Braces and orthodontic treatment are done to align malpositioned teeth and close gaps between teeth. Orthodontic treatment is a slow process, and it takes a long period to complete. The duration depends on the severity of the case. The patient may feel discomfort during the first few days. Children, as well as adults, might need orthodontic treatment, and it is necessary to follow some instructions to get the best results in the time period prescribed.
1) Oral Hygiene - Tooth Brushing and Flossing
Special attention must be paid to oral hygiene as the orthodontic fixed and removable appliances will make it more difficult for you to keep your teeth and gums clean. Brush your teeth and gums thoroughly at least twice a day and after each meal to keep plaque from building up around your braces and appliance.
Orthodontic Toothbrush - Orthodontic toothbrush has specially designed bristles that help to get in between the braces to remove plaque and dislodge the food.
Interproximal Brushes - Interproximal brushes allows access to areas under brackets and wires to help to remove plaque, debris, and lodged food that was missed during your routine brushing procedure. Interdental brushes have fine tips that enable you to slide underneath your wire and around your bracket. Do not push the brush in between your teeth.
- Patients should floss once a day after brushing.
- The use of fluoridated toothpaste is recommended.
- Use your fluoride mouthwash at night after brushing.
- Keep your toothbrush and floss with you at all times, so that you can clean your teeth even when you are not at home.
2) Eating Habits
- Avoid sticky, gummy, chewy, or hard food items. Examples include gum, caramels, taffy, whole bagels, popcorn, nuts, or ice cubes.
- Cut raw fruits and vegetables into sections.
- Cut corn off the cob.
- Do not bite into hard foodstuff.
- Avoid sugary snacks that can increase your risk for cavities and may damage your braces.
- Do not chew gum, even sugarless gum.
- Do not smoke or chew tobacco.
3) Useful Hints for Irritation
- If your appliance is causing persistent discomfort or becomes damaged or loose, then you should call your orthodontist for an appointment.
- If there is any sharp part of braces or orthodontic wire, then cover it with orthodontic relief wax or wet cotton pellet.
- Take any loose bands and any broken pieces to your orthodontist.
- Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater.
- You should call your orthodontist if there are any questions or doubts in your mind.
- Call your orthodontist immediately if a wire breaks or if a band or bracket comes loose.
- The orthodontist needs to schedule a special appointment to repair.
5) Important – Do Not Forget!
- If you are wearing night braces, retainers, or functional appliances, always carry it with you to each appointment.
- Broken or debonded brackets, loose molar bands, etc., will prolong treatment.
- Cooperation is a must in wearing elastics, night appliances, and all removable appliances for treatment success.
Instructions Regarding Orthodontic Appliances
- Separators are small elastics that are fit snugly between the molars to help move them slightly apart so that bands can be fitted around them after a few days.
- Do not floss where separators are placed.
- Check separators every day. It will fall on its own when enough space is created.
- When separators are placed, then your bite may feel bouncy.
- Your teeth may feel sore for the first one to two days.
- Immediately call for an appointment if they came out, as they need to be replaced.
- If they came out the day before the appointment, then no need to call.
- These are tiny rubber bands that are attached to your upper and lower bracket extension to enhance the progress of treatment.
- Elastics should be worn all the time except during cleaning.
- Try to eat with elastics as it will fasten the progress.
- A new set of elastics should be worn every day, morning and night, after brushing your teeth.
- If elastic breaks on one side, remove the other side's elastic and then replace either side with new elastics.
- Keep extra elastics with you all the time so that if elastic breaks, you can replace them immediately and so there will not be any discontinuation of force applied, and force applied will be correct.
- Wear your elastics and go for the appointment so that your orthodontist can check whether you are correctly using your elastics.
- If you think you are running short of elastics, you should contact your orthodontist and ask for the same.
Removable Orthodontic Appliances
- Wear your appliance strictly as instructed by your orthodontist.
- Brush your appliance and teeth twice daily and after every meal.
- Do not put the appliance in boiling water or bleaching agents for cleaning.
- Your speech will be difficult, and there will be plastic taste in the initial days, but the problem will sort out in a few days.
- After wearing the appliance in the initial few days, there will be excess salivation, but it will be controlled as you continue using it.
- If you are having any discomfort in wearing or adjustment of the appliance, then contact your orthodontist.
- When the appliance is not in use, please keep it in a plastic container.
- Keep away from pets.
- Do not use your tongue to remove your appliance. Know the correct method of appliance insertion and removal.
- If the appliance gets loose, bent, or broken, contact your orthodontist immediately.
- You have to wear Invisalign all the time except during eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. The aim should be around 22 hours per day.
- After brushing your teeth every morning and night, brush your Invisalign with your toothbrush and paste.
- It would be best if you cleaned your teeth after every meal and prior to the insertion of Invisalign to maintain proper oral hygiene.
- You have to eat and drink without wearing Invisalign. You can drink water wearing Invisalign. If you drink any other drink wearing them, then there are chances of staining and will increase the risk of decay.
- One should not smoke wearing Invisalign, as it may discolor.
- There will be discomfort in the initial few days for around 3 to 4 days after wearing new Invisalign, as every time it is aimed to exert pressure on some teeth.
- In the initial few days, you might have a lisp or difficulty in speech, with the time tongue get habitual to it.
- When not in use, you should keep your aligners in the case provided to avoid any damage or loss.
- You should follow your schedule at home to changing your aligners on specified dates. It is your responsibility. You should follow your appointment schedule punctually to ensure the progress of treatment.
What If You Lose Your Aligner?
Contact your orthodontist as soon as possible and resume wearing the previous aligner till you get the next one.