Instructions for braces
We’re here to make your braces treatment a simple and enjoyable experience from start to finish. Here are some of our favourite tips and tools for making the most out of your braces treatment.
Brushing with braces
We recommend a minimum of 5 minutes of brushing each morning and night to keep plaque from building up around your braces. It is important to concentrate on the line where your teeth and gum tissue meet, and also spend extra time scrubbing around your brackets, as these areas are more prone to plaque build-up. If we are concerned that your tooth-brushing method is not sufficient enough, we will have you practise brushing your teeth in our mirror before your adjustment appointments.
Here are some of our recommended tools for keeping your teeth clean:
Electric toothbrush – The Oral-B “Pulsar” toothbrush can be used in the same manner as a regular toothbrush, but the vibrations help to remove plaque and food caught in the braces.
Orthodontic toothbrush – This toothbrush has specially designed bristles that help to get in between the braces to remove plaque and dislodge food.
Interdental brushes – An interdental toothbrush allows access to areas under brackets and wires. This helps remove stubborn food and clean away plaque that was missed in your regular tooth brushing routine. The interdental brush has a fine tip that enables you to slide the brush under the wires and around the brackets. Do not force the brush between gaps in your teeth and always aim away from your gums.
Disclosing tablets (Disclotabs) are used as an indication of how well you are brushing your teeth. After brushing your teeth, chew one tablet and let it sit under your tongue for 30 seconds or until it has dissolved completely. Swish the liquid around your mouth for another 30 seconds, to ensure you spread it over all the surface areas of your teeth.
Rinse your mouth out really well until what you are spitting out is clear. Check your teeth in the mirror. Any areas on the teeth that are stained dark pink or red from the Disclotabs are areas that you have missed when brushing your teeth. It’s best to use these tablets once a week for the first month of braces treatment as you adjust to your new brushing routine. After that, you can use the Disclotabs once a month, or as needed to check that your brushing is adequate.
Brace relief wax
Wax is very useful if your braces are rubbing or cutting the inside of your cheeks, lips or gums. If any bracket or wire is causing irritation, dry the area and apply a small portion of the wax to the bracket/wire. If the wax is accidentally swallowed when eating it is okay, as the wax is non-toxic. It is very important to remove all of the wax before brushing to make sure you get a thorough clean.
Oral-B Tooth & Gum Care
Oral-B Tooth & Gum Care is a mouth rinse designed to strengthen any areas that are prone to plaque build-up or are difficult to reach with your toothbrush. We recommend that you use this mouthwash once a week. After brushing your teeth, hold the rinse in your mouth for one minute while swishing it around all your braces – then spit it out. It’s best to use the rinse before going to bed because we don’t recommend eating or drinking anything for a while after use to ensure the proper effect. It is important to keep the rinse out of the reach of young children who may swallow it.
What do I do if my braces break?
If any piece of your braces breaks or comes loose, or if you are having problems with long wires poking the inside of your mouth, please contact our practice as soon as possible. We may not need to see you immediately; however, the sooner the problem can be fixed, the better.
What can I eat while wearing braces?
You can still eat most of your favourite foods during braces treatment. When eating fresh fruits, vegetables and meats (especially steak), you should cut the food into small, bite-sized pieces and try to chew on your back teeth. Do not bite directly into apples, carrots, corn on the cob etc, because these hard foods can cause the brackets to break away from the teeth. For the health of your braces, it’s also best to avoid nuts, popcorn, ice and boiled lollies. Do not eat sticky or chewy foods such as caramels, toffees, chewing/bubble gum and minties. These foods can cause unnecessary breakages and become lodged between the wires. It is also important not to chew on pens, pencils, etc. as extra bends in the wires can result, causing teeth to move in unwanted directions.
Will braces treatment hurt?
There will be some initial discomfort for a few days after your braces are fitted, and discomfort can also be expected at major adjustment appointments. This discomfort should only last for a few days and can be relieved with the use of paracetamol or ibuprofen.
How often will I need appointments?
We will need to see you frequently once your braces have been fitted. Initial adjustments may be as frequent as every 5 weeks, but as the teeth start to straighten and we switch to different wires, the adjustments may be as far as 3 months apart. It is important to keep your adjustment appointments so that your teeth move in accordance with your custom treatment plan.