To make sure you get the best results from your orthodontic treatment, here are some suggestions.
Adjusting What You Eat
To avoid damaging your braces and appliances, try to eat softer foods and take smaller bites than normal. Biting into anything hard or sticky can break your braces, and that will slow your progress. Never use your teeth to rip or tear food, or to open packages.
And remember, such habits as chewing ice, biting fingernails or chewing on pens and pencils can also break your braces and damage your appliances.
Reducing Orthodontic Discomfort
Some patients experience soreness after appointments. If you’re feeling discomfort, you might:
- Take normal doses of Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) and Tylenol, which are the most effective medications for treating discomfort associated with tooth movement.
- Try soft foods, smoothies or milkshakes until you feel better.
- Avoid hot foods and drinks. Cold food and drinks can be very soothing.
Brushing and Flossing
Because braces can trap food and plaque, it’s especially important that you brush and floss carefully throughout your orthodontic treatment.
Brush at least 3 minutes a minimum of twice a day, using a timer as a guide. Follow these steps for proper brushing:
- Brush the front (face) of the braces using a scrubbing motion.
- Angle the brush 45 degrees to get under the ledges at the top and bottom of the braces.
- Angle the brush upward and bush your gum line in a gentle, circular motion (not scrubbing).
- To clean the teeth alongside of the braces and under the wires, direct the bristles under the wire and away from the gums. (You can use your proxy brush for this step.)
- Brush the chewing surfaces, the inside surfaces of your teeth, and behind your molars.
Flossing at least once a day is essential, even though braces make it challenging.
Threader floss, orthodontic floss picks (available on Amazon), and floss threaders can make the task easier. Insert your floss under the wire and between the teeth. Then guide it up and down along the side of each tooth reaching gently under the gum.
Taking Care of Minor Irritations
You’re always encouraged to call our office if your braces have broken or are causing you pain. But, you might be able to fix some problems on your own without coming into the office.
- If a wire is poking out in the back, you might be able to use tweezers to grab hold of the wire and shift it forward. You can also use the end of a clean pencil eraser to push the wire from behind, back into the bracket.
- Place a little piece of wax or silicone over any part of the brace or wire that is irritating your mouth, until the problem is resolved.
- Rinse with warm salt water or use Orabase to sooth irritated tissue.
If Something Breaks…
Do your best to avoid damage to your appliances, because damage to them may interfere with your progress and lengthen treatment.
- If something is loose or broken, please call the office at 661-222-3000 to schedule an appointment to fix or remove it.
- If you are in pain, we suggest you come in right away, so we can make you comfortable. If the office is closed, our voicemail will provide you with phone numbers of the doctor and the assistants. They are available to respond to your calls between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily. Please do not call us at home between after 9 p.m. or before 7 a.m.
Caring For Your Retainers or Aligners
- Please wear your retainers full time until you are instructed to do otherwise.
- Remove your retainers for eating or drinking. (You may keep them in while drinking water).
- Keep your retainers in their case when they are not in your mouth. (Pets love to chew them up, so don‘t leave them sitting around.)
- Never put them in a napkin or tissue. (Many retainers have been thrown away because of this!)
- Push your retainers in place with your fingers. Biting them into place, or biting on them period, will break them.
- Do not flip retainers in and out with your tongue. Doing so repeatedly will also break them.
- Clean them at least once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Keep them away from heat: heat can warp them and cause them not to fit. Don’t run them under hot water or leave them in a hot car.
- To clean a grungy retainer, soak it in one of the following solutions:
- Retainer Brite
- Vinegar and water
- Hydrogen peroxide and water
- Denture cleaner