Braces do one thing well – they straighten out and reposition crooked teeth. That is the only reason we use them. There are over 100 different designs and even more companies that sell them. Some designs work better than others, with less problems and issues. Other designs are focused on the colours or absence of colours, some even are clear or ceramic (tooth-coloured). Most clinicians will offer braces that are metallic, some will offer an option of going to a cosmetic ceramic design (for an added cost). Not us! Keep reading…
The most important thing is that we work in a team (orthodontist, staff and you) to get the very best results we can achieve. Our preference is always to not remove any teeth unnecessarily. Importantly, we request that you maintain an excellent level of brushing and oral hygiene. We also ask you to care for the appliances, and to wear any rubber bands or other appliances as per the orthodontist’s instructions.
Having braces makes for a plaque and food trap. Food and other bits can easily get stuck between you teeth and around the braces. Therefore, it is more important than ever to brush and floss regularly. Proper oral hygiene will ensure that the teeth and gums are healthy during and after treatment, which means teeth move as fast as possible. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional clean. Adults who have a history of gum disease will need to see a periodontist (gum specialist) regularly during the course of orthodontic treatment. We will be keeping a close eye on the health of the gums and teeth during your treatment.
All the different bracket designs will do what they are meant to once an archwire (the wire going between the teeth or brackets) is inserted and activated – they will move the teeth/tooth to a straighter position. Without going into too much detail, brackets are precise and delicate attachments that are glued lightly to teeth. They are not meant to be superglued as we need to think of removing them. Sometimes, with limited care and not following the instruction provided, brackets can come lose from the teeth, or the archwires bend and stick out… this relatively small annoyance is about the only “emergency” you can expect to deal with when you have braces on. Nothing serious.
The more of these breakages that occur, the longer the treatment is guaranteed to take!
You can smile and rest assured, that most of our patients, this will not feature as an issue.
When braces go on, there must be some changes that occur to your diet. For the first couple of days, you should ideally stick to soft foods. Avoiding tough meats, hard breads, nuts and raw vegetables is a must , as this is a wonderful method of pulling braces off and having breakages!
Before long, you’ll be able to bite an apple again… gently! You will learn that you can chop carrots and apples into small pieces and eat them, without any trouble. For more specific instructions, advice and recipes, click here.
Chewy foods – Toffies, Minties, lollies, bagels, hard rolls, liquorice
Crunchy foods – Popcorn, ice, chips, Anzac cookies, “Crunchie” chocolate bars
Sticky and gooey foods – Caramels and sugar gum
Hard foods – Nuts, candy
Foods you have to bite into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots or popcorn (these are notorious for breaking brackets and archwires)
Chewing on hard things eg. fingernails, pens and pencils, hair clips can damage braces and the teeth. Damaged braces will without a doubt cause treatment delays, so it is best to avoid breakages.
You will not be charged for the first two accidents of brackets coming loose. From then on, you will be in the naughty corner and handing over some of your pocket money.
We wont lie to you… getting braces on in the chair is one of the easiest things you can have done in your mouth. It does get a little tiring towards the end of the initial “braces on” appointment. We can compare it to your mouth feeling like it has run a marathon!
When you get your braces on, there is no soreness, no pain, no lie!
Some people may start to feel general tenderness within the first 3-5 days in their mouth and teeth may feel tender to biting pressures. This can be relieved by taking a dose of PanadolTM or any Paracetamol tablet/s that you would use for a headache. Rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash may also help (dissolve 5 ml of salt in 200 ml of warm water, and rinse for 1 minute).
The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they accommodate and accustom to the surfaces of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this irritation. We’ll show you how to use the wax before you leave the clinic.
It is a really strange feeling to give your teeth a wiggle and them feeling loose. Don’t worry, it is normal as the teeth need to loosen before they can move , this is to be expected throughout treatment (especially at the beginning when lots of teeth are maligned). Once the teeth settle, they will once more become rigid and fixed, in their new position.
Although it is relatively uncommon, do not be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. If a wire sticks out and causes irritation, use a the back end of a spoon to gently push the wire back into the bracket or bend it downwards. An alternative, and often better technique is to use new nail clippers and snip the end of the wire that is causing the irritation. Often, husbands and dads will have a pair of wire cutters in the toolbox! Run!? don’t let anyone else touch your braces – they often create more trouble for us.
If all fails and you are still irritated, please give us a call and we will organise an urgent visit to do it for you. We appreciate that your time is important and want to save you a visit . Otherwise, we are more than happy to sort it out at your next appointment.
At the beginning of treatment, you are getting use to the new brackets and bands, so these are somewhat prone to becoming loose. The most common cause of loosening a bracket is eating things that are hard. Please be mindful, as loose brackets and appliance breakages cause a delay in the treatment. Give us a call and kindly let us know, so that at your next regular appointment, we can put it back on for you . A loose bracket or band does not require an emergency visit to the office.
If you are wearing elastics to an anchor bracket that has come off, please let us know as we may need to get you in, so that you go back to wearing your elastics quickly. Remember that elastics move teeth.
No elastics = no movement = delays in treatment
Care of orthodontic appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan and give you the very best results, we must work together . The teeth and jaws can only move toward their connected positions if we all work towards a common goal.
If you play sports, it is important that you let us know for special precautions. A mouth guard is advised for playing contact sports and in any situation where you may get an unexpected knock. In most cases, this is the boil and bite type as the teeth are continually moving with braces.
In the unforeseen case of an accident please consult an ambulance or medical practitioner if the accident is significant. In case of an accident involving the face, mouth or gums – check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth have loosened or the appliance is damaged, give us a call immediately so we can get you in for an urgent appointment . If any teeth are displaced, please do not wait for a few days, contact us immediately . In the meantime, get some first aid and treat any discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.
True orthodontic emergencies, those, which require an immediate appointment, are rare . Examples of these include the jaw locking open or closed, a fall or blow to the face that knocks teeth loose, or an infection around the teeth with braces in place. If any of these occur, contact our practice as soon as feasible. If you are uncertain as to what constitutes an emergency, it is better to call our office and let us know what is up. Other problems that arise are addressed above. We’ve included possible solutions you can try to help deal with them at home . If problems persist, call our practice and let us know. We will make arrangements to see you as soon as possible.