After Getting Your Braces
Caring for you Braces
One of the most common fears about orthodontics is that the braces may cause decay. Your full bands, or bonded brackets, cover and protect that portion of your teeth as long as they are firmly attached. The bands or bonded brackets may make you teeth harder to clean. If you fail to get the teeth clean and fail to exercise the gums, the gums will swell and made them more difficult to clean. Food that usually slides across the teeth and gums during chewing are held back and are prevented from doing there job of helping clean the teeth and exercise the gums. If the patient’s oral hygiene is not up to our present standards, the patient will require to see the hygienist for more frequent cleaning appointments and
they may not be covered by your dental insurance.
There is NO BIGGER DISAPPOINTMENT THAN… having your braces removed and discovering your mouth full of cavities!
CONTINUED NEGLECT OF THE TEETH WILL RESULT IN DECAY!!!
Caring for your braces is pretty easy if you follow a few guidelines. So… When and How should you clean your teeth during orthodontic treatment?
Within five minutes after eating. Easy to say, but sometimes hard to do. When you are away from home; we suggest that you carry a travel type toothbrush with you. An electric toothbrush is a very helpful tool in cleaning teeth and stimulating the gum, but you still have to spend the extra time going over each tooth in the same manner as described below.
The first thing to consider when cleaning your teeth is that there are three surfaces of each tooth that need to be brushed.
These surfaces are:
– The Outside
– The Inside
– The chewing Side
When brushing the outside of your teeth you should try to make a 45 degree angle toward the gum line between the head of the brush and the tooth itself. It is especially important to make sure the area between the brace and the gum stay clean.
When brushing the inside surfaces of your teeth try to maintain a 45 degree angle towards the gum line as you did with the outside surfaces. Again, focus on just a few teeth at a time and make sure they are clean before moving on.
The Chewing Side
Cleaning the chewing side of the teeth should be straight forward. Remember to focus on a few teeth at a time prior to moving on to the next ones.
Flossing with braces takes a few minutes to master, but the effort is well worth it. The best type of floss to use with braces is called Superfloss. The people at Oral –B make it and it can be found in the dental isle of most supermarkets and drug stores. The nice thing about Superfloss is that one end is stiff so threading it under the braces is easy. The other end is fuzzy and really helps to get around all surfaces of the braces. The first step to flossing is getting the floss under the wire that connects the braces together. Once the floss is under the arch wire it can be wrapped around the tooth on one side. The floss is then pushed up toward the gum line and then pulled down toward the wire. This should be repeated four or five times to ensure all plaque is removed. Be careful not to put to much pressure on the wires as you pull down. Then wrap the floss around the neighboring tooth. Once both teeth are done, the floss is pulled out and the process is repeated for the next teeth.
Foods to Avoid:
When the doctor puts on your braces he uses an adhesive that is ftrong enough to keep them on, but weak enough to be removed easily when your teeth are straight. Because the brackets are not indestructible there are foods that need to be avoided. Hard food may do damage by breaking the braces off of your teeth and bending the wires that are carefully designed to straighten your bite. Sticky foods may loosen you bands or get caught in the braces. Foods to avoid include:
– Ice (even if you are careful)
– Taffy and caramels
– Jolly Rancher and other hard candies
– Gum of any kind
– Hard chips like Doritos, Tacos, Tostitos, Cheetos, Fritos
– Carrots, apples and pears, ect, should be cut up into small pieces
– Stay away from the bottom of the popcorn bag – the hard kernel are bad news
– Meat should not be chewed off the bone, it should be cut off
– Corn on the cob should be cut off
– Pizza crusts, bagels and French bread should be broken into bite size pieces.
– Pens, pencils and fingernails should not be bit down on as they will also damage the braces
– Nuts, beef jerky, slim jims, chicken wings
– Please try to limit your sugar intake while wearing braces. It feeds the bacteria and will leave unsightly marks on your new smile.
If you have a favorite food and your not sure if you can have it please ask us at you next appointment.
Well, believe it or not, there are a lot of GOOD FOODS that won’t hurt your braces:
– Mac n cheese
– Sing rolls
– Apple sauce
– Bean burritos
– Chicken fingers
– French fries
– Soft tacos
– Hot dogs
– Mashed potato
– Grilled cheese
– Ice cream
– Cottage cheese
– Sun flower seeds
This is not a complete list of foods that you may have, but just some examples of the types of foods (as you will see there is nothing hard and sticky on this list).
When patients take care of there braces things progress very nicely for them. Many times our most conscientious patient finishes their treatment ahead of schedule.
Please call our office if you have any questions or concerns.