Brushing and Flossing
Brushing and flossing properly is very important when you’re wearing braces — but what’s the best way to do that? Let’s start with the basic brushing tools: Either a soft-bristle brush or a bi-level brush (one that has shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges) can be effective. An electric toothbrush can work just as well.
You should brush with toothpaste at least twice a day (preferably after meals), for at least two minutes each time. Remember to brush all of the tooth surfaces: the outside, the inside, and the chewing surfaces as well. Be especially careful to clean the areas between wires and teeth, and between brackets and gums — that’s where food particles can easily become trapped.
Foods to Avoid
For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.
There are a few main types of foods to avoid with braces.
- Hard/Crunchy – ice, suckers, nuts, hard candy, and crispy foods like taco and pita chips.
- Chewy – beef jerky and dense foods like pizza crust and bagels.
- Sticky – caramel candy, chewing gum, and sticky candy like starburst can pull at your brackets
and get caught in your appliance.
- Tough – avoid tough to chew meats and make sure to cut the meat off the bone of chicken
wings and ribs.
POPCORN – The shells get lodged into the gums and can cause infection if not properly cleaned. The
kernels can also break off brackets.
Raw veggies, crunchy fruits, corn on the cob – they should be cut into small pieces and corn taken off
Remember that any damage to your braces can slow down your treatment.
An underbite is characterized by the lower jaw extending out, causing the lower front teeth to sit in front of the upper front teeth.
Spacing problems may be caused by missing teeth, or they may only be a cosmetic or aesthetic issue.
UPPER FRONT TEETH PROTRUSION
The appearance and function of your teeth are impacted by this type of bite. It is characterized by the upper teeth extending too far forward or the lower teeth not extending far enough forward.
Crowding occurs when teeth have insufficient room to erupt from the gum. Crowding can often be corrected by expansion, and many times, tooth removal can be avoided.
The upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth, which may cause tooth stratification and misaligned jaw growth.
The upper front teeth extend out over the lower front teeth, sometimes causing the lower front teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth.
Proper chewing is impacted by this type of bite, in which the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. Openbite may cause a number of unwanted habits, such as tongue thrusting.
DENTAL MIDLINES NOT MATCHED
This type of problem is caused when the back bite does not fit and match appropriately, which may negatively impact jaw and proper dental function.
WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
Call our office as soon as possible if you break or loosen any of your appliances. Please do not come directly to the office – by calling us, you will allow us to create a time to see you. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired.
LOOSE BRACKETS OR BANDS
Call our office for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day, so that we may schedule an appointment for you.
Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of wax. If the wire is painful, you can cut it with nail clipper, manicure scissors, or craft cutters that have been washed and disinfected by rubbing alcohol. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.
Some patients may lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.
DISCOMFORT WITH ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT
During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.