CARE OF YOUR BRACES
Care of Your Braces
You will likely notice that it requires some extra time and attention to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food can get stuck in brackets and between teeth and requires a little extra care. It is important that you brush and floss thoroughly to minimize the plaque and avoid permanent white marks on the teeth surfaces. You may consider investing in a Waterpik or other water oral hygiene device to supplement your brushing and flossing. This will help remove food particles that your toothbrush may not reach.
Please note that coming to your orthodontic appointments is no substitute for your regular dental exams. Please be sure to schedule your dental cleanings every three to six months to keep your teeth and gums healthy during treatment.
Eating with Braces
Don’t worry…you can still enjoy plenty of delicious foods and treats with braces, however, you do want to be aware of certain foods that can harm or break your braces.
Foods to Avoid:
- Chewy foods- bagels, hard rolls, licorice
- Crunchy foods- popcorn, ice, certain chips
- Sticky foods- caramels, gum, sticky candy
- Hard foods- nuts and other hard candies
- Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples on the core, carrots
- Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils, fingernails) can damage your braces. Damaged braces will cause your treatment to take longer and none of us want that!
Your commitment and compliance is essential in creating the smile of your dreams in a reasonable timeframe. You are responsible for placing the elastics on your braces between appointments. Please wear them as instructed. Remove them only when brushing your teeth and eating and immediately put them back in.
Always carry a few extra elastics with you, so if one breaks you can replace it immediately. If you need more elastics in between appointments, feel free to stop in the office to get more.
Elastics become worn out. When they lose their elasticity, they don’t provide the proper pressure on your teeth and jaws. It is very important to change them as directed, even when they are not broken.
As a general rule, emergency appointments may be scheduled when there is severe pain, a loose band, a broken wire or something you can’t temporarily take care of yourself. Please see our Orthodontic First Aid section for useful tips on how to temporarily address common problems at home until you can come into the office.
Top 10 Retainer Rules
- Wear your retainers as instructed. You invested your time and money into straightening your teeth. Let’s keep them that way!
- Take your retainers out when eating… and always store your retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
- Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used, but do not take the place of brushing.
- When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
- Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them faster.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
- Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
- Retainer replacement is expensive… with proper care they will last for years!
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.