Wearing Braces

Post-Procedure Care For Traditional & Clear Braces Treatment

Caring For Your Braces

After the bonding and adjustment appointments, you may feel some tenderness or sensitivity. This is common and will typically subside after a few hours, if discomfort continues talk with your orthodontist about over-the-counter remedies. Whether or not you have dental insurance, Beautiful Smiles Ontario offers convenient payment plans and schedules to help ensure your investment is well managed as a part of your monthly budget.

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The Steps Involved In Having Braces

Orthodontic Records

Appliances are another component of orthodontic treatment that may be necessary for some patients, depending upon the treatment and correction needed. Appliances may be fixed (attached), or removable. Once the appliance has done its job, it will no longer be needed. Not everyone will need an orthodontic appliance to complete treatment. During your orthodontic consultation Dr. Hosny will review recommended treatment, including any appliances, and provide an estimate for about how long they will be needed. Just like the entire treatment process, appliances typically are the most effective when worn or used as instructed by your orthodontist.

Bonding

Once the initial set of records is complete, the next step is bonding. In many cases, the records and bonding appointments can be done on the same day. Bonding is one of the longest appointments, and usually takes up to 90 minutes to complete. In this visit, your orthodontist and the staff will clean and prepare your teeth to have the brackets glued, or bonded, to your teeth. Your orthodontist will use study models and your records to correctly position the brackets on each tooth, using a special bonding agent and a curing light. Once all of the brackets are bonded, your orthodontist will insert the arch wires, which are held in place by the brackets. Finally, the elastics, or rubber bands, are placed over the brackets, holding the arch wires in place.

Once your bonding is complete, your orthodontist and staff will take the time to go over special tips and techniques for home care and maintenance to ensure your treatment goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. This information includes what foods to avoid, how to brush and clean between your brackets and wires, a review of the home care kit, instructions on handling common issues such as poking wires, frequency of appointments for adjustment of the brackets, and any specific instructions relating to appliances or special aspects of your treatment.

Adjustment Appointments

Once your bonding is complete, your jaw and teeth will begin to move, whether or not you can tell by looking in the mirror. Most adjustment appointments occur every 4 to 6 weeks and are fairly brief. Your orthodontist will assess your progress, talk with you about how you are doing and review any recommendations regarding at home oral hygiene and care, or appliance progress. Your orthodontist will also adjust the tension on the arch wires. Keeping up with adjustment appointments and following your orthodontist’s instructions and recommendations is the best possible way to make sure your braces treatment is as fast and effective as possible.

Debonding

Once your treatment is complete, it is time to take your braces off! Many people find this to be a great day to celebrate their hard work and progress. During the debonding appointment, the elastics, arch wires, and brackets are removed from your teeth. Next, your teeth are cleaned and polished. Then comes the best part: looking at your new, gorgeous smile and taking final records and photographs to compare to the originals. You will also have impressions made for retainers which will usually be ready in about two weeks.

Retainers

Retainers are the final step in orthodontic treatment. Retainers are designed to make sure your hard work pays off and your new smile stay properly aligned. Retainers may be fixed to the back of your teeth, or may be a removable unit made of plastic and wire.

Mouthguards

Mouthguards are designed to protect teeth from excessive wear or damage. Mouthguards are often used by athletes during sporting events, but may also be needed to help protect people with braces or dental bridges. Mouthguards typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. There are three basic types of mouthguards available:

  • Custom-fitted: A custom-fitted mouthguard is considered the best option because they are made to fit your mouth perfectly. Custom-fitted mouthguards are made by your dentist by taking an impression of your teeth. They tend to be more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized, usually offer the best fit.

  • Stock or Pre-Made: These are inexpensive and can be worn immediately. They are usually made of foam material. Typically, stock mouthguards do not usually fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult, which can be especially difficult to deal with if the mouthguard is for organized sports.

  • Boil and bite: These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. However, boil and bite mouthguards often still do not fit as well as a custom made mouthguard, and may still feel bulky, or may not fit well if you have braces. They are based on an “average” head and mouth size, and not everyone is average!

Cost & Insurance Coverage For Mouthguards

Insurance may cover some or all of the cost of a custom-fitted mouthguard. The cost of a mouthguard may vary. Your dentist or orthodontist can review the best type of mouthguard for you.

How Is A Custom Mouthguard Made?

A custom mouthguard is made at a dentist’s office. First, an impression is taken of your teeth. The impression is then sent to a lab which will create the mouthguard. In some cases, you may be able to choose the color of your mouthguard, or even select a clear mouthguard.

A week or two later, your mouthguard will be ready for a try-on. Your dentist or orthodontist will watch you try the mouthguard, and may adjust or trim it to make sure that it fits smoothly and securely in your mouth. Your mouthguard will typically come with a case to protect it when you are not using it.

Where Can I Get a Custom-Fitted Mouthguard?

Beautiful Smiles Ontario offer custom-fitted mouthguards as a part of our comprehensive oral health services. If you have braces or other orthodontic treatment and regularly participate in athletics or contact sports, we strongly recommend having a custom mouthguard made, as your teeth and mouth are more prone to injury when you have braces.

Caring For Your Mouthguard

The best way to get the most wear and protection from your mouthguard is to follow these general steps:

  • Rinse your mouthguard before and after each use, or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste if possible

  • Occasionally clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water, rinse thoroughly and allow it to air dry

  • Store and carry the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents

  • Never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water

  • Check for wear and tear to see if it needs to be replaced

Life With Braces

Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It's important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.

Eating with Braces

Don't worry, you'll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.

Foods you CAN eat with braces:

  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks

  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts

  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice

  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats

  • Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes

  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans

  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice

  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake

Foods to avoid with braces:

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice

  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice

  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum

  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies

  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Soreness Caused from Braces and Appliances

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).

If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

Loose Wires & Bands

The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.

You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.

Take Care Of Your Appliances

Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.

Playing Sports With Braces

Game. Set. Match. We have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it's recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.

In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and appliance for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.