Braces are complex and delicate, and requires a good deal of care if it is to work properly. To prevent damage to it you must avoid hard sticky foods, especially chewing gum. All foods must be cut into small pieces and chewed gently on the back teeth. You must not bite into foods, but cut them up or tear them before eating. Avoid sweet sugary foods, especially in between meals and last thing at night, as these will increase the build up of plaque and debris on the teeth and brace.
Brushing is made more difficult with fixed appliances. A small headed toothbrush and a single tuft brush are essential for cleaning around the brace, and preventing gum disease or decay on the front surfaces of the teeth around the brackets. To protect your teeth while you are wearing a brace, you are advised to use a daily fluoride mouth rinse or gel. Poor oral hygiene during treatment will cause permanent damage to your teeth. If oral hygiene is persistently poor we may discontinue treatment.
If you take part on sporting activities it is advisable to purchase a mouth guard. We sell mouth guards which are specially designed to be worn during orthodontic treatment.
You need to check morning and night that all brackets, bands, elastics and wires are undamaged and still firmly attached. You can check brackets and bands with gentle finger pressure making sure there is no movement of either. The wire and elastics should be checked to make sure they are attached and intact.
If a wire or bracket comes loose (even if it is still attached to the rest of the brace) it is important that you contact us immediately, even if you have an appointment the same day so we can extend your appointment time – explain the problem to the receptionist so we can arrange for the brace to be repaired before any harm is done. Please do not wait until your next appointment. Discomfort is common for 2-3 days after each visit. You may need to take painkillers over this period. We have wax available to cover any sharp parts of the brace, and gels to soothe any areas of the mouth. If problems persist then please contact the surgery.
You may be given some elastics to wear at some stage during your treatment. Make sure you know how these should be worn and always check you have enough to last between visits. Wearing these elastics is an essential part of treatment and they should be worn as instructed.
After your teeth are straight, the fixed brace will be removed. The teeth then need to be kept in position with a removable retaining brace, whilst the gums and bone around the teeth reorganise. When your retainers are fitted we will advise you how long you need to wear them for. If they are not worn as prescribed the teeth may return to their original position.
Average treatment time is 18-24 months. Continual damage to the brace will considerably lengthen this and will compromise the finished result. So if you want a quick, good result, look after your braces.
Cleaning the Brace
With braces on, your teeth are more difficult to clean. Do not leave food on your braces. Brushing your teeth properly after every snack and meal will reduce the risk of decay and gum disease. In addition, four minutes of brushing is needed every morning and night. Have your toothbrush available to brush after meals as well as at your orthodontic visits. You can use disclosing solution to check if your teeth are clean. You will need to replace your toothbrush more often as it will wear out faster.
Interdental brushes are invaluable for keeping the brace clean. Your orthodontist will show you how to use these around the brace at the brace fitting appointment. Interdental brushes are available from Edgar buildings dental care and most supermarkets and chemists.
Eating and drinking
Eating hard food or biting on large pieces of food may dislodge the brackets or bands and damage the wires. Avoid eating nuts and biting on nails or pencils. Do cut hard fruits into small and thin pieces before eating them. Avoid food and drinks with high sugar content such as sweets and soft drinks.
If you are wearing elastics as part of your treatment, you will need to wear them as instructed. If you run out of elastics please telephone the practice and we can post some out to you.
Routine Dental Care
It is very important that you maintain your routine dental and hygiene appointments during your orthodontic treatment.
Patients are responsible for maintaining a good level of oral hygiene and care of their appliances during treatment, we will give comprehensive care and wear instructions when an appliance is fitted.
Poor oral hygiene during treatment will cause permanent damage to the teeth. If oral hygiene is persistently poor we may discontinue treatment.
If you experience problems between appointments please telephone the practice for advice or an extra appointment. Please telephone the practice on 01457 821800.