Information for Patients

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for several days. During this time you may want to use ibuprofen (brand name Advil or Motrin), an over-the-counter pain medication. Eating softer foods such as soup or pasta may help with the discomfort. Warm salt-water rinses may be soothing. The lips, cheeks and tongue may become irritated for the first couple of weeks as they become accustomed to the surface of the braces. Placing wax over the braces in these areas will reduce the irritation.

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Loosening of Teeth

At times you may notice that your teeth feel loose. This is to be expected throughout treatment and is normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will eventually become rigidly fixed in their new positions.

Food

To prevent breaking or damaging your braces or arch wires, please avoid sticky, crunchy or hard foods such as ice, pizza crust, hard pretzels, hard chips, caramel,
hard or sticky candy, gum, hard rolls, bagels, nuts, and popcorn. Also avoid biting on things such as pens, pencils and fingernails, which can also cause damage the braces.

These foods may be eaten with caution: Raw carrots and apples (cut them up into small pieces first), corn on the cob (cut it off the cob) and soft drinks (high sugar content
feeds oral bacteria, causing cavities).

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Loosening of Teeth

At times you may notice that your teeth feel loose. This is to be expected throughout treatment and is normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will eventually become rigidly fixed in their new positions.

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Alternative snacks that will not harm your braces:

  • Fresh Fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Smoothies
  • Chocolate (No Nuts)
  • Ice Cream
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • Cheese

Compliance

Teamwork is the key to successful orthodontic care. The teeth and jaws can only move into their corrected positions with your compliance and consistently following the instructions given. This includes keeping all scheduled appointments, maintaining excellent oral hygiene, and wearing the prescribed appliances (such as headgear or elastics) as requested. Non-compliance will delay completion of your treatment or result in a less optimal outcome.

Oral Hygiene

Excellent oral hygiene is essential while wearing braces. Leaving plaque and tartar on your teeth will lead to scarring and cavities and may extend your treatment time. It is important to brush after every meal and floss at least once per day. We will show you specific techniques and tools for cleaning around braces. Continue your routine of regular dental cleanings and exams. If needed, more frequent cleanings (every 3 to 4 months) may be recommended while wearing braces.

Athletics/Injury

mouthguard-pngA protective mouthguard is advised for anyone playing contact sports. Should you have any trauma to your face or teeth resulting in broken appliances, loose teeth, or bone fractures, please call our office immediately for an appointment.

Oral Hygiene

Teamwork is the key to successful orthodontic care. The teeth and jaws can only move into their corrected positions with your compliance and consistently following the instructions given. This includes keeping all scheduled appointments, maintaining excellent oral hygiene, and wearing the prescribed appliances (such as headgear or elastics) as requested. Non-compliance will delay completion of your treatment or result in a less optimal outcome.

Emergency Care

True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem, or in the case of after-hours calls you will be directed to call one of us directly.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with our office. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment.

Poking Wire

Occasionally, an arch wire may shift, or extend past the last band, resulting in a poking wire. Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort, and call our office to make an appointment to adjust or clip the protruding wire.

Loose Bracket or Band

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the band or bracket comes off entirely, please save it and bring it to your next appointment. Each breakage will extend your treatment by approximately one month.

Loose Wire

Using a tweezers, try to place your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax does not help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire
behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.

Loose Appliance

If your fixed appliance becomes loose, please call our office as soon as practical. We will schedule an appointment to evaluate the problem and recement it as needed. If the appliance has come out of the mouth, remember to save it and bring it to your next appointment.

Headgear Does Not Fit

Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Surprisingly, the headgear may hurt less if it’s worn more, so be sure you’re getting in the prescribed hours. The headgear needs to be adjusted periodically during treatment as the teeth move which may explain why it is no longer fitting. Please refer to the instructions provided when we first gave you the headgear. If the metal bow is bent, please call our office for assistance.

General Soreness

When separators are placed or when you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This will usually be relieved by using over-the-counter ibuprofen, commonly called Advil or Motrin. Either the generic ibuprofen or the brand named drugs are fine and can be dosed as directed on the bottle, usually every 6-8 hours, until the discomfort dissipates.

If you are unable to take ibuprofen, acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be used as directed on the bottle. In our experience we have found this is helpful but just not as effective as the ibuprofen. Warm salt water rinses may also be soothing after appliance placement. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth.

The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!