Tips to care for your braces

Caring for BracesScenario: You’re leaving the orthodontist’s office.  Congratulations!  Today is your first day with braces.  Now what?  How do you care for them – and yourself?

The first thing to remember is that Owl Orthodontics provides the information you need to be safe and comfortable.  If you follow these directions, you will reduce the likelihood of any problems and you will make your experience with braces much more pleasant.

You need to think about what you’re going to eat today – and in the days to come.  Owl Orthodontics makes it easy with a list of foods you should avoid.  Foods are not put on this list randomly or with the intention of depriving you of anything.  If it’s on the list, it would cause a problem for your brackets, wires, or both.

After you eat, you have to brush your teeth.  This is even more important than before you had braces and your oral hygiene duties do not end there: flossing and mouthwash are also very important parts of your new routine.  We’ll provide you with instructions, but you can get a refresher here.  In addition, some people mistakenly believe that regular orthodontic visits make regular dental visits unnecessary.  If anything, regular dental visits are extra important at this time.  Consider these visits part of your overall dental hygiene plan while you have braces.

Accidents happen.  Problems crop up.  What constitutes an emergency?  We have a summary sheet that will make it easier for you to differentiate a minor problem from a major one.  Some problems start out small but become more problematic if they are not treated immediately.  If you have a problem and are experiencing discomfort, wax can be very helpful.  It will prevent sharp parts of the wires or braces from causing any further damage in your mouth.  If you’re not sure whether a particular situation warrants an appointment, call and ask.

If you have a problem, remember that stopping in at the office without an appointment will not be the most efficient tactic for you; call the office so we can schedule a time for you to come in.  Another reminder: many common problems can be avoided if you follow the aforementioned directions, as well as any others mentioned during your appointments.  For example, if you avoid the foods on the list, you will experience far fewer damaged brackets and wires.  In addition, it is important that you wear a mouth guard when you participate in sports.

If you need a little more motivation, consider the following, courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontics: clean and “healthy teeth move more quickly.  Patients with braces must be careful to avoid hard, sticky, chewy and crunchy foods, or hard objects, such as pens, pencils and fingernails.  Keeping your teeth and braces clean requires more time, precision and must be done every day if the teeth and gums are to be healthy during and after orthodontic treatment.

Your first day of treatment is important; every day thereafter is, too.  If you follow the above advice, as well as any additional advice we give you in the office, you will have a comfortable and pleasant experience.