Properly caring for your braces and other appliances is vital to the success of your treatment. Here are a few tips to help you adjust to life with braces and keep your appliances in good condition:
Orthodontic First Aid
You will feel a little bit sore for a day or so following the placement of your braces and after any adjustments to your appliance. This discomfort should fade as your mouth adjusts. However, you may also experience minor discomfort due to a pocking wire or loose band or bracket. If any piece of your appliances should become detached, please place them in a Ziploc bag and bring them with you to your next appointment. The office usually accommodates minor repairs and replacements during your routine appointments.
However, if 3 or more items are in need of repair, please call our office ahead of your appointment to make sure that we can complete the necessary repairs without rescheduling your appointment.
If you are experiencing severe discomfort, please call our office immediately. In the meantime, here are a few ideas you can try at home to manage your discomfort after business hours:
Loose Bracket or Band:
If the bracket or band is still attached to the wire, leave it in place. If uncomfortable, cover with wax (or chewed up bubble gum). If it comes out completely, bring with you to your next appointment. Do not attach elastics to a loose band.
Soreness from Braces:
For mouth sores, rinse with warm salt water to help keep the mouth clean so healing may occur more quickly. Topical anesthetics (such as Orabase) can soothe discomfort only temporarily. For tooth soreness, take a pain reliever that you would usually use for headache or similar discomfort.
Wire Out of Tube or Poking Wire:
Try to replace wire back into tube with tweezers. If unsuccessful, use a clean needle-nose plier and carefully try to bend the offending wire away from cheek, if possible. If still uncomfortable, place wax (or chewed-up bubble gum) to help minimize irritation until the inside of the mouth can heal. Sometimes you may be able to cut off the offending piece by using a clean finger nail clipper. If discomfort perists or worsens, call our office to check or repair the appliance. See notes for Rotated Archwire.
If you can tell that on one side the wire is ‘way long’ and the other side is ‘way short,’ the archwire has likely shifted. Try to slide wire back around to the other side by pulling on the short side with a clean tweezer of needle-nose plier. If unsuccessful, you may try to bend the wire away from your cheek or gums OR place wax on wire (or clump of ‘chewing gum’) and call office if discomfort persists or worsens. Also see notes for Wire Out of Tube.
Brushing & Flossing
Brushing: Using a soft bristle toothbrush, begin by using small, circular motions to clean ALL surfaces of the braces and teeth, especially the areas between the gums and braces, and the areas under the arch wire. An interdental toothbrush (e.g. proxabrush) can help clean under the archwires and around your braces. Be patient. Take your time to do a thorough job. It WILL pay off over time.
Flossing: Using your floss threader with floss attached, direct the threader under the arch wire and pull floss through. Gently clean the sides of both teeth and under the gums with an up-and-down motion. Pull floss through and use a different part of floss for the next tooth. Floss between all teeth once a day.
Foods to Avoid
There are some types of food that you should avoid while wearing braces, as they can cause damage to your appliance and prolong the amount of time you are in treatment. These types of food include:
- Hard foods – ice, nuts, popcorn, candy brittle, rock candy, corn-on-the-cob, whole apples, whole carrots, hard pretzels, hard bread rolls
- Sticky foods – caramels, taffy, Starburst candies, chewing gum
- Chewy foods – bagels, licorice, pizza crust, crusty bread, beef jerky
- Sugary foods – soda pop, sugary drinks, cookies, candies
Athletics & Musical Instruments
More than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and jaw occur each year. Dr. Lisa strongly recommends that you use a protective mouth guard to help protect your teeth, jaw, soft oral tissues, and appliances. There are 3 types of mouth guards:
- A ready-made, or “stock” mouth guard that Yurkiewicz Orthodontics will provide free-of-charge at your request. These types of mouth guards can also be purchased at most sporting goods stores.
- A “boil and bite” mouth guard, which is softened and then molded to the mouth
- A custom mouth guard, made from a model of the persons’ teeth and perfectly fitted to their mouth.
Please be aware that Yurkiewicz Orthodontics offers STOCK mouth guards. These mouth guards are “one size fits all,” and are NOT the heavy-duty, professional, protective devices which are more custom-fitted and shock absorbent. Please use common sense and protect yourself while playing sports.
The Florida Dental Association (FDA) and the American Dental Association (ADA) advise using mouth guards for the following contact sports: acrobatics, baseball, basketball, boxing, discus throwing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, handball, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skydiving, soccer, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weight lifting, and wrestling.
You will be able to continue playing your wind or brass instrument while wearing braces. It may take a little extra time and patience to adjust after you begin wearing braces, and also after your braces come off. Playing your instrument should not be a deterrent to getting a better bite and smile – orthodontic treatment is temporary, but music in your life is forever!
If you have any questions about life with braces, or to schedule a follow-up appointment with Dr. Lisa, please call Yurkiewicz Orthodontics. We will be happy to answer your questions and address any concerns you have.