Braces Care



Having braces should not cause any major changes in your day-to-day activities. You can still dine out, sing, play a musical instrument, or have pictures taken. With proper care and maintenance, you can promote your oral health while on your way to a more beautiful smile.

If you play a wind instrument, several companies make mouth guards and lip protectors, although you may not need them.

For certain sports it is a good idea to wear a mouth guard. Ask us about recommendations based on your specific needs when you come in for your next appointment.

When making your dining choice, choose softer foods and avoid foods that are particularly hard, chewy, crunchy or sticky. Cut or tear pizza and sandwiches before eating them rather than trying to bite through them. Chopping up items like apples or carrots before eating them is a good idea. When your braces are adjusted, your teeth may be a little more sensitive, so choosing softer food like pasta, soups or a healthy smoothie can be a good choice. Please avoid chewing gum and chewing on ice.

Carefully follow all instructions you are given regarding your dental care. Specific steps may vary depending on the type of braces you have. Be sure to brush thoroughly after any meal or snack . It is important to keep your teeth and braces as clean as possible to avoid potential problems. Also, rinse with water or mouthwash after brushing. It’s a good idea to carry a travel toothbrush when you will be away from home. Before going to bed at night be sure to brush thoroughly and floss carefully. It may take a little extra time but this is an important step in maintaining your oral hygiene on your way to a better smile and healthier teeth.

Use a soft rounded-bristle toothbrush that is in good condition. Toothbrushes will wear out faster and need to be replaced more often when wearing braces, so be sure to keep some spare toothbrushes on hand. When brushing you should also brush your tongue and rinse thoroughly when done.

Flossing is an important part of good oral hygiene. With braces it may take a little more time and practice, and a floss threader may be necessary to get the floss under the archwire. Make sure you clean along and under the gum lines with floss each night before going to bed. After you have properly brushed and flossed, your braces should look clean and shiny, making it easy to see the edges of the braces.

If you have a removable orthodontic appliance, it is important to clean it each night and morning to remove dental plaque.  Remove the appliance and clean it with a toothbrush and toothpaste. 

How do I care for my Fixed Retainer?

Permanent retainers require diligent cleaning to prevent cavities and build up of calculus, which may lead to periodontal (gum) disease. Please, follow instructions on proper flossing of the retainers with the floss-threader to get underneath it. Routine dental cleaning by a general dentist or a hygienist could be and should be done on a routine basis. If flossing daily is “not your/your child’s thing” more frequent dental cleaning visits are highly recommended (e.g. every 3 mo instead of every 6mo).

If during retention visits it becomes obvious that maintenance of retainer is inadequate, we will make a note of it and review hygiene with you/your child. If poor hygiene continues, the fixed retainer will be removed and replaced with removable one. Leaving a fixed retainer in a poor oral environment may result in severe damage to your child’s teeth and supporting structures.

What can happen to a Fixed Retainer?

Retainer check appointments are scheduled on a regular basis but it is up to you to “keep an eye” on the alignment of your teeth and condition of the fixed retainer in between visits. Like with any other appliance, improper care may lead to breakage of the appliance. Please, promptly call our office to schedule an appointment during our regular business hours.

If a retainer is loose on one or two teeth, please do NOT pull it out. It may be an easy fix.

What will happen if I ignore a possible problem?

If all of a sudden you find that there is a difference in the way retainer feels (even if it doesn’t appear broken) – please, contact the office right away to check the retainer. It is your responsibility to report problems with fixed retainer as soon as possible. Ignoring a problem may lead to a significant tooth movement. Correction of relapse that happened due to patient’s negligence will require the time, effort, and expense of additional treatment. The expense involved would depend on time required to realign your teeth back to where orthodontic treatment was finished.

Will I be charged for repairs?

Fixed retainers are made on premises and “built to last” for years when maintained properly
Everyone makes mistakes and could be careless once in a while that may result in a broken retainer.
There will be no charge for the first three repairs/replacements.
There will be a charge for all future repairs/ replacements (depending on the extent of the damage).
Retainer that is broken 5 times or more usually indicates patient’s carelessness in maintenance of the appliance.
After 5th breakage the fixed retainer will be replaced with removable retainer that requires certain compliance in wearing it as well. There will be a fee for the removable retainer.

How long will I have a Fixed Retainer?

Like any other organ in the body, teeth will not stay the same throughout life. Certain changes in the jaw joints, bite patterns, etc may lead to shifting of the alignment. It is our “unofficial” recommendation that you should maintain some sort of retainer throughout life. (think of the retainers like glasses).
If your treatment has been completed as an adult – your use of retainers should be indefinite.
For teens active retention follow-up will be until 20 years of age or at least 5 years post treatment.
For adults our active retention follow-up will be 5 years after your treatment has been completed.
After retention period has expired we will not be reminding you of your appointments. However, we recommend that you continue visiting us for retention checks at least once a year. There will be a nominal charge of $50 per office visit after our “official” retention follow-up has been completed.

Form

Acknowledgement of Fixed Retainer Agreement
Dental wax can be very helpful with any areas that are irritating your mouth or gums. This can be especially helpful at night when sleeping when your mouth may get drier than during the day time when you can regularly hydrate.

Wear a mouth guard when playing sports to protect the mouth from injury.

Keep these materials on hand to help with the most common orthodontic maintenance and minor emergencies:

Interdental or Proxabrushes fit between teeth and help patients to clean around wires without damaging them.

Non-medicated orthodontic relief wax can be placed over brackets or wires that may be irritating gum tissues.

Antibacterial Mouthwash can be used to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. For minor sores in the mouth, Peroxyl, an antiseptic rinse containing hydrogen peroxide may be used up to 4 times per day after brushing. Refer to the product label for specific instructions.

Dental floss, an interproximal brush or a toothpick can be used for removing food that gets caught between teeth or wires.

Sterile tweezers can be used to replace orthodontic rubber bands that have come off.

A Q-tip or pencil eraser can be used to push a wire up against a tooth if it has come loose and is irritating the cheeks or gums. If it is not possible to reposition the wire so it is more comfortable, place wax over the end of the wire and call our office so that we can set a time to have the wire adjusted and put back into place.

Salt is used for warm salt-water rinses, which help heal sore gums and tissues in the mouth.

Non-prescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help with the temporary discomfort that sometimes occurs for the first day or two after an orthodontic adjustment.

Topical Anesthetic Treatments, such as Orabase or Ora-Gel, can be applied with with a Q-tip to any abrasions or sores in the mouth should they occur.

Do

  • Use your fingers to put your aligners place. First place the aligners over your front teeth, and then use your fingers to push the aligner down gently over your molars. When aligners are correctly inserted, they will fit all the way down on the teeth, with no space between the top of the aligners and the top of the teeth. Aligners will fit tightly at first but should fit well at the end of the two week period.
  • Keep aligners in except when flossing, brushing, eating. It’s also best to remove the aligners when drinking warm beverages such as coffee or tea.
  • Remove the aligner by pulling it off both sides of your back teeth simultaneously then lifting it off of your front teeth.
  • Place your aligners in the case we provided any time they are not being worn.
  • Clean aligners with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Wear each set of aligners for two weeks unless our office directs you to vary from this schedule.
  • Wear aligners in the correct numerical order. (Each aligner is labeled by number and with a U or an L to designate upper or lower.)
  • Keep all of your old aligners and bring them to your orthodontic appointments.

Don’t

  • Don’t place your aligners in or on a napkin or tissue. Many aligners have accidentally been thrown out this way!
  • Don’t use your teeth to “bite” your aligners into place.
  • If you have pets, don’t place your aligners anywhere that your pets can reach them. Pets are attracted to saliva and would enjoy chewing on your Invisalign trays!
  • Do not use Denture cleaner, alcohol, or bleach to clean your aligners.
  • Do not use boiling water or warm water on your aligners.
  • Don’t chew gum with your aligners in.
  • It would be best not to smoke while wearing aligners. The smoke can stain the aligners as well as your teeth.

Just in Case
If you lose the tab attached to your tooth that helps the aligner snap on, please call our office right away so that we can determine if you need to come in before your next scheduled appointment.
If you lose one of your aligner trays, please wear the next tray if you have it. If you do not have the next tray, please wear the previous tray. It is extremely important to use a tray to keep teeth from shifting. Call our office to let us know which tray was lost so that we can determine if a replacement tray is needed. There will be a fee if replacement trays are required.

Orthodontic Emergencies

If you experience a breakage or loosening of any of your appliances please call our office as soon as possible. Please do not come directly to the office. By calling us first we will be able to schedule a time to see you. If you have a scheduled appointment already, please call to let us know that you need something repaired so that we may add additional time to your appointment if needed.

If you need assistance after hours, please call our office phone line and leave a message on our emergency service so that we may contact you. Please be sure to leave your name, phone number with area code, and a brief message.

Click on the topics below for solutions to some common non-emergency problems:

Non-prescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help with the temporary discomfort that sometimes occurs for the first day or two after an orthodontic adjustment.  A diet of soft foods for a day or two can also be helpful.

There are two types of ligatures that may be used to attach the arch wire to the brackets. They may be tiny rubber bands or small, thin wires.

If a rubber band ligature comes off, it may be possible to put it back in place using clean tweezers.

If a wire ligature comes off, it can be removed with clean tweezers. If it is poking the mouth but is not loose, it may be possible to bend it back down away from the tissues with a Q-tip or clean pencil eraser. Let our office know about the problem so that we can decide if we need to see you before your next scheduled appointment.

Non-medicated orthodontic relief wax can be placed over brackets or wires that may be irritating the mouth.
Dental floss, an interproximal brush, or a toothpick can be used for removing food that gets caught between teeth or wires. Sometimes tying a knot in the dental floss before threading it through the brackets can help to catch and remove the food.

If a wire is out of place and poking the cheek, use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire against the tooth. If this is not possible, or if the wire is still uncomfortable, place wax over the end of the wire and call our office to set up a time to have the wire adjusted and put back into place.

Rinsing with warm salt-water several times a day can help to heal sores in the mouth. To lessen discomfort, topical anesthetic treatments, such as Orabase or Ora-Gel, can be applied with with a Q-tip to any abrasions or sores in the mouth.
For minor sores in the mouth, Peroxyl, an antiseptic rinse containing hydrogen peroxide, can be used to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Use Peroxyl up to 4 times per day after brushing. Refer to the product label for specific instructions.