Caring for braces during treatment and retention
For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.
Avoid sticky foods like:
Gum (sugar-free or regular)
Avoid hard foods like:
Bread with thick/hard crust (french bread, pizza)
Corn on the cob
Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
It’s important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately to arrange an appointment for repair.
Direct injuries to the mouth and teeth
Following a direct injury to your mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, you should be seen by your regular dentist as soon as possible. Usually a radiograph of the involved tooth, or teeth, is needed to ascertain the extent of the injury. If a tooth has been knocked out, severely displaced or fractured, it is best to contact your family dentist first, since we may not have the necessary materials needed to treat these injuries. If the orthodontic appliances are dislodged to displaced, we will need to replace or adjust them as soon as possible.
Broken orthodontic appliances
Broken or disturbed appliances can occur from time to time during your orthodontic care. If there is any disturbance, such as loose bands or broken and poking wires, call our office as soon as possible so we can evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule you to be seen accordingly. In the interim, the following are helpful hints to remedy some of the problems you may encounter until you can be seen in the office:
1. If a wire is irritating your mouth, cover it with orthodontic wax or tuck it under the arch wire using a blunt object such as a pencil eraser or Q-tip.
2. A loose band or bracket can generally be left in place until repaired. Call the office as soon as you notice a loose band or bracket so we can schedule you to repair the loose appliance.
3. A broken arch wire, or one that is irritating the gum or cheek tissue, needs to be evaluated as soon as possible for replacement or adjustment.
4. A removable appliance that is not fitting well, is not to be worn until it can be properly adjusted in our office. Call the office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.
Should an urgent orthodontic problem occur after normal business hours, please call the office at 706/291-0383. Follow the instructions.
Removing braces signals the start of the retention and observation period of your orthodontic care. Please remember that this part of your orthodontic treatment is just as important as the active movement phase in determining the ultimate success of your treatment. Once the teeth have been moved into their desired positions, a period of time is needed to stabilize the teeth so that the surrounding bone and soft tissues can conform to your new dental alignment. Upper and lower clear and upper and lower bonded retainers will be the retainers you will have for retention.
How long are retainers worn?
The final observation and retention period of treatment normally spans approximately one year. During this period, appointments are scheduled with decreasing frequency. At first, retainers are worn at all times, except when eating, brushing, flossing, or during active sports. As retention continues, the retainers are generally worn at night or as instructed. Each person’s requirements are different.
Indefinite wear on a part-time basis is recommended to maintain the desired changes that have been achieved.
Will my teeth move back after treatment?
Orthodontists are aware that as retainers are discontinued, there may be minor changes in tooth position. The position and fit of teeth generally changes throughout your life, with or without orthodontic treatment. Our goal in the retention phase of your treatment is to limit these changes to the natural process of accommodation while maintaining both a good functional and aesthetic result.
Taking care of retainers
Keeping the retainer either in the mouth or its case will avoid loss or breakage that would lead to extra expense. Brushing the retainer with cool water and soaking it in a cleanser periodically will keep it fresh. Never place your retainer in hot water, as it may become distorted and require replacement. Beware of putting your retainer in a pocket where it might become broken. Also, avoid leaving it out where pets could find it or where it may become lost. Many retainers are lost when wrapped in a napkin rather than placing it in your retainer case.
What if a retainer is lost or broken?
Phone the office right away for an appointment to replace or repair your retainer. Although there is a charge for replacement or repair, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to protect the investment you have made in your orthodontic care.