HYGIENE, DISCOMFORT AND ORTHODONTIC EMERGENCIES
Placing orthodontic appliances on the teeth is not a painful procedure. At the end of the appointment, you will feel like you have foreign objects in your mouth, and you will probably find it hard to believe that you will ever become accustomed to the braces. Believe it or not, by the end of the week, it will feel as if the braces are part of your teeth.
Nevertheless, within the first several hours after the orthodontic appliances are put on, and for the following couple of days, your mouth is going to be sore. The soreness will be from two sources. As the teeth begin to move, an ache develops, and the teeth feel tender when you bite down. Motrin IB or Advil are the best drugs to take for this pain. Your mouth will also become irritated from the insides of your lips and cheeks rubbing against the orthodontic appliances. It takes about a week to become fully adjusted to the braces. In the meantime you can cover the irritating part of your braces with a small piece of the soft white wax which we give to you. You will find that during the first week of orthodontic treatment, you will be most comfortable eating soft foods.
Loose Brackets or Bands
Call our office immediately for advice if a brace or wire is loosened. The brace may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off of a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, you may use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day so that we may schedule an appointment for you.
Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of wax. If the wire still causes pain, you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.
Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.
Orthodontic appliances do not cause caries, or tooth decay, but make tooth brushing more difficult, so special care is required. Poor oral hygiene results in decalcification (permanent white markings on the teeth, which are early stages of decay), decay, gum disease and bone loss. The teeth should be brushed after every meal, including snacks. Brush your teeth carefully and thoroughly, working the toothbrush bristles in and around the bands, brackets and wires. Pay particular attention to the area between the gums and the arch wire. This is the most difficult area to keep clean.
Flossing is also recommended with the aid of floss threaders every day, in addition to brushing. Do not brush your teeth with baking soda; this will cause the cement to dissolve out of the bands.
Continue your regular dental appointments every six months with your general dentist and hygienist.
Sports are no problem, but braces won't stop an elbow, hockey puck or basketball. Anyone participating in contact sports is strongly urged to wear a mouth guard, which is provided to you. In case of an accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or fractured, or the appliances are damaged, please contact the office.
Avoid These Foods
We ask our patients to avoid certain foods during their treatment. In general, there are two types of foods not to be eaten: hard, brittle foods and soft, sticky foods. Some examples follow:
HARD, BRITTLE FOODS
- Popcorn unpopped or half-popped kernels
- Hard candy such as peanut brittle or peppermint sticks
- Whole nuts such as pecans and peanuts
- Hard breads such as pretzels, bagels or hard pizza crust (unless broken into pieces)
- Whole raw carrots or apples — please cut them into bite size pieces
- Corn chips such as Fritos, Doritos or taco chips
SOFT, STICKY FOODS
Gum — all types of gum will stick to the braces, including sugarless gum
Sticky candy such as caramel, taffy, Tootsie Rolls, licorice, jellybeans or gum drops
Certain foods can be eaten if served in a special way. Whole raw fruits and vegetables should be sliced into smaller bites and eaten carefully. Fresh corn should be sliced off the cob. Bagels should not be toasted heavily or crunchy.
Please use caution in your selection of food. Don't eat foods that will bend or break the braces. Having to replace or re-cement any appliance may result in a delay in your treatment. If in doubt, ask us first!
Avoid chewing on pencils, pens and fingernails.
As always, it is important for you to maintain good oral hygiene and dental health. And of course, avoiding heavily sugared foods will help prevent cavities.
Call 212 245 4234 if you have any questions or concerns.