Home Care Instructions: Braces
We do everything we can to keep our patients happy during their orthodontic treatment, and there are three things that we ask our patients to do to keep themselves happy.
- Brush and Floss! This is so important! Brushing and flossing can mean the difference between a great orthodontic result and a poor one. We don’t want you to have a poor one, and after all the time and effort that will be going into your braces, you probably don’t want a poor one either. If you need to see pictures of poor hygiene, let us know! They’re pretty awful, and you definitely don’t want YOUR teeth to end up like that!(Keeping your teeth and braces clean will allow you to upgrade your beginning grey o-rings to the color of your choice!)
- Keep Your Appointments. If you miss a lot of appointments, guess what? You will be in braces longer than you have to be! Also, if you miss appointments without calling us to let us know, you may end up getting charged for these.It is very important that Dr. Ruby sees you on a regular scheduled basis. If not properly monitored, braces can cause problems that can possibly cause you to have braces longer than expected.
- Follow Instructions! It is very important to do what Dr. Ruby and her smile team tell you to do. Following their instructions will allow you to keep your treatment time on schedule. Not doing what you are asked to do will extend your treatment time. You will be in braces longer if you do not follow directions.
- Be Patient! All treatment times that we have talked about are only estimates. Everyone is different, and everyone’s teeth move at different rates. Your teeth will “look done” to you long before they really are. The part of the tooth that you see moves faster than the root, which you don’t see. If you take the braces off before the root has moved, guess what? The tooth will move right back to where the root wants it. Remember that Dr. Ruby is a professional in orthodontics, and he is trained to see many things about our teeth that the rest of us do not. He will not keep you in braces any longer than he has to, but at the same time, he doesn’t want to let you out of them before you are totally done. He takes your teeth seriously!
Simply stated, spacers create space. Eventually, you will have a couple of bands around your back teeth, and right now, there is probably no room to put those bands. Spacers are little rubber bands that separate those back teeth from the rest of your teeth just enough to place a band around them.
You may be getting spacers today, or you may be getting them next time you come in. They may be a little uncomfortable, but taking ibuprofen or some kind of pain reliever either before the appointment or as soon as possible afterward should help.
When and if Dr. Ruby tells you to wear your rubber bands, just wear them. Why? First, if you don’t wear them, you are going to be “stuck” in braces for much longer than you would normally be. Second, Dr. Ruby is going to know! She can tell if you’ve
been wearing them, no matter what you might try to tell
him. Rubber bands are a GOOD SIGN! They mean you are getting closer to the end of your treatment, so don’t stop now!
Parts of Your Braces
Here is a diagram of everything that will be in your mouth for the next couple of years. It is important to learn a few basics so that if something does break or come loose, you can tell us what it is. Some things can wait, and some can’t. If you know exactly what it is that’s broken or loose, we can tell you if you need to come in right away or not.
You, Your Braces and Food
We know you are worried about this, but rest assured, you will not starve. It will be difficult to eat for a few days, but you will get used to your braces pretty quickly and be eating normally soon.
Have soft food on hand for the day you get your braces on. Things like soup, yogurt, pudding, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, & scrambled eggs will help you get through those first few days.
Next, there are things you MUST AVOID with braces! These are:
- Gum of any kind (even sugarless)
- Sticky, chewy, and hard candy of any kind (like Skittles, Now and Laters, Gummi Bears, Caramels, and Tootsie Rolls)
- Foods that are really hard like nuts, some taco chips, some bagels, and the hard outer edge of pizza crusts
- Corn on the cob. Just cut the corn off the cob, and you’ll be fine.
- Pure, non-diluted lemon juice. Lemon in your iced tea or on your fish is fine, but don’t eat raw lemons. (Yes, some people actually do this.) The pure lemon juice can eat away at the enamel on the surface of your tooth. Not good!
- Chewing on ice