Care of Your Braces and Orthodontic Appliances

Flower Mound, TX Orthodontic Appliances Care

Avoid

  • Carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices. Leads to tooth decay and discoloration (white spots)
  • Chewy foods: Bagels, hard rolls, licorice, fruit roll ups
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips, pretzels, nuts
  • Sticky foods: caramel, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy, jolly ranchers
  • Chewing on hard things:  pens, pencils, fingernails may damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause increase treatment time delaying removal of the braces.
  • Foods you have to bite in to: corn on the cob, apples, carrots, pizza, sandwiches.  These foods should be cut up into small pieces before eating.
What to Eat? – As a rule, eat soft foods over hard, sticky foods. Take small bites instead of large ones. Chew your food slowly and swallow it before taking your next bite. Always brush your teeth after each meal.  Avoid snacking between meals. Drink water instead of soft drinks and juices.
Brushing – It is more important than ever to brush and floss regularly so the teeth and gums remain healthy after orthodontic treatment. The brackets and wires on your teeth make it harder for you to clean them.  Trapped food particles and plaque are a breeding ground for cavity causing bacteria.  It is very important to get the food particles out of your mouth, after each meal, because they can stain tooth enamel. Our office recommends purchasing electric toothbrush through our office or another brand to assist our orthodontic patients. A fluoride rinse used before bedtime is recommended. Also, we recommend professional teeth cleanings every four months instead of the customary six month period.
Initial Soreness – After the initial placement of braces or following an adjustment, the teeth may be tender for a couple of days. This occasionally happens and will pass. An over the counter pain reliever such as Advil or Tylenol may be helpful in alleviating this initial soreness. You may put wax on the braces or any sharp areas to lessen this discomfort. Call or ask us to show you how!
Mild Tooth Mobility – Occasionally one may notice mild tooth mobility. This is normal and makes sense when one realizes that as a tooth moves the bone around it becomes softer. After the tooth has moved to its correct position the bone around it recalcifies and becomes hard again.
During Treatment, if a bracket or wire becomes loose, please call the office 972-355-8568 as soon as possible so it can be cemented or replaced.

Elastics

Elastics are essentially rubber bands that are attached to brackets, usually between the upper and lower or front and back teeth, applying tension and causing teeth to move. Elastics can be used in many ways depending upon the treatment goals.

  • Elastics move the teeth in a direction they could not be moved using braces alone. Your teeth and jaws may be tender during the first few days elastics are worn. This is normal, and the tenderness should begin to disappear within a week. If it persists longer, please call our office. Rinsing with hot salt water will help reduce the tenderness.
  • Your elastics may be difficult to put on at first, but this will become easier with practice. You may remove them only when eating or brushing your teeth. Leave them in during snacking. Be sure to replace the elastics with new ones immediately after meals and brushing. Part-time wear does NOT move teeth, but it does cause prolonged discomfort.
  • Change the elastics routinely even if they are not broken. After a while, elastics lose their strength. Change them after each meal and before bedtime. If one elastic breaks, replace both sides.
  • Carry extra elastics with you at all times. If you don’t have enough to last until your next appointment, please stop by our office and pick more up or call us and we can send more to you. We don’t want you to run out.
  • Before you leave the office, be absolutely sure you understand exactly where to hook the elastics. Hooking them on incorrectly can be worse than not wearing them at all, as your teeth might move in the opposite direction. If you ever have any questions on how to wear your elastics, please do not hesitate to ask.

Removable Appliances

Wear your removable appliances and/or elastics faithfully, as directed by the staff and orthodontist. Your estimated treatment time is based on full cooperation with wearing appliances and elastics (rubber bands) as directed.

  • A removable appliance is carefully designed to move or hold your teeth in place. It should be worn according to instructions and brought to each appointment. Wear your appliance at all times, even while you are asleep. It may be removed while swimming or engaging in vigorous sporting activities. In two to three days, your speech will return to normal with the appliance in place. Avoid flipping your appliance with your tongue. This can cause damage to your teeth or breakage of your appliance.
  • Your new appliance may make your teeth sore for a day or two, especially after an adjustment. If you have a sore spot on your gums, call our office so we can arrange to adjust the appliance. Clean your appliance by brushing it daily with toothpaste. Denture cleaner can also be used for a more thorough cleaning. Never wrap your appliance in a paper napkin or tissue and set it down on the table. You or someone else may throw it away. Don’t put it in your pocket when playing, or you may break or lose it. Whenever it is not in your mouth, it should be in its plastic appliance case.
  • Keep your appliance away from dogs or cats, as they love to chew on them. Avoid storing it near any source of heat. Do not boil your retainer to sterilize it! If needed, bring it to the office, and we will be happy to disinfect it for you. Do not soak your retainer in mouthwash. An additional charge will be incurred for lost or broken appliances. Please bring your retainers to all appointments.
  • Please do not eat any foods that could damage your appliances and delay your treatment. Wear a mouth guard for any activities that might injure your teeth, gums, or cheeks. Repairing broken braces requires longer appointments during school hours.