Appointments are an important part of your treatment, as time has been reserved specifically for you to talk with the doctor and receive treatment. Please arrive on time for your appointment. If you are more than 15 minutes late, you might be asked to reschedule your appointment.
We request a 24-hour notice if you need to cancel your appointment. We are aware that unforeseen events sometimes require missing an appointment, and appreciate your cooperation.
Our office strives to be convenient and fair to all of our patients, which is why we have carefully crafted our scheduling policies with everyone in mind. Many of our patients have school and/or work during the day, and we are sensitive to their needs for afternoon appointments. Due to the demand for these time slots, late afternoon appointments are reserved shorter adjustment appointments, so that as many patients can be seen in the afternoons as possible. Longer appointments, such as initial banding, de-banding, and emergency or repair appointments, will be scheduled during the day. Also, missed or cancelled appointments will often need to be scheduled during the day, since our afternoon appointments are often filled weeks in advance.
Brushing With Braces
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, between braces and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
Especially during orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After supper
- At bedtime
You will need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your appliances. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. It may be difficult for your toothbrush to reach some areas under your archwire. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash and fluoride treatment throughout your orthodontic treatment and beyond for optimal oral hygiene.
Flossing With Braces
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day.
Use the reusable floss threader provided by our office to floss under your archwire daily. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. You will be able to feel when the tooth is clean and hear the squeak of the floss against your clean teeth. Use care around your archwire and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it. After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between your other teeth and gums.
If you are flossing without the floss threader, pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment.
Rinsing With An Antibacterial Mouthwash
Peroxyl, a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse, will reduce inflammation to your gums and cheeks. Peroxyl helps to prevent infection and decrease irritation that may develop from your braces. Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of Peroxyl (half a capful) for one minute and then spit it out. You may use Peroxyl up to four times daily following your schedule for brushing: after meals (or after school) and before bed. Just like using peroxide for a scrape on your skin, Peroxyl helps the inside of your mouth heal. Peroxyl can be used for general irritation caused by your braces or for canker sores, cheek bites and other minor temporary injuries to the gums.
Using An Interdental Toothbrush
A Proxabrush is an interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush that you may use to clean underneath and around your wires and braces. Use the Proxabrush gently to avoid damaging your wires. The Proxabrush will help you to clean your braces while maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Cleaning Your Removable Appliance/Retainer
Brush your removable appliance every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. Because food particles and plaque can accumulate on your appliance just as they do on your teeth, soak the appliance daily. Dissolve a Polident, Efferdent or other denture-cleaning tablet in a glass of tap water at room temperature and soak your appliance once every day. Your appliance will taste better, and you will prevent plaque and bacterial accumulation.
Life With Braces
Foods to Avoid While Wearing Braces
For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.
Sticky Foods to Avoid:
- Gum (sugar-free or regular)
- Sugar Daddies
- Tootsie Rolls
Hard Foods to Avoid:
- Hard taco shells
- French bread crust/rolls
- Corn on the cob
- Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
- Jolly Ranchers
- Pizza crust
- Uncooked carrots (unless cut)
Minimize Sugary Foods like:
- Ice Cream
Only Once a Day:
- Sweetened tea
- Drinks with sugar
It’s important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately to arrange an appointment for repair.
Sore Teeth And Mouth
Right after you get your braces, and sometimes after you have an adjustment appointment, your teeth and mouth will likely feel sore. To alleviate the pain, you may gargle lukewarm saltwater, which is a mixture of one teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of water. You can also take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.
Loose Brackets Or Bands
Call our office immediately for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket 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 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.
Caring For Your Appliances
Patient cooperation is a big part of successful orthodontic treatment. Please be sure to wear your appliance as prescribed, including your rubber bands, headgear, retainer or other appliance, If your braces break, this will only prolong your treatment time.
Mouthguards For Playing Sports
We are pleased to offer our patients custom-fabricated mouthguards for sports activities. Unlike stock mouthguards, which fit loosely because they are designed to accommodate many possible wearers, our sports mouthguards are tailored to fit your exact dental profile, providing the highest attainable level of comfort and security in a mouthguard.
The first step in fabricating these mouthguards is to take an impression of your teeth. We then use that impression and fabricate the mouthguard using special professional-grade materials. The perfect fit of these custom-fabricated mouthguards ensures that not only will your mouthguards fit comfortably, they will also offer the most protection and will interfere the least with speech or breathing.
Braces And Your Jaw
If one or both jaws are of different sizes or proportions, a malocclusion or “bad bite” can form, resulting in improper alignment of the teeth and affecting your speech and chewing ability. Mouth breathing can also become excessive with the tongue and lips moving in an awkward fashion to accommodate the jaw discrepancy.
Malocclusions are not merely aesthetic; bad bites jeopardize the overall health of your teeth and gums as well as the function of your temporomandibular joint (jaw joint).