Caring for Your Braces
At Robinson Orthodontics, we believe patient education is the cornerstone of successful treatment. Taking the proper precautions and understanding certain risks can help you better protect your braces. The goal is to minimize potential complications, resulting in a safer, more comfortable, and more effective orthodontic experience.
Brushing and Flossing with Braces
While wearing braces, maintaining proper oral hygiene is a must. Unfortunately, the brackets, wires, and elastic bands make it more difficult to brush and floss your teeth. This places you at a greater risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental diseases during your treatment with braces.
Food is more likely to get trapped by the components of your braces, which encourages the buildup of plaque, tartar (calcified plaque), and harmful bacteria. We recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day, especially after meals and before bed. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle technique to avoid damaging your appliance.
Flossing is also vital to your oral health, especially with braces. However, the wire that stretches across your smile makes it more difficult to reach the areas between your teeth. For this reason, we usually suggest a special type of floss that is easier to thread around the wire and your teeth. It is important to remember that aggressive flossing can also lead to a damaged appliance.
Foods to Avoid
Although braces are fairly durable, certain foods can still cause problems. Avoiding these foods can reduce your risk of a broken or loose bracket or wire. We will give you a list of foods to skip after we place your braces.
Generally, we suggest avoiding chewy, sticky, and particularly hard foods. Chewy or sticky foods, such as caramels and gummy candies, can get stuck to your brackets and elastic bands. In some instances, these foods can even pull a bracket off a tooth. Crunchy or hard foods like raw vegetables and popcorn kernels can also cause significant damage, such as a broken bracket.
Preventing Additional Damage
If you or your child participate in certain sports, we may recommend a mouth guard to protect your teeth and appliance. A blow to the face is one of the leading causes of tooth damage, trauma, and broken braces. A mouthguard serves as a plastic barrier between your teeth and soft tissues, shielding your braces from potential damage during sports like football, basketball, and hockey.
What to Do When You Damage Your Braces
Even with excellent care, accidents happen. Some components may break or snap due to regular wear and tear as well. Knowing what to do when a problem arises can save you from additional complications.
If damage does occur, be sure to give us a call as soon as possible. Never attempt to fix an issue without consulting with us first. We may recommend using orthodontic wax to dull a sharp edge of a wire or temporarily reattach a loose bracket. In many cases, an emergency appointment for repairs is the best course of action.
Schedule an Appointment
If you are currently experiencing trouble with your braces, you may be in need of an immediate appointment. Call (541) 441-8288 to schedule an appointment now! Our team is also happy to help answer questions and address concerns over the phone.