Living with braces

It's important to know what to expect when you get braces.  The  more you know about how your teeth will feel and react to braces, the better prepared you will be in your life with braces.  Getting braces put on is a very simple procedure.  All you have to do is, literally, sit back and let us do all the work.  Dr. Fotovat , Dr. Sands and the registered dental assistants in our orthodontic  office will explain every procedure and make  sure  you are comfortable  every step of the way. 

Placing the braces:

The actual placement of the braces is done by cleaning the teeth of surface debris and preparing it, so that the brackets can be glued on using a fluoride-releasing glue onto the tooth surface.  The fluoride in the glue actually fights off cavity-causing bacteria where the brackets sit over the tooth itself.   Once  brackets are placed, the wires that will be moving  your teeth are put into the bracket slots.  Your teeth begin to move as soon as the wires  are engaged  into the brackets.   You will not feel the movement of your teeth at this point.

How do braces feel:

At the initial appointment when the braces are placed, you will most likely feel the brackets touching your cheeks and tongue.   Like anything new, it will take a few days to get used to having braces in your mouth.  After a few hours, your teeth will start feeling the movement of the braces.  The best analogy to explain how this feels is to imagine if  you haven't worked out for awhile, and then you go and exercise. The next day your muscles will feel sore.  This soreness may last  a few days and each person's perception of the soreness is different.  Your teeth have never moved and this initial movement is the first time your body is experiencing  the braces working.  It will take a few days for you to adjust to this feeling.  You can take Tylenol or Advil, or whatever you usually take for a headache, to help reduce the soreness.  We will also give you dental wax so that you can place it in areas that may be rubbing on your cheeks or tongue. 

Loosening of teeth:

Your teeth will begin moving soon after the braces are put on.  After a few days you may notice some of the teeth are getting loose.  Don't be alarmed, this is how teeth move through the bone.  This is the normal pattern of tooth movement.  You will feel the teeth getting loose, and sometimes you may see gaps opening where there were no spaces before.  As the teeth move into their ideal position, the extra spaces will be closed and your teeth will firm up again.

Caring for braces:

At the appointment where we place your braces, we will also review how to take care of your braces.  The success of your orthodontic treatment depends on how well you take care of your teeth, the brackets and how well you follow our recommendations. 

Brushing:

With the braces on, it is very important to keep the teeth, gums and brackets themselves nice and clean.  Our office will provide you with a complimentary orthodontic hygiene kit.  We will review and demonstrate how to use each item in our kit, so that we can give you the proper tools for success.  Brush your teeth with a soft bristle tooth brush after every meal and before bed.  Hold the tooth brush at a 45 degree angle and brush above, below and in between the braces. Don't forget to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.  Look closely and make sure that there is no food or plaque around the teeth.  Change your tooth brush as soon as the bristles become frayed. Electric tooth brushes help reduce plaque better than manual toothbrushes.

Flossing:

Floss in-between the teeth at least once a day.  Flossing removes the plaque and food caught in- between the contacts of the teeth.  Your complimentary hygiene kit will contain floss and reusable floss threaders that help thread the floss under the arch-wire.   We will also show you how to floss with braces when you get your braces placed on your teeth. Healthy teeth and gums move more efficiently and your treatment will progress more effectively.

Rinse:

You can use a mouth rinse such as Listerine Total Care, to help minimize plaque build-up and reduce minor gum inflammation and irritations.

Eating with braces:

Food particles and plaque naturally accumulate on the teeth whether you have braces or not.  The braces make it easier for the food and plaque to sit on the tooth surface.  When the food and plaque sit on the surface of your teeth, they create a higher acidity level and you can get cavities or gum irritations. There are some foods that we ask that you avoid while undergoing orthodontic treatment, to reduce the chance of damaging the braces and decrease the chance of possible cavities or gum irritations. It is important to make smart food choices that reduce the amount of plaque build-up around your teeth.  Foods that are higher in sugar content produce more plaque.  Foods that are sticky and chewy tend to stick to the braces or teeth and create more plaque as well.  Sodas have a high sugar content and the carbonation in the soda breaks down the glue on the braces.  Hard foods should be cut into small bite size pieces so that they do not break the brackets.   Broken brackets, swollen gums, and cavities can prolong your treatment time and overall health of your teeth. The following is a brief list of foods to avoid, but use common sense and logic to see if what you want to eat can potentially damage your braces.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Chewy foods: gummy bears, licorice, Skittles
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
  • Sticky foods: gum, caramel
  • Hard foods: nuts, hard bread, candy
  • Chewing on hard things like: pen, pencil, nails

Foods to cut into small pieces: raw carrots and apples, crusted breads, pizza crust, corn on the cob, firm meats, etc.

 

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