CONGRATULATIONS! You are the proud owner of a shiny set of fixed orthodontic appliances – BRACES!! These “tooth straighteners” will be on your teeth for many months, so you’ll want to know all about them.
One of the most important things that you can do is to keep your teeth and braces really clean. Your teeth will move faster when they’re clean and they’ll stay white and fresh smelling. Also, you’ll have healthy gums, your teeth won’t get cavities and, of course, they’ll look much nicer! What a deal! The only catch is that, with braces, you’ll have to work a lot harder to keep your teeth clean. One of our orthodontic assistants will show you how to brush with braces and give you a special oral hygiene kit to use at home. Never forget the importance of proper brushing. We will be checking at each visit and letting you know how well you do. Try to have your teeth clean when you come to the office: if this isn’t possible let us know and we’ll let you brush as soon as you arrive.
Eating may be a bit awkward at first, but you will soon adapt to this. It is very important to eat softer foods, which won’t harm your delicate braces. Avoid hard foods (raw carrots, nuts, ice cubes, hard candy, popcorn kernels, etc...) and sticky foods (gum, caramels, sticky candy, etc.…) These types of foods can easily break or damage your braces and cause you to keep them on longer than originally planned. So, be careful!
Some soreness of the teeth can be expected at certain times during orthodontic treatment. This usually occurs after the braces are initially placed and occasionally after adjustment visits. This soreness may last a few hours or so, everybody is different.
Your cheeks and lips may also become sore or irritated because they are not used to the braces. You will be given soft wax to be placed over the bands and brackets at night; this will act as a cushion for the lips and cheeks and allow them to adapt more quickly. We recommend using this wax for a full week every night while sleeping. After a week, use it only as necessary during the night and /or day. (Secret: If you dry off the band or bracket first with a tissue, it will stick much better to the metal). Also, quite helpful is the use of a warm salt-water rinse twice daily for the first week. (Use ¼ teaspoon of salt in 1/2 cup of warm water).
Occasionally you may find that a wire will shift and cause irritation to your lips or cheeks. It is important to look closely at the area and determine the cause of the problem. Often you can simply bend the wire out of the way with the end of your toothbrush or a similar blunt instrument. If this is not possible, place wax or sugar free gum over the sharp area and call the office.
There is usually little to no change in speech.
You may notice that your teeth are hitting on the braces. This is a common occurrence that will go away as your teeth align.
Normally you will be seen about once every 3 to 5 weeks, but this can range from 1 to 8 weeks. All your appointments are important and it is essential that patients arrive on time so that we can accomplish all that is planned for each visit. This will also keep your treatment progressing on schedule.
We would like you to check your braces each day to see if any are loose or broken. This can happen occasionally and we want to know about it. If you notice a “brace” that is loose or broken, please call the office right away so we can schedule adequate time for repairs.
We take pride in the fact that the braces we use are the best that modern technology has to offer. When patients take care of them as we suggest and follow our treatment recommendations, the results have been excellent. Our best wishes to you as you begin an exciting journey towards a super smile! Also, remember that we are here for you. If you or a family member have any questions along the way, just ask!