What to expect at your first orthodontic consultation:
- A review of your overall and dental health history
- A thorough oral health examination
- A discussion with your orthodontist of their findings
- You and your Orthodontic team will partner together to create a treatment plan that best fits your overall and financial needs
- Your Orthodontist will answer any questions you may have regarding your treatment
- At the end of your appointment, your orthodontic team will schedule a time for you to come back in for diagnostic records where impressions and mold of teeth will be made, capture photos of face and teeth, as well as X-rays.
Types of braces:
Nickel, stainless steel, plated gold, clear ceramic, and Invisalign are all different types of braces to choose from. Your orthodontic team will tell you what options are available and which may be the best choice for your treatment.
How long will you have to wear braces?
The length of treatment will depend on several factors, including the severity of the misalignment of the teeth, age, type of braces, and the overall oral health of the person receiving treatment. Most treatments last around 18 months.
Tips for discomfort when wearing braces:
- Be proactive! Take over the counter pain medication before you start to feel too much discomfort
- Gargle with Saline
- Drink ice water or suck on an ice cube
- Make some hot soup
- Use orthodontic wax
- Use a sensitive toothpaste when brushing
- Use numbing gel in areas of discomfort
- Use a cold or hot pack
Types of food to avoid when wearing braces:
- Sticky / chewy foods: taffy, bagels, hard rolls, licorice
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, Ice, Granola
- Hard foods: nuts, pretzels, unsliced apples, carrots
- Sugary food: candy, desserts
Best oral health practices when wearing braces:
- Before brushing or flossing, take all rubber bands out.
- Brush after every meal or twice a day with a fluorinated toothpaste – brush carefully, and choose a brush with softer bristles. If your teeth are feeling sore, opt for a sensitive toothpaste. Brush each tooth and pay special attention to your braces – take time to make sure all food debris is removed.
- Next, brush your teeth with a proxabrush or “Christmas Tree” brush. This brush is specifically designed for cleaning in between sets of brackets.
- Floss and rinse with a fluoride mouth wash at least once a day – a water pick or air flosser can also be helpful for getting leftover food particles out of areas where the brush cannot reach.
What to do if a wire or bracket on my braces breaks:
Broken braces, loose bands and protruding wires happen but rarely require emergency treatment. If this happens to you or your child, call your Orthodontist to set up an appointment as soon as possible to fix the problem. Until your orthodontic appointment, here are a few tips to help you get through some of these problems;
- Loose brackets – Apply a small piece of orthodontic wax to temporarily reattach any loose brackets or place over any loose brackets to create a barrier between them and the soft tissues in the mouth. Your Orthodontist usually provides you with this wax when you first start your braces treatment.
- Loose Bands – These will usually need to be replaced or re-cemented into place. Save the band for your next scheduled appointment.
- Protruding or broken wire – Use a piece of wax or an eraser from the end of a pencil to help move or cover the bothersome protruding end. DO NOT attempt to cut the wire. If a sore develops, rinse your mouth out with warm salt water or an antiseptic rinse. Over-the-counter numbing gel can also be purchased and applied to the area.
- Loose Spacers – These will need to be repositioned or replaced by the Orthodontist if they slip or fall out.
- Canker Sores – Because braces and retainers rub against the soft tissue inside the mouth there is a possibility of developing canker sores. If developing canker sores becomes a regular occurrence, your orthodontist may prescribe a corticosteroid ointment or a solution to help reduce the pain and support healing.
Best oral health practices after braces are removed:
- There are permanent and removable retainer options. If you and your Orthodontist decide a removable retainer is the best choice for you, it is very important that the custom retainers be worn for a minimum of 12 month after the braces come off for sustainable treatment results.
- Every time you brush your teeth, brush your retainer as well but do not use toothpaste.
- A few times a week, disinfect the retainer by soaking it in denture cleanser, such as Polident, or another brand name solution. Follow the directions suggested by the cleanser brand, and rinse thoroughly before use.
Myths about braces and orthodontic treatment:
- Braces can set off a metal detector – This is not the type of metal they are looking for when walking through a metal detector, it is unlikely your braces will set it off.
- Braces make it impossible to play a wind instrument – this is just untrue. Many people play instruments with braces.
- If I kiss someone wearing braces, my braces could get tangled with theirs – A common gag on television and movies, the likelihood of this happening, in reality, is pretty much none. It is almost impossible for this to happen with modern-day braces.
- I cannot play sports with braces – As long as you wear a mouth guard there is no reason to have a concern with this. Get a mouth guard that is specially designed to fit over braces, made of durable plastic, this will protect the soft tissue inside your mouth.
- Braces permanently straighten your teeth – Braces are extremely effective at straightening your teeth, but if the suggested continued maintenance, like wearing a retainer, is not actively done, your teeth can begin to drift back to their original positions
- You will need your wire changed at every appointment – This is dependent on the progress of your treatment. It is very likely your orthodontist will decide to leave the wire in for another few weeks before changing it.
- There is a set date you will get your braces off – unfortunately this is not true. It is impossible to predict when you will get your braces off. You can, however, predict a general time period.
- My dentist can give me braces – Braces should only be put on by a trained orthodontist. While dentists and orthodontists go through some of the same training, an orthodontist specializes in treatments like braces and aligning your teeth for the perfect smile.
- I don’t have to wear my rubber bands – Many patients will ignore the suggested routine for wearing rubber bands. This will delay your treatment and may affect the final results of your teeth alignment.
- Braces take a long time – Everyone has a different length of treatment depending on their personal oral health needs. With that said, the average length is only about 18 months; that’s less than two years!