One of the most important things for an individual with braces to do is to keep the braces and teeth as clean as possible. It is not easy and takes some extra time. If oral hygiene is not good the result can be permanent discoloration of the teeth, which is seen when the braces are removed. Cavities too can occur but this is less common. The discoloration occurs when the bacteria in the plaque (the white stuff that accumulates around the braces) suck out minerals from the surface of the tooth leaving a permanent white stain. In addition, not keeping the braces clean can cause a build-up of plaque that will result in swelling of the gums.
You must get in the habit of brushing more frequently than usual. Dr. Silberman and his staff will introduce you to special little brushes that assist you in cleaning behind each wire. You must concentrate on brushing each bracket individually from all sides.
Occasionally wires can shift or bend causing a wire to poke you. Sometimes this is a sign of progress as the teeth move exposing more wire. Call the office and Dr. Silberman or one of his assistants will adjust the sharp edge for you. You will be given wax to apply to areas such as this. If a bracket comes loose please call the office promptly. This is not an emergency however Dr.Silberman will want to replace the bracket as soon as convenient. Progress is slowed down without this bracket in place.
If you are asked to wear rubber bands it is in your best interest to follow instructions exactly. Not wearing the rubber bands or wearing them incorrectly delays the day when the braces can be removed.
Similarly if asked to wear a retainer or removable appliance follow the instructions carefully. After the braces are finished retainer use is critical for long-term success. Your teeth will have a high likelihood of drifting back in the direction they came from. Use of a retainer after braces may be a lifelong commitment or in other words use the retainer as long as you want your teeth to stay straight. Teeth can shift over time due to bone changes, muscle changes, bone growth, new fillings or crowns and in general the aging process. The importance of retainers after braces cannot be understated.
Be careful what you eat. Overly hard foods like peanuts, raw carrots and certainly ice (never a good idea) and well as very sticky foods like fruit roll ups can bend and break wires and brackets, delaying progress. Be cautious and use good judgment.
Finally, braces can cause some soreness. This is common when a new wire is placed and usually goes away after a day or two. Eat soft things or what ever you can tolerate. Some patients find that chewing sugarless gums increases circulation around the teeth dissipating the chemicals involved the pain process. Of course you can take pain medication as necessary for discomfort-like Motrin or Ibuprofen-just follow the directions on the bottle.
Be patient. All the appointments and effort in orthodontics will have great and long lasting rewards: a more beautiful and healthy smile.Back