Caring for your braces
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 careful brushing and flossing after every meal, avoiding food that may damage your braces and visiting both your orthodontist and your dentist throughout your treatment.
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 braces. 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 01245 46 3000 to book a comfort appointment if necessary.
** Breakage and comfort appointments out of hours are charged at £195 per appointment.
Eating with fixed braces
While you are wearing braces, you need to think twice about eating foods that could increase your risk of cavities. You should also avoid anything that might damage your brackets or wires as frequent breakages will add to your overall treatment time.
Stay away from hard and sticky foods. Caramel, hard sweets and gum etc. can damage your braces and get stuck in the wires and brackets. Cut down on all sugary foods. You can still have a limited amount of sweets and fizzy drinks, but the more sugar you consume, the greater your risk of tooth decay.
Always brush after eating sugary foods or sweets.
Looking after your teeth
People having orthodontic treatment need to be even more dedicated to keeping their teeth clean. This is because food can get trapped in braces very easily, which causes plaque to build up. If plaque is not removed, you run the risk of developing gum disease, dental decay and bad breath. Furthermore, patients with poor oral hygiene tend to find their treatment can take longer.
Top tips for good oral hygiene
1. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush as they are best for getting into those nooks and crannies around your appliances.
2. Use a toothbrush specifically designed for brace wearers with longer bristles on the edges and shorter ones in the middle.
3. Consider an electric toothbrush – studies suggest they remove more plaque and bacteria than manual toothbrushes.
4. Brush after every meal.
5. Make use of interdental brushes and single-tuft brushes to ensure you have removed as much plaque and bacteria as possible.
6. Floss at least once a day. It might seem like you can’t possibly floss while you have fixed braces, but you can and you should. Specialist products such as Superfloss and Tepee brushes are available.
7. Use a fluoride toothpaste.
8. Use a fluoride mouthwash to protect and strengthen teeth.
9. If you have lingual braces, make use of a waterpik®, which shoots small streams of water onto your teeth at high pressure to remove debris. They can be used as an aid in your oral hygiene routine, but not in place of brushing and flossing.
10. Regardless of treatment, disclosing tablets are useful for ensuring you are brushing everywhere. The tablets use vegetable dye to highlight plaque or debris in your mouth. Once you see the spots, you can quickly remove them with your toothbrush.
When you take up treatment with Pure Orthodontics, you will be provided with a starter pack that includes all the essential items to ensure good oral hygiene throughout your treatment. Replacement products can be purchased online or at the practice.