It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy during orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. Watch the two videos below on the proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment.
What can you eat?
Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be
able to bite a cucumber again. But you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces.
Foods to Avoid
Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice
Sticky foods: caramels, gum
Hard foods: nuts, candy
Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 – 5 days. Take Tylenol or whatever you normally take for headache or discomfort. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces. We will supply wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort.
Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can move. The teeth firm up in their new — corrected — positions after treatment is completed.
Loose Wire or Band
Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire sticks out and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the problem.
Rubber Band Wear
To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Lack of cooperation following instructions and damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time… so please … follow instructions.
If you play sports, it’s important you let us know. A protective mouth guard is provided for playing contact sports.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that most children should have an orthodontic screening by age 7. This allows All About Smile Dental Group to determine if orthodontic treatment will be required and the best time for the patient to be treated. Many of the dentists in our community have been trained to identify orthodontic problems early, and may refer you to our office earlier than age 7.
Why are children being evaluated at such an early age?
Early diagnosis and treatment can guide erupting teeth into a more favorable position, preserve space for permanent teeth, and reduce the likelihood of fracturing protruded front teeth.
Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment, after all the permanent teeth erupt.
Does early treatment benefit all children?
Early treatment does not necessarily benefit all children. Certain types of orthodontic problems can be more easily and efficiently corrected in the teen years when all the permanent teeth have erupted. Some skeletal orthodontic problems should not be addressed until growth is more advanced or completed. The doctors develop a plan for treatment based on each individual child’s needs. If the doctor decides the patient is not ready for treatment, they are placed on our orthodontic supervisory program.
What is the Orthodontic Supervisory Program?
The orthodontic supervisory program is for patients who are not ready for treatment and have been placed on recall. This program enables us to monitor the eruptive pattern of the permanent teeth. Sometimes, poor erupted patterns of permanent teeth may be eliminated with early removal of baby teeth and reduce the treatment time required for braces. We will notify your general dentist of any recommendations made during your visit. We normally see the patients on recall every 6-8 months to observe their progress as they grow. There is no fee for this program and it helps the orthodontist determine the optimum time to begin treatment and achieve the best possible result for your child.
In addition to a beautiful new smile, what are some other benefits of orthodontic treatment?
Braces can improve function of the bite and teeth, improve ability to clean the teeth, prevent wear on the teeth, and increase the longevity of natural teeth over a lifetime.
If a child has treatment early, will this prevent the need for braces as an adolescent?
Early treatment can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing, and simplify future treatment. Because all of the permanent teeth have not yet erupted when early treatment is performed, their final alignment may not have been corrected. Typically, a shortened comprehensive phase of treatment (Phase II – full braces) in the teen years, after all the permanent teeth have erupted, completes the correction. However, in some circumstances, further orthodontic treatment may not be indicated.
Do we still need to see our family dentist during orthodontic treatment?
Patients with braces and other orthodontic appliances require more effort to keep their teeth and gums clean. Because we want to insure the highest level of dental health, we recommend you see your family dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings every 6 months during treatment.
Orthodontics is not just for children and teens. In fact, 1 in every 5 patients in orthodontic treatment is an adult. No one is too old for orthodontic treatment.
Adults seek orthodontic treatment for many of the same reasons as children. Some adults had orthodontic problems as children but were unable to correct them until now. Others, who had treatment as children, may need further treatment as adults due to relapse or limitations in initial treatment.
Benefits of Treatment
Adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment in many ways. These include:
• Align the teeth to create a more aesthetic and beautiful smile
• Correct relapse after previous orthodontic treatment due to lack of long term retainer wear
• Improve the ability to brush and floss, especially for crowded or overlapping lower front teeth
• Create a better or more comfortable bite and ability to chew
• Address missing teeth
• Close spaces between the teeth
• Reduce excessive wear on the teeth due to grinding or poor bite
• Jaw surgery to correct discrepancy between the upper and lower jaws.
Appearance of Braces
Many adults are concerned with the appearance of braces. Often, Invisalign (The invisible alternative to braces) can be used to treat adults. This technology involves clear removable aligners, fabricated through advanced 3D imaging to align the teeth. For more severe problems, we have the option of clear ceramic brackets instead of metal.
Orthodontic treatment is no more uncomfortable for adults than children. Adults undergoing orthodontic treatment report the same level of soreness as children (although adults are more willing to tell us about the soreness).
Typically, the teeth are most uncomfortable 12-24 hours after an orthodontic adjustment and will disappear within 3 to 5 days. Modern appliances are smaller and more comfortable to wear. Modern techniques, with the new titanium technology, put less pressure on the teeth to cause discomfort, while moving the teeth more rapidly and efficiently. It also decreases the time required between adjustments to every 8 – 10 weeks. Treatment time, on average, is completed in 15-18 months.
The fee for adult orthodontic treatment is determined the same way as child or adolescent treatment. It is based on the severity of the problem, the complexity of the correction, the appliances used and the length of time to correct. All About Smile Dental Group has treated individuals in their 50’s, 60’s and even their 70’s. It is never too late to gain the smile you have always wanted.