CLEANING WITH BRACES
When you are wearing braces, food and sugary liquids will persist in the mouth much longer than normal as food debris gets caught around the brackets and under the wires. This can promote rapid bacterial buildup on the teeth, which can result in gum disease and tooth decay. It is therefore essential to have excellent oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment.
Cleaning is always important, particularly during orthodontic treatment. Regular brushing with the correct technique will avoid the risks of permanent markings (demineralization), gum disease and tooth decay. We recommend brushing at least three times a day – immediately after each meal (as well as before your orthodontic appointment). It is also very important to continue six monthly checkups with your general dentist throughout orthodontic treatment.
If you have forgotten to brush your teeth before your orthodontic appointment, we have free toothbrushes individually wrapped and pre-coated with toothpaste for you to use in the tooth cleaning area.
WORKING PARTS OF MY BRACES
• Archwire – The wire that connects the teeth, acts like a track and guides the direction of the teeth.
• Bracket – Small metal or ceramic attachment that holds the archwire in place and is glued to the teeth.
• Elastics and Hooks – Small rubber bands that connect between the different parts of the braces. These help move the teeth into the correct position and are attached to the hooks.
• Molar Tube – The thin ring of metal around the back (molar) teeth usually with a hook to attach elastics. These are usually only required in a few patients.
• O-Ring – The role of the o-ring is to hold the archwire firmly into the slots on the brackets, they may be coloured or clear. Power Chain – Power chains are like o-rings but join several teeth together to apply extra force and close spaces.
FOODS TO AVOID
Braces are quite easily broken, as they are designed to be easily removed at the end of treatment without damaging the teeth. To keep the braces working at their best and keep your treatment progressing, you must take extra care to avoid breaking the brackets or bending the wires. Avoid chewing on hard things (for example, pencils, pens, and fingernails) as they can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer and persistent breakages may incur additional charges.
Chewy foods: Minties, toffees, bagels, hard rolls, liquorice sticky foods: caramels, gum
Hard foods: nuts, lollies
Crunchy foods: caramel popcorn, ice, chips
Tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables.
Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots. We’re not against healthy eating so if you want to eat crunchy carrots or apples – cut them up into small pieces first and pass them straight to the back teeth for chewing.
For the first few days after your braces are placed, your teeth may be a bit tender.
It is a good idea to stick to a soft diet (yoghurt, omelets, scrambled eggs, smoothies).
WHAT HAPPENS IF I BREAK MY BRACES?
Don’t be alarmed if a wire or bracket comes loose.
This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, push the irritating wire under the bracket where possible. Simply get it out of the way.
If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton over the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances.
HOW DO I KEEP MY RETAINERS CLEAN?
Rule number one; keep the retainers away from warm or hot water as they will distort.
Rule number two; keep the retainers in their container as dogs will chew them.
Before you brush your teeth, remove your retainers and rinse them with cold water. If plaque begins to build up in your retainers, brush them gently with a toothbrush (avoid toothpaste; it tends to scratch your retainers, making them cloudy). Retainers can be soaked in a denture cleaner (e.g. Polident) at least once a week.