A mouth with braces is like Disneyland for bacteria. All those nooks, crannies, and new spaces between your teeth are perfect snagging places for food and sugars which bacteria thrive on. It is imperative that you take care of your teeth and gums. Otherwise you could end up with permanently stained teeth and gum disease.Brush your teeth in the morning, evening, and after meals. Most of you probably already brush your teeth when you wake up and before you go to bed.
Now that you have braces, you will want to brush your teeth after meals too. This will get most of the food stuck in your braces out so that it doesn't feed bacteria and/or cause bad breath. Not to mention, it isn't a pretty sight for people to talk to you while food is hanging out all over your teeth. Floss at least once a day. Flossing with braces is a huge pain. You have to thread the floss under the braces wire between every single teeth.
What used to take me 2 minutes now takes me between 8-10 minutes. It's very easy to decide flossing is too much trouble and give it up, but this is one of the most important things you must do to ensure you have healthy gums. Your orthodontist or local drugstore should have flossing tools to help you thread the floss under your braces. Use them! The first time I had braces, I didn't floss and ended up with all sorts of painful and expensive gum and periodontal problems afterwards.
This time I'm not making the same mistake. Use fluoride or plaque-destroying mouthwash. Your main goal with dental hygiene is to prevent plaque build-up. Plaque will cause tooth and gum disease, and also leave white bracket-shaped marks on your teeth when you take your braces off. These marks will stay on your teeth for the rest of your life. To prevent that, in addition to all of the other steps, it may help to rinse for 30 seconds at least once a day with fluoride or mouthwash.
I like doing this at least once in the evening after I floss and before I brush my teeth. Continue regular cleaning visits with your dental hygienist. You will never be able to clean your teeth as well as your dentist (or hygienist) can professionally. Just as you did before you had braces, continue to visit your regular dentist to get your teeth cleaned. For some of you, the dentist may recommend more frequent visits.
I know many of these steps seem excessively troublesome. Speaking from experience, I cannot emphasize enough that you should NOT take shortcuts. Your oral hygiene is of the utmost importance while you have braces because plaque buildup can cause lasting damage to your teeth that will not go away for the rest of your life. Do not take your teeth for granted. So much of life's enjoyments (eating, speaking, your appearance) are directly related to the health of your teeth and gums.
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One of the most common questions we get asked about braces is whether placing them causes any pain or discomfort. Our answer is that braces do not hurt at all when they are applied to the teeth, so there is no reason to be anxious about the placement appointment. There will be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the newly placed brackets, which may last for a few days to a week.
Most patients experience some discomfort the first four days to a week after their braces, expanders, and/or wires are placed and after a wire adjustment and/or an activation appointment. Our appliances and wires are cutting-edge, and exert very light force that decrease any soreness associated with orthodontic treatment. However, some mild discomfort is still to be expected. Each person will gradually adapt to the discomfort associated with the orthodontic tooth movement.
Before Leaving the Expressions Orthodontics Office There are a few easy steps which we ask you to complete before you leave. Taking these steps helps minimize discomfort, ensure an optimal response to treatment, and keeps you prepared for your next visit. Please make these steps part of your routine for each visit to Dr. Sunny Leong and Expressions Orthodontics. CHECK WIRE ENDSUsing your finger and tongue, check to see that the wire ends do not extend into areas which might poke or rub the cheek or tongue.
UNDERSTAND NEXT STEPSMake sure you understand what you are to do until your next appointment. This could include wearing headgear or elastics as instructed, adjusting the expander or following specific hygiene or diet instructions. SUPPLIESMake sure you have an adequate supply of dental wax, special cleaning aids, elastic bands, or other related materials you may need for your braces or devices between appointments.
BOOK YOUR NEXT VISITAlways schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. Waiting a week or two after an appointment before scheduling your next office visit complicates our scheduling process, since appointments are programmed 4-6 weeks in advance. Postponing appointments is one of the main factors in longer treatment time. Your First Week In Braces The adhesive used for attaching the braces to your teeth dries on the outside quite quickly, but will take 24 hours to fully set.
You can eat any time after leaving our office; however, we ask that you pay attention to the suggested list of foods that can be harmful to the braces (and your teeth). Until you get used to eating with your new braces it may be best to start on a diet of softer foods. The easiest foods to eat with braces are things like yogurt, pudding, seedless bread, boiled vegetables, pasta, or thin soups. We will provide and show you how to use dental wax to apply over the braces as necessary.
This wax/silicone creates a smooth surface and alleviates irritation on the inner cheeks and lips. Additionally, over-the-counter pain medication (ibuprofen ie. Motrin and Advil usually works best if no allergies exisit) and may be taken as directed in combination with a rigorous regiment of salt water rinses to relieve the soreness. After five days to a week, any initial discomfort associated with the braces should be gone or much improved.
The teeth will have gradually acclimated to the braces, and eating should be much easier. Alleviating Discomfort At first your braces will feel like they are sticking out, which is completely normal. As you get used to your braces and tooth alignment improves, this sensation will disappear and will cease to be a concern. In fact, when you get your braces off, your teeth will feel strange without them for a while, too! Even though the brackets have been rounded and smoothed you may find it helpful to use a small piece of wax around a bracket that is creating an irritation.
As your cheeks toughen, you will have fewer irritations. Some teeth, often the front teeth, may be tender and sensitive to pressure at first. Most patients have some soreness during the first eight hours which will gradually disappear. Exactly when the discomfort ceases is impossible to predict and is different for each patient. If you want, you can also take an over-the-counter pain medication to help.
Just Remember: Any soreness you feel from the braces is just the crookedness leaving your smile!