Are you feeling uncertain about how to care for your teeth after just beginning orthodontic treatment? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in this blog post. Effective orthodontic care is crucial for successful treatment, and it’s important to attend all monthly appointments on time. Proper care during the first few days is especially critical as your mouth adjusts to the orthodontic device. By taking good care of your treatment, you can minimize the risk of brackets falling off. If a bracket does fall off, the affected tooth won’t move as it should, and you’ll need to schedule extra appointments or pay additional costs to have it reinstalled.
What and How to Eat
- While undergoing orthodontic treatment, it’s important to steer clear of hard foods such as nuts, toast, and ice, as they can apply too much pressure on brackets and cause them to dislodge.
- During the first month of treatment, it’s also advisable to avoid fibrous foods such as grilled meats and pork rinds, although you can consume them if they’re previously cut. Instead, opt for softer options like fish and chicken.
- It’s also crucial to avoid biting down on sweets and to refrain from putting hard objects like pens in your mouth.
- While you can still enjoy fruits like apples and pears, make sure to cut them into bite-sized pieces and avoid biting directly into them
- Finally, steer clear of sticky sweets like taffy and chewing gum throughout the entirety of your treatment, as they can be one of the primary culprits behind brackets becoming loose or falling off. This last point is especially critical.
Dental Hygiene Care
It’s important to remember that orthodontic appliances, devices, and brackets are retentive, meaning they tend to trap more food particles. This can increase the risk of developing cavities and gum diseases, so it’s crucial to be diligent with your oral hygiene routine during treatment.
- It’s crucial to brush your teeth after every meal, for a minimum of three minutes each time. Initially, it can be helpful to use a watch to keep track of time until you develop a good habit. It’s also recommended to use a plaque revealer for the first few days after brushing. This can help identify any areas where brushing may not be as effective, allowing you to improve your technique and establish better brushing habits.
- When brushing, always use fluoride toothpaste and opt for a small, soft-bristled brush, or a special one designed for cleaning teeth with brackets, which features a strip in the middle of the brush. Position the brush perpendicular to the tooth’s surface and use a circular motion, making sure to tilt the brush to reach all surfaces of the tooth. Pay special attention to the area between the bracket and gum, where food particles tend to accumulate.
- While a conventional toothbrush used correctly is sufficient for maintaining proper hygiene during orthodontic treatment, using special orthodontic brushes or an electric toothbrush can be beneficial. It’s also essential to use small interproximal brushes to clean between teeth and brackets and archwires.
- Using mouthwash is crucial during treatment to enhance the effectiveness of brushing. To use, rinse or swish undiluted for 30 seconds twice a day, typically using the provided 15ml dosing cap. There are various specific types of mouthwash available on the market for use during orthodontic treatment.
- Another useful device is the Waterpik, which is an irrigator that shoots pressurized water to clean difficult-to-reach areas, helping to speed up the cleaning process.
It’s important to note that if you have aesthetic brackets like ceramic or sapphire brackets, you must maintain meticulous dental hygiene after every meal to prevent pigmentation in the ligatures. Any remaining residue will be much more noticeable with this type of bracket.
Braces and Emergencies: How to Handle Injuries and Accidents During Orthodontic Treatment
- Injuries: At the start of orthodontic treatment, ulcers may develop due to the devices and metal rubbing against the inner tissues of the mouth, such as the cheeks, tongue, and lips.
- Solution: To alleviate discomfort, small amounts of orthodontic wax can be applied to the affected bracket or device. If the injury is severe, local anesthetics can be used as recommended by the orthodontist. They can be applied to the affected area several times a day with caution. In case of significant discomfort, an appointment with the specialist should be scheduled immediately for evaluation.
- Pain after adjustments: It is common to feel slight pain or discomfort after the brackets are adjusted due to the recent activation of forces. The orthodontist will evaluate this after each adjustment.
- How to resolve it: Pain typically subsides in the first few hours or days, but if it is unbearable, an analgesic or anti-inflammatory can be taken. If these symptoms persist, a follow-up appointment with the orthodontist is recommended.
- If a bracket, band, “tube,” or device comes off while biting something hard, it is important to immediately contact the orthodontist to schedule an appointment to re-cement the bracket. Failing to do so could result in treatment delays. The orthodontist may need to evaluate the bracket to determine whether it can be re-cemented or if a new one is required. These appointments may result in extra costs.
- If the main wire or arch comes out of its location, it is recommended to cover it with wax or a cotton ball and schedule an appointment with the orthodontist. Cutting it yourself could cause damage to oral tissues and dislodge a bracket.
- The brackets made of ceramic or clear material do not change color, but the ligatures or elastics that hold the main wire brackets in place may discolor due to the consumption of dark or heavily dyed foods. To prevent this, it is important to maintain thorough oral hygiene after meals and avoid these types of foods. If discoloration persists, contact your orthodontic office for a ligature change. It is important to note that recurring discoloration may result in additional costs.
Proper care is crucial for the success of orthodontic treatment. It’s common for patients to report that a bracket has fallen off while eating something as soft as bread or fruit. However, this doesn’t always indicate a faulty attachment. In fact, chewing on certain types of foods can weaken the bond between the bracket and tooth to the point that even a gentle force can cause the bracket to come loose.