Brushing with braces
It is very important that your teeth are kept clean during your braces treatment. Failure to do so can cause surface decay or decalcification that results in unsightly staining. Polishing or whitening the teeth cannot remove this.
We advise you to use a special braces toothbrush during your treatment and will provide you with one in your care pack at the start of your treatment. Most patients will require a new braces brush every 6-8 weeks. We suggest that you brush after every main meal and be prepared to spend at least 5 minutes brushing your teeth and gums. We will teach you the correct technique for brushing and flossing at your banding appointment. Please see the video below for further tips on how to brush with braces.
Visit your dentist at least every 6 months
It is very important to maintain the health of your teeth and gums at optimal levels during braces treatment to avoid problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. We recommend that you see your dentist every 6 months during the braces treatment for regular check ups and scale and cleans. Adult patients may need to see a periodontist more frequently as advised by Dr Brooks or their practitioner.
Your first few days with braces
It is normal to experience some minor discomfort for the first few days after your braces have been fitted. You will probably feel a dull ache associated with your teeth starting about 4-6 hours after the braces have been fitted. Your teeth are likely to feel tender to bite on and there may be a rubbing sensation on the insides of your lips or cheeks for a short time until the tissues adapt. We suggest that you take paracetamol or other painkillers that you would normally use for a headache if required. Orthodontic wax can be used to smooth out any areas of the braces that feel like they are rubbing. Good brushing and using an antiseptic mouthwash such as Savacol or Difflam can help with any mouth ulcers that may develop.
Your diet with braces
In order to avoid breaking your braces you should avoid all hard or sticky foods. Breakages can really delay your treatment by several months for every breakage so to ensure your treatment progresses smoothly you need to avoid certain foods. You must avoid:
- all nuts
- hard lollies (eg. minties, redskins, fantails, M&M’s) and refrigerated chocolate
- hard biscuits
- hard crusted or multigrain/ seeded breads
- muesli, muesli bars, hard cereals and popcorn
- carrots and carrot sticks, raw celery
- whole apples (you can cut them into thin slices to eat)
- sucking or chewing ice, whether crushed or not
- chewing meat off the bone
- hard pizza crust
- chewing gum, bubble gum, lollipops
- chewing pens, pencils, fingernails
Frequent sugar intake also encourages tooth decay and decalcification leading to staining of the teeth. Be mindful of the hidden sugars in acidic drinks such as soft drink, fruit juices and sports drinks. Try to limit the frequency of having such drinks and avoid having them between meals; water is better.
Parts of braces
If you have any issues with your braces, it is helpful for you to be able to describe them to us as accurately as possible when you phone for an appointment. Please refer to the video below for a description of the various parts of braces.
Breakages/ broken brackets
It is very important to avoid breaking your braces or archwires during treatment. Breakages interrupt the progress of your treatment and can result in delays of several months. In order to avoid breaking your braces, you need to avoid hard, tough or sticky foods and avoid chewing pens/ pencils and fingernails. Please refer to the “your diet with braces” section for more advice on foods to avoid.
If you do suspect that you have broken something on your braces, please call our office immediately and stop wearing any elastics that have been prescribed for you. Do not leave it until your next appointment. We will need to schedule a specific appointment to repair the broken bracket.
In the early stages of the braces treatment soft flexible wires are used to align the crooked teeth. As the teeth align, excess wire can slide out the back of the braces and begin to rub the cheeks. A similar problem can occur when we are closing spaces during treatment. We can help you with this. As an emergency measure you can apply wax to the wire that is sticking out to stop it from rubbing the cheek. Please call our practice to schedule an appointment to have the long wire trimmed.
Bands are the ringed attachments that are placed on the molar teeth at the back of the mouth. If you eat hard or sticky foods these can be loosened and potentially damage the surrounding gum tissue or encourage tooth decay to develop. Please call our practice to schedule an appointment to have any loose bands re-cemented.
Separators are small rubber bands that are inserted between the back teeth to open spaces for bands to be placed at a subsequent appointment. It is important for them to remain in place so that the bands can be fitted at the next visit. If a separator falls out, please call our practice to determine if it should be replaced.
Do not floss in the areas where separators have been placed and avoid eating sticky foods.
Lost or broken retainers
Wearing your retainers well and as advised is crucial to maintaining the alignment of your teeth. Teeth can move relatively quickly if your retainer wear is interrupted by loss or damage to your retainers.
If your retainers have broken or become distorted, do not wear them but contact our office as soon as possible. Wearing broken or distorted retainers can result in damage to your teeth and gums or cause unwanted tooth movement.
Co-operation during treatment
The success of orthodontic treatment depends heavily on co-operation between the orthodontist and patient. As a patient, you have a very potent influence over the progress of your treatment, the timeframes involved and the quality of the final result. It is important that you:
- Attend all scheduled appointments. Missing appointments will result in your treatment not progressing as it should and extended treatment times.
- Maintain excellent oral hygiene. Only healthy gums and teeth will respond well to orthodontic treatment.
- Wear any elastics that we prescribe as advised. Failure to wear elastics is another common cause of elongated treatment times or a compromised result.
- Avoid breaking your braces.
Flossing with braces
We suggest that you floss with braces once per day using superfloss. Our staff will show you how to floss with braces at your banding appointment. Please also see the video below.
It is important to understand that braces do not damage the surface of the teeth. They do, however, provide a sheltered environment for plaque and bacteria to accumulate. If this is not removed with regular brushing, the plaque causes tooth decay or enamel decalcification that shows up as surface staining on the teeth. This cannot be bleached or polished off the teeth so it is important to make sure you clean well during braces treatment.
We recommend that you wear a mouthguard if you are going to play any sport where you might be at risk of trauma to your teeth. Traditional custom fitted mouthguards are rarely practical during braces treatment as they will cease to fit as the teeth move and cannot be remoulded. We can assist with re-mouldable mouthguards that function well during braces treatment.