the headgear may hurt less if it's worn more, so be sure you're getting in the prescribed hours.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness persist, take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain medication while you are adjusting to your new braces. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!