Your orthodontic work represents an investment by you and your parents in your future health and well being. Braces are not forever, but a smile is!! It is important to realize, therefore, that the following instructions are designed to insure the success of your orthodontic treatment.
  1. Hygiene and tooth brushing

Good oral hygiene is a must during orthodontic treatment. Every time you visit our office, we will check your hygiene to make sure you are properly cleaning your teeth and gums. Food and plaque can build up very easily around the braces and wires, and therefore, it is very important that you become a meticulous cleaner during the active phase of treatment. Dirty teeth and gums cause decay, mouth odor, and unsightly appearance. Inflammation of your gums as a result of poor oral hygiene can slow the movement of your teeth prolonging overall treatment time. It does take more time to clean your teeth when wearing braces – be patient with yourself! You must brush or rinse after all meals or snacks. Always check in a mirror to be sure that your teeth are clean. The most important place to brush is that part of the tooth between your braces and your gums. Your braces should “shine” when thoroughly clean. Flossing can still be done and we will show you how to use it around the braces. Use of water pick and/or Stim-U-dents are also good adjuncts for proper hygiene. Use of fluoride rinse (Act or Flouoriguard) during active treatment is also strongly recommended.

  1. Foods

Soft foods will be necessary during the initial period of treatment. You may find that you will not be able to bring you teeth together to eat any hard or tough foods. Sticky foods such as caramel, candied apples, taffy, and chewing gum should be avoided. No hard pretzels, popcorn, pizza crust, “Gummy-Bears” and “Now or Laters” are permitted. Also, corn-on-the-cob, celery, and apples cannot be readily eaten. These must be cut up into smaller pieces and chewed on the back teeth. DO NOT DRINK SODA or other carbonated drinks. The sugars and/or carbonic acid can cause staining (decalcification) and cavities very quickly. DO NOT CHEW ICE!

  1. What you can expect over the first 2-5 days

-Generalized soreness throughout the mouth
-Not being able to close your teeth together when you bite
-Sore teeth
-Chapped lips
-Slight numbness of nose and lips which is transitory and the feeling will come back (This occurs as teeth are moving and impinging on some of the nerves).

  1. Prescriptions for pain

You should not need a prescription for pain medication. I recommend aspirin, for those not allergic to it, for soreness or an aspirin-like medication (Tylenol, Advil) for pain. Please have a full stomach when taking such medications and never allow these to dissolve in the mouth. Cold foods such as ice cream can help alleviate any soreness, as the coldness will tent to nub the gums and teeth, helping you to get through this initial transition period.

  1. Chapped lips

The use of Chapstick, Blistex, or Vaseline on your lips is recommended as necessary to prevent dryness that occurs during treatment.

  1. The cheeks have to toughen up

Before orthodontics, the cheeks and lips have been used to your nice smooth teeth. After the braces and wires have been placed, however, it takes a while for the cheeks and lips to get used to them. During this initial phase of orthodontics, they will “toughen up”. Placing wax against the braces and the wire will help to reduce any irritations and discomfort to the lips and cheeks this can also help to prevent any ulcerations from occurring. Sugarless chewing gum can be used in place of the wax, should you temporarily run out of the wax. Call or drop by the office to pick up more wax should you need it before your next appointment. Rinsing with warm water and salt will also greatly help to reduce overall soreness and is strongly recommended. Place a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water (not boiling) and simply rinse as many times during the day as needed.
Should an ulcer develop, these are best treated by rinsing first with Peroxyl rinse (hydrogen peroxide) followed by application of Orabase. The Orabase can be applied with a Q-tip applicator or with the tip of your finger. Rinsing with warm water and salt will also promote healing. Please call the office if you have questions or concerns – do not suffer until your next appointment.

  1. Appointments

Unfortunately, we cannot see all our patients after school, but we make every effort to see the patients after school with short appointments. Therefore, we request that all long appointments or banding appointments be made during the morning hours. We find that the patient is much more rested during that time and the saliva control is usually better during the morning than after lunch. We like to see our patients every four to six weeks for activation of the braces and it is your responsibility to keep and maintain each appointment. If you need to change the appointment, please try and call the office 24 hours in advance so that another patient may be accommodated.

  1. Emergencies

For any emergency, such as a wire cutting into your lip, please do not hesitate to call us immediately. You may either call the office (483-1816) or my home (457-9392). We will get to see you as soon as possible. However, if I am currently out of town or unattainable, please call your family dentist or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

  1. Loose bands, broken braces and wires

If something should happen to your braces between office visits, then we would like to hear from you, even if it is not bothering you or there is no pain. When something breaks, the braces do not work the way they are supposed to and the teeth stop moving. Or, if a wire is bent, the teeth may move in a direction not originally intended. In any event, broken braces, loose bands, etc… slow down treatment!! So, it is you best interest that you take good care of your braces and call us immediately when something breaks or becomes loose. If you are not sure than please call and check with us, we’ll be happy to answer any questions or concerns.

  1. Routine dental visits

We recommend that you maintain regular visits with your family dentist for routine examinations and cleaning throughout orthodontic treatment.

More Information:

Please feel free to call our office today for a complimentary visit for an orthodontic evaluation.