Helpful Ortho Tips
Your First Week in Braces
Your teeth may be a little sore for the first week in braces, so we recommend sticking to a soft food diet until the discomfort subsides. Patients can usually manage this discomfort well with whatever pain medication they might commonly take for a headache. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. Overall, orthodontic discomfort is usually short-lived.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!
Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new corrected positions.
Loose Wire or Band
Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.
Care of Appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear, or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
If you play sports, it’s important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouthguard is advised for playing contact sports. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.
- Wear your retainers full time, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
- Take your retainers out when eating…and always put 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 these 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 aloud 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!
- Remove retainers when swimming.
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.