During and After Treatment
Caring for your Braces
Prior to starting orthodontic treatment, it is necessary for you to have had an examination and cleaning with your family dentist within the past 6 months. Your family dentist must ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy.
While wearing braces, you must have regular exams and cleanings with your dentist. This should be done at least once every six months, sometimes more frequent cleaning may be necessary. The dentist will be able to monitor you for cavities and do thorough cleaning of your teeth.
Major appointments placing or removing braces are longer and need to be scheduled in the morning or early afternoon. The regular adjustment appointments are generally shorter and there is greater flexibility in scheduling them. We will make every effort to accommodate all patient’s schedules; however, at times, visits may be necessary during school or work hours. Once you are in active treatment, your usual office visits will vary from 4-10 week intervals.
We appreciate the courtesy of at least 24 hours notice if an appointments change is necessary. If you have any breakages of appliances, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can schedule an adequate amount of time to take care of you.
One of the common fears about orthodontics is that the braces may cause decay or permanent scarring/staining of the teeth. Your appliances will cover and protect that portion of your teeth as long as they are in place. The orthodontic appliances make your teeth harder to clean since they stand out from the outside of the teeth and thus make it harder for your toothbrush to clean the spaces between your gums and the attachments. If you fail to get the teeth clean and to exercise your gums, then the gums swell and make it even more difficult to clean. Continued neglect of these areas will result in decay.
Within 5 minutes after eating. When you are away from home, carry a travel type toothbrush – leave a toothbrush at school or work.
First, move the brush back and forth across and between the wires and gums in the upper and lower arches to loosen the food particles. This is the most important yet missed area to keep clean. Next, brush the following as if you had no braces on. Start on the outside of the uppers with bristles at 45 degree angle toward the gum. Scrub with a circular motion, 2-3 teeth at a time, using 10 strokes then move on. Repeat on the inner surfaces of the uppers. Scrub the chewing surfaces last. Start on the outside of the lower teeth and repeat. Use floss at least once a day. Adjunctive aids such as a proxybrush may be useful. Rinse your mouth and toothbrush. Check to see if you have missed any places. If not, you need to spend more time brushing and/or change the way you are brushing.
It is much harder to brush with braces. You need to spend more time. Start a good habit and keep your teeth and gums in good shape. Plaque or food left on your teeth and braces will look awfully bad to your friends- give them a break! We want you to have a beautiful smile and clean, sweet breath!!
During orthodontic treatment, it is important to maintain healthy teeth and gums by eating a well balanced diet. Eating foods from all four groups in Canada’s Food Guide will provide the necessary nutrients for growth and maintenance of a healthy mouth.
You must be careful about the types of foods you eat and about the manner in which you eat them. Hard and sticky foods, such as caramels, do a great deal of damage to the appliances. Hard foods may do damage by bending wires, loosening cement under the bands, or breaking the little brackets and tubes on the bands, or your teeth. Brackets and bands do not fall off – they become dislodged and loosened by lack of attention to detail. Loose appliances may permanently mark the teeth if not taken care of. Broken appliances may also lead to incorrect tooth movement and could lengthen treatment time. Report these to the office as soon as possible.
Minimize foods high in sugar content. Try to eat only at the end of a meal and brush your teeth immediately. If not convenient to brush, always rinse your mouth with water after eating very sweet foods like cake or pie.
A careful patient can probably eat most foods. However, to be safe, ask us if you are in doubt about eating them. So when in doubt remember, NOTHING HARD, NOTHING STICKY, NOTHING VERY SWEET!
Avoid Excessive Appliance Breakage:
- Do not eat meat off the bone, cut it from the bone
- Cut the corn from the cob
- Cut fruits and veggies into small wedges – avoid biting into whole fruits and vegetables
- Hard rolls and buns must be broken up before eating – leave the outer rim of pizza
- Pits should be removed first from such fruits as peaches and plums
- Don’t eat: Popcorn, nuts, peanut brittle, ice, hard candy, lemons, corn-on-the cob, sticky foods (eg. chewing gum, caramel, taffy, liquorice, jelly beans, jube-jubes, turkish delight)
- Avoid biting onto hard objects such as pencils, pens, etc. – this is the single most damaging habit.
- Avoid putting fingers into the mouth for either nail biting or playing with appliances.
- You should be wearing a mouthguard for physical sports.
Frequently, we use removable elastics with the Damon braces to aid in bite correction. Following the prescribed schedule of elastic wear is necessary to achieve the best possible treatment result.
Usually elastics are worn full time except during strenuous sports, brushing and eating. Wearing your elastics means reduced treatment time in braces.
Successful treatment (straight healthy teeth) depends a lot on your cooperation. This means good cleaning of teeth, healthy and careful diet, avoidance of excessive appliance breakage, reporting of breakages as soon as possible and wearing appliances as instructed. If appliance breakages are excessive, a fee may be charged. If appliances are lost or broken, a replacement or repair charge is required.
Towards the end of active treatment, retainers are placed keep that beautiful smile in place.
Retention is the final and most important stage of orthodontic treatment. You are responsible to wear your retainers as instructed. See attached sheet on removable and bonded retainer instructions and care.
Typically we give patients two bonded retainers. These bonded/fixed retainers are fixed to the upper and lower front teeth. Bonded retainers do not have an unlimited lifetime guarantee. There may be breakages to the wire or to the resin holding the wire to the teeth. There may be a fee for the repair. Typically, any repairs are complimentary within two years of removing your braces. We will follow you over a period of 2 years after removing your braces.
Within your orthodontic fee, we include one set of retainers. A set includes two bonded retainers and a removable retainer. If you loose or break your retainers, a fee will be charged for replacement.