Living With Braces
It's true that living with braces can require a bit of extra attention when brushing your teeth, and a small change to the foods you usually eat, but this short guide will give you advice on what you can expect life with braces to be like.
With the addition or braces, brushing and flossing can be a little more difficult than usual, but it is important to maintain a routine, and to give your teeth the attention they deserve. Neglecting to properly clean your teeth can result in the need for professional cleaning, and may even effect your treatment. A good time for children to brush their teeth is when they arrive home from school, as it is a quiet time in busy life. Here are some tips:
- Buy a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Brush after every meal. If this is not possible, rinse your mouth well with water
- Use a dry brush with a small amount of toothpaste.
- Brush your upper teeth down, and your lower teeth up, paying attention to where the tooth and gum meets. use circular vibrating motions around this gum line.
- Don't forget to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth
- We recommend using special inter spacing (or proxa) brushes for hard to reach areas. These look like small Christmas trees and are great for cleaning in between the braces.
Flossing is also crucial to keeping a healthy mouth. Floss between the braces, as well as around the gum area. We have waxed floss available in our shop.
Eating With Braces
When you initially get your braces fitted, you will need to start with soft foods in the first week. That means no tough meats, hard breads, or raw vegetables. Before long, you'll be able to bite properly again, but you'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces. Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.The following foods should be avoided:
- Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, liquorices, toffees
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, crisps.
- Sticky foods: caramels, chewing gum.
- Hard foods: nuts, hard sweets
- Hard foods: nuts, hard sweets
Problems with your braces?
Now and again you may encounter problems with your braces. This can include bands breaking or wires misplacing. This is normal, and nothing to worry about.
- If a wire has come loose and is irritating your mouth, use a blunt object such as the rubber end of a pencil to tuck it under an archwire. If it continues to irritate, use orthodontic wax to cover the wire (or cotton) and get in touch with us to arrange a visit.
- If any parts fall off, hold onto them and arrange an appointment as soon as possible
Retainers are usually recommended after normal treatment with braces. Their purpose is to set the teeth in their new corrected position. There are a few rules to abide by when using a retainer.
- At first, wear your retainer all day and all night. We will tell you when you may reduce wearing time, but wear your retainer exactly as we instruct.
- Bring your retainer to each appointment.
- Keep your retainer clean! After each meal, take off and gently rinse or brush your retainer and brush your teeth. This should be done at least three times a day. Use "Retainer Brite" (available in our shop) tabs at least twice a week to keep your retainer sparkling.
- No chewing gum - it sticks to the plastic
- Never leave your retainer our of your mouth, except when it is in its case. Don't leave it lying around or wrapped in tissue. It could get lost or thrown away. Never leave it in hot water or near a hot surface; it could change shape and be rendered useless.
- Retainers are only good for a maximum of 18 months. We will send you an email remainder when you are due for a replacement.
- If lost, return ASAP for new ones. Teeth may move without retainers, and could result in re-treatment
- If loose, return ASAP for an adjustment or replacement.
- Please return at 18-19 years old for a wisdom tooth check.
As a general rule, we advise you to wear retainers full time for 72 hours when braces are first removed. After that we advise you to wear the retainers only at night (but must be for every night) for 6 months, followed by every second night for 12 months, and then return for new retainers.
Retainers need to be replaced every 18 months and should be worn until 25 years of age. Some patients may need to wear retainers on some sort of nightly schedule throughout their lives if they want to keep a perfect smile and prevent any shifting of the teeth, especially lower incisor teeth.