Food particles and plaque naturally accumulate on the teeth and on braces. If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it will lead to a permanent white scar (decalcification), tooth decay and/or gum disease. Proper oral hygiene is vital to prevent these problems from occurring during orthodontic treatment.
Dr. Frial recommends that you brush with a soft toothbrush at least three times a day. Make sure you brush every surface of every tooth including areas above, below and between each brace. Also brush your gum tissue and tongue. Flossing is also extremely important and should be done once a day. It will be more difficult when you have braces. A floss threader or super floss will help you get the floss under the archwire. If your gums are not healthy, they may bleed the first few days you floss. Remember that consistent brushing and flossing will result in a great orthodontic smile.
There are other aids that will help with your oral hygiene such as an interdental toothbrush (Proxabrush), an antiseptic mouth rinse (Peroxyl), a topical fluoride (Gel-kam or Phos-Flur), and a waterpik.
Foods to Avoid
Wearing braces limits the foods that you are permitted to eat. Avoid eating hard, sticky or chewy foods. These foods can distort wires and loosen brackets, thus delaying your treatment. In general, each loose or broken bracket can add one month to the total treatment time. The following is a partial list of some foods you should avoid. You should use your own good judgement. Remember, braces won't last forever.
Sticky, Chewy Foods
||Taffy & Caramel
|Raw Carrots (unless cut up)
|Apples (unless cut up)
Elastics or rubber bands are an extremely important part of your orthodontic treatment. They are able to move your teeth in ways that the braces alone cannot. Elastics must be worn all the time including eating (unless instructed otherwise). Any time missed in wearing your elastics will only make your treatment take longer. Your teeth will be tender the first few days. Take Tylenol or Advil if you are experiencing discomfort. Rubber bands become worn out, so it is important to change them three times a day to maintain the proper force. If your supply is low, call our office and we will mail you an additional supply. Remember, we want you to complete your treatment on time, so wear your elastics as instructed.
The removable appliance such as a retainer is carefully designed to move or to hold your teeth. It is important that you wear the appliance as instructed. The appliance should be worn all the time except for brushing, eating, or playing contact sports. Avoid flipping it with your tongue as this can cause damage to your teeth or appliance. Bring your removable appliance to each appointment so we can adjust it. Clean your appliance by brushing it with cold water. Do not use toothpaste, as it will dull the surface. A denture cleaner (e.g., Efferdent or Fixodent) can also be used for a more thorough cleaning. If you are wearing a bonded fixed retainer behind your front teeth, make sure to spend extra time brushing and flossing around the wire. Never wrap your appliance in a paper napkin as you or someone may throw it away. Whenever it is not in your mouth, it should be placed in its case. Putting it in your pockets may break it. Keep your appliance away from pets, as they love to chew on them. Avoid storing them near any source of heat. An additional charge will be incurred for lost or broken appliances.
Regular Dental Check-ups
It is very important to continue to see your family dentist every six months during the course of orthodontic treatment. If you are experiencing difficulty with your oral hygiene, you may need to see your dentist more frequently.