Why is it Important to Take Care of Your Braces
So now you have your braces. While they may be a little uncomfortable at first, you will get used to them and you can look forward to getting them off and having straight teeth and a beautiful smile! When your teeth are straight it will also help you have healthier teeth because they will be properly aligned and help you chew better. But while you have braces, you want to take good care of them and your teeth. Taking good care of braces can help prevent damage to your teeth and the braces themselves. Also, it can help make braces more comfortable to wear.
Be prepared that taking care of your teeth will be more difficult with braces. Braces have lots of tiny spaces that can trap food. The trapped food can lead to a build-up of plaque which can lead to cavities and other dental problems. So, we are going to give you some guidelines to help you protect your braces and teeth. We also have tips on how to make them more comfortable to wear.
The Anatomy of Braces
You need to avoid any foods that are hard or sticky. Such as:
Nuts Jerky Taffy
Caramels Licorice Peanut Butter
Candied Apples Any chewy candy Any hard and/or sticky foods
Don’t Bite Into:
- Hard Ice Cream
- Lolli Pops
- Raw apples & carrots * You can cut them up into pieces and chew them using your back teeth.
* Gum is okay as long as it is sugar-free and it helps relieve soreness. Don’t chew gum if it makes your mouth sore.
Since food can get trapped between your teeth and braces it is even more important that you floss at least once a day. It is even better if you can do it at least twice a day.
How to floss:
- Insert the floss behind the archwire, pointing away from your gums.
- Gently clean the sides of your teeth and under your gums with an up and down motion.
- Note: Waterpiks work just as well as flossing as long as you do it every day.
It is important to brush twice a day for at least two minutes, and if possible brush after every meal to remove loose food from under brackets and wires.
- Brush above and below the braces using a small circular motion.
- Brush up into the braces, on top of the braces, and down into the braces so you can feel the bristles of the brush go in.
- Remember to brush the biting surfaces and insides of your teeth.
- Take your time.
- If you can, brush your teeth after every meal you eat.
Problems and Solutions
If some part of your braces breaks or pokes you, follow the steps below to make it more comfortable and schedule an appointment to come in as soon as possible. A broken part of your braces can halt your teeth straightening progress or worse, reverse the progress. If your problem needs immediate attention and we are not in our office, you can reach one of our clinicians at 801-245-0453.
CALL YOUR DENTIST IMMEDIATELY WITH ANY ACCIDENTS INVOLVING YOUR TEETH.
LOOSE BAND OR BRACKET
If the bracket or band is still attached to the wire, leave it in place. Cover it with wax if it is uncomfortable. If it comes out, bring it with you to
your next appointment. Call and make an appointment. Do not connect headgear or elastics to a loose bracket or band.
LOST WIRE OR RUBBER TIE
Call to ask if an appointment is necessary. Notify the assistant at
your next appointment.
WIRE OUT OF TUBE
Try to place the wire back in the tube with a pair of tweezers. *Important note: Make sure the tweezers are sanitized before using them. If the wire is long on one side of the mouth, but outside the tube on the other side, try to slide the wire back to the other side. If the wire is poking you, place wax over it and call for an appointment.
POKING WIRE TIE
Bend the wire back with a sanitized spoon or pencil eraser. If this doesn’t solve the problem, call and make an appointment.
Cover the archwire with wax or wet cotton. Call, and make an appointment.
How to Make Your Braces More Comfortable
It is common to feel some discomfort when you first get your braces. Usually, the discomfort only lasts about four days to a week. You may also feel some discomfort after a wire adjustment. Here are some things you can do to get some comfort with your braces:
- Place wax over your braces, especially if you get any sores on your lips or cheeks from your braces.
- If you get canker sores, rinse with warm saltwater. Also avoid acidic foods such as lemons, oranges, pineapples, apples, figs, tomatoes, and strawberries.
There are no real “emergencies” in orthodontics but you are always welcome to contact us. If we are out of the office and you have a question that needs to be answered immediately, a clinician can be called at (801) 245-1453.
Sincerely, David McDonough