You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food becomes caught in the brackets and between your teeth and can only be removed by brushing and flossing. If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it can leave a permanent white scar on the surface. Brushing after meals should become part of your daily schedule. Use a soft toothbrush and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth in small circles above and below the brackets.
A WaterPik can be a useful addition, but it cannot remove the sticky plaque that adheres to the teeth. An electric toothbrush can also be used to help remove plaque. Flossing is important with braces and is accomplished using reusable floss threaders.
Please do not eat hard foods including: nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spare ribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating) and popcorn! These foods can cause breakage of the 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 like: taffy, caramels, bubble gum or sticky candy of any sort. Use common sense about most foods. Excessive broken appliances due to careless eating habits may result in treatment taking longer than expected.
Check your braces for anything loose or bent. If a bracket or band comes loose or you break a wire, please call our office so that we can arrange an appointment long enough to repair it.
After braces are placed it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about 2 to 3 days. Tylenol or Advil/ Motrin will help relieve this discomfort. Some irritation to the cheeks and tongue is normal, but if you feel anything sharp is poking you, please call our office.
Attached to your braces, elastics (rubber bands) exert the proper force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth and correct your bite. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and be changed a minimum of 2 times every day. Remove them only when brushing your teeth and when eating meals. Then put them back on immediately. If you forget to wear your elastics one day, don't double up the next day- just follow your regular instructions.
A removable retainer is carefully designed to move or hold your teeth. It is important that it is worn according to instructions and brought to each appointment. Wear your retainer at all times, even while you are asleep. It may be removed during / playing vigorous sports activities. In two to three days your speech will return to normal with the retainer in place. Avoid flipping your retainer with your tongue. This can cause damage to your teeth or breakage of your retainer.
Your new retainer 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 arrange to adjust the retainer. Clean your retainer by brushing it daily with toothpaste. Denture cleaner can also be used for a more thorough cleaning. Never wrap your retainer in a paper napkin or tissue and set it down on the table. You or someone else may throw it away. Don't put it in your pocket when playing or you may break or lose it. Whenever it is not in your mouth it should be in its plastic retainer case. Keep your retainer away from dogs or cats, as they love to chew on them. Do not boil your retainer to sterilize it! Please remember to bring your retainers to all appointments so that we can make sure they are fitting properly.