Caring for your braces
The mouth contains millions of bacteria that form plaque on the teeth. This in turn causes tooth decay, bad breath and gum disease. Therefore, it is very important to brush your teeth twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, and after any meal or snack.
Removable braces can be taken out for brushing and should be cleaned with a normal toothbrush and toothpaste - taking care not to bend any of the wires. When a fixed brace has been fitted you can buy a 'care pack' from our receptionist. This contains special toothbrushes, disclosing tablets, fluoride mouthwash and soft wax to mould over your brace if it is rubbing.
The first few weeks after your braces have been fitted is the time you are most likely to experience some issues. This is perfectly normal as it can take a bit of getting used to wearing an orthodontic appliance.
You may experience some discomfort during this time caused by loose brackets, wires snapping or disengaging, or the wire being too long at the end of the bracket. These problems may be a result of any number of issues, such as:
- Inappropriate food, i.e. hard/crunchy/sticky foods
- Too much food in your mouth (overloading)
- Habits such as chewing pens and nail biting
- Deep or strong biting – an upper tooth may be biting too much on a particular lower bracket or lower wire
- Grinding at night
- Cement or bonding problems
- Complex force systems – where a force applied to a certain tooth results in the bracket-cement seal breaking or the wire snapping
- Deliberate damage
How to deal with discomfort
If you have:
- Loose bracket – cover with wax if it is causing discomfort
- Long wire – cover with wax if it is causing discomfort, or try to cut it with scissors or nail clippers
- Snapped wire – pull the two pieces out (only possible if the wires are thin)
- Wire slipped out of the end of the bracket – try to push it back into the tube or cover it with relief wax if it causes discomfort. Ideally, the initial wire should be engaged in the end bracket, but if it comes out too easily it is best to wait until the next thicker wire size can be fitted.
Discomfort at the start of treatment very rarely increases the total treatment time. However, breakages during the later stages of treatment might result in increased treatment times if we have to revert to thinner wires. If you experience severe discomfort that you cannot repair please call us on 01279 758210 to book a appointment if necessary.
Don’t ignore your dentist just because you’re visiting an orthodontist regularly. It is still important to visit your dentist for a check-up and cleaning. You should go at least twice a year, or as often as your dentist and orthodontist recommend.
Breakages slow down the speed of treatment and your treatment may not progress as planned. Should you detect any problem with your braces, please contact us as soon as possible to enable us to rectify any problems.
If you keep to a sensible diet and brush your teeth thoroughly you will have beautiful teeth and healthy gums when your braces are removed and a smile to be proud of!
Just to recap, if you have been fitted with an orthodontic appliance, to get the most out of your treatment you need to look after it. This includes:
- Carefully brushing and flossing after every meal
- Using a fluoride mouthwash every day
- Avoiding sticky or hard food stuffs that may damage your braces
- Avoiding sugary food
- Avoiding fizzy drinks, even diet ones
- Taking smaller mouthfuls
- Visiting both your orthodontist and your dentist throughout your treatment.