Brushing and Flossing
The most import aspect of patient cooperation throughout orthodontic treatment is the maintenance of excellent oral hygiene. Patients who do not maintain adequate hygiene are often faced with unsightly marks on their teeth when braces are removed. In actuality the marks are the start of decay (cavities) that occur around the base of the braces. Enlarged, red and bleeding gum tissue is the strongest indicator that adequate hygiene is not being maintained. Patients will be provided with supplies needed to achieve the necessary level of cleanliness. Ultimately it is still the patients responsibility to put those supplies to use and to use them properly. We will present a thorough review of what is expected and how to achieve the proper hygiene when braces are present.
Foods to Avoid
Patients will find that eating with braces gets easier with time. When you first get your braces on you will have some soreness that will keep you from eating most of the foods you should avoid. Over time you will be tempted to eat the foods you always have. Unfortunately a number of foods can result in loose brackets and damaged appliances. The need to constantly repair damaged appliances with typically lead to a longer treatment time. As a result, we recommend avoiding foods such as those listed below
- Sticky chewy foods such as caramels, taffy and similar candy
- Hard foods such as nuts, ice and jerky
- Crunchy foods like raw vegetables, hard rolls and thick chips
- You will want to cut up apples and remove corn from the cob
- Avoid popcorn to prevent the shells from getting trapped in your gum tissues.
- Acidic foods like lemons, sour candy and soda should be avoided to reduce risk of cavities
- You will also want to avoid chewing on hard non-edible items like pens and pencils.
Loose Braces and Poking Wires
If one of your braces comes loose or you have wires that are poking, you should contact the office so we can direct you on resolving the issue. These issues can arise for any number of reasons and you should not be alarmed. Loose braces will require a visit to the office within a couple of days to fix. A poking wire may be resolved with the use of wax that you are given to cover areas that are rough or irritating. If poking wires are persistent, a visit to the office may be necessary to adjust or trim it.
Patients often state that they feel soreness in their teeth from a couple of days up to a week after braces are placed. Movement of teeth occurs due to pressure which will cause some discomfort regardless of the style of braces you have. To relieve discomfort patients typically take Tylenol, Ibuprofen or similar pain medication. Your lips and cheeks may also experience sore spots due to the braces rubbing. This is typically resolved through the use of wax that can cover the sharp areas. Over time your cheeks and lips will grow accustomed to the braces.
Teeth That Feel Loose
Some patients note that they feel like their teeth are loose during orthodontic treatment. This is normal. The process of moving a tooth requires the bone that supports your tooth to reshape and during that time there will be some mobility. Once teeth are in the new position we hold them there to allow that bone to get stronger before removing braces. Retainers are also used to support the new position when braces are removed
Rubber Band Wear
Rubber bands are used to create forces on your teeth that braces alone cannot achieve. Without the use of rubber bands we are often unable to correct a poor bite relationship. Braces align crooked teeth but the rubber bands fix how the bite fits together. It is vital to wear the rubber bands as recommended by Dr. Olm. If you elect to not wear them as instructed, your treatment time will be extended or complete correction of you bite relationship may not be possible.
It is important whether in braces or not to protect your teeth when participating in sports. A mouth guard is recommended for all contact sports. This includes, but is not limited to, sports such as football, hockey, basketball, soccer, and baseball and/or softball. The boil and bite mouth guards work well during treatment. As your move during treatment, you may be able to reshape the mouth guard to maintain its fit and comfort.