How can I take care of my teeth when I have braces or a retainer?

  • Brushing and flossing cannot be neglected while in orthodontic treatment. Bacteria can, and will adhere to the brackets, and can cause inflammation of the gums and an increased chance of cavities forming.
  • We recommend using the Waterpik in conjunction with flossing to help maintain a healthy smile.
  • Routine dental checkups with our pediatric dentist will assist in making sure gum disease is not developing. If you need additional support, we recommend getting professional cleanings every three months for the duration of your orthodontic treatment.
  • Avoiding sticky, sugary and chew foods will keep your braces clean
  • Avoid biting into hard foods like apples if you have brackets, as this may de-bond the brackets.
  • Keep retainers clean by brushing gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also clean it with a denture cleaner as directed by your orthodontist.
  • Visit us regularly for your hygiene visits. Orthodontic appointments are not a substitute for regular dental wellness visits.

Do Braces or Invisalign Hurt?

Orthodontics generally does not cause pain, however many patients may experience temporary discomfort the first few days after a wire is changed or a new aligner is fitted. This is due to minor movements and bone regrowth around the teeth. An over-the-counter pain reliever may be used temporarily to assist in providing reprieve from the soreness. We also recommend gargling with luke warm salt water rinse. It is not uncommon for the soft tissues, like the cheek or lips to become irritated at the beginning of treatment, especially for those using traditional metal braces. We are happy to provide you with wax to put over the braces to lessen the tenderness.

What Do I do if I Have a Loose Wire or Bracket?

Should a wire or bracket loosen or come off please contact our office as soon as possible. Please try to save the broken appliance. In many cases we will need to change the wire or replace the bracket. Damaged appliances or braces can lengthen the treatment process, so be sure to be very careful when caring for your appliances. Your teeth and jaws can only be corrected if the appliances are consistently worn. If a wire is out of place and irritating, you can use wax to cover it or you may use a blunt object such as a pencil eraser to push the wire under a bracket or arch wire.

How Long do I Have to Wear Braces?

The amount of time it takes to give you the perfect smile with braces depends on a few different things:

  • Early treatment – Whether or not Phase 1 or early treatment was performed plays a significant role in the length of treatment. Usually, when Phase 1 was completed, the orthodontist can control the growth of the jaw and the eruption of the teeth. When it is recommended, completing Phase 1 treatment can greatly reduce treatment time for comprehensive or Phase 2 treatment.
  • What needs to be corrected – Treatment depends on what needs to be corrected. The more there is to correct, the longer treatment will take. Additionally, length of treatment varies based on a patient’s response to treatment. One person’s body may respond quickly, and only requires 12 months of treatment, whereas other people may require 24 months for the same treatment. This depends on bone density, and how long the teeth have been in their position.
  • The Patient! – The patient’s willingness to comply with directions, and use the appliances given to them plays a major role in treatment length. Taking good care of the braces and appliances, and avoiding broken brackets or wires will most certainly keep treatment time to a minimum.