Home Care and Hygiene

I feel that a patient's health, specifically their dental health, is paramount in orthodontic treatment. I have a responsibility to ensure that orthodontic treatment will not harm the overall dental health of the patient. In return, each patient has a responsibility during orthodontic treatment to maintain meticulous care of their teeth through excellent dental hygiene and a proper diet.
- Dr. Bedont

Brushing

With braces in place, it's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen throughout the length of your treatment. You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food becomes caught in the brackets and between your teeth and can only be removed by brushing and flossing. If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it can leave a permanent white scar on the surface (decalcifications). Brushing after meals should become part of your daily schedule. Use a soft toothbrush and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth in small circles above and below the brackets. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray.

A waterpik can be a useful addition to remove large food debris from the braces, but it alone cannot remove the sticky plaque that adheres to the teeth. An electric toothbrush such as a Sonicare can be used to help remove plaque. Flossing is important with braces and is accomplished using reusable floss threaders.

Eating Habits

Please do not eat hard foods including nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spare ribs, and corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating). These foods can cause breakage of the brackets and wires. Also beware of nail-biting and pen- or pencil-chewing habits, since these can damage your braces. Do not eat sticky foods like taffy, caramels, bubble gum or sticky candy of any sort. Use common sense about most foods. Excessive broken appliances due to careless eating habits may result in additional charges for repair.

Teeth are more prone to decalcification (white spots) around the brackets during orthodontic treatment. One of the common causes is from frequently drinking sugary or acidic liquids such as soda or juice. It is best to eliminate this from your diet and only drink water, or at the very least drink soda or juice only during meals, and brush afterwards.

Braces

Check your braces frequently (at least once a week) for anything loose or bent. If a bracket or band comes loose or you break a wire, please call our office so we can arrange an appointment long enough to repair it.

Sore Teeth

After braces are placed in the mouth, it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about 2 to 3 days. Tylenol or Advil/Motrin will help relieve this discomfort. Some irritation to the cheeks and tongue is normal, particularly during the first few weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces; but if you feel anything sharp is poking you, please call our office. You can put wax on the braces to help lessen any irritation.

Loosening of teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don't worry! It's normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new - corrected - positions

Elastics

Attached to your braces, elastics (rubber bands) create the right amount of pressure to move teeth and correct your bite. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the times and changed at least once a day. Any time missed in wearing your elastics will only prolong your treatment, so make sure to wear them as instructed. Remove them only when brushing your teeth or eating meals. Then put them back on immediately. If you forget to wear your elastics one day, don't double up the next day - just follow your regular instructions.