Learning how to properly care for dental braces is an important part of any orthodontic treatment. It is necessary for patients to be aware of the steps that they can take to ensure that braces do not become damaged since this can prolong the total treatment time and lead to unnecessary complications. Fortunately, the care instructions are rather simple, so once the patient becomes accustomed to certain lifestyle choices and a set routine, they will be easy to follow.
The care instructions are going to be different based on if a patient is wearing clear aligners to straighten their teeth or traditional fixed braces. Here is what you should know for both.
There are three things patients need to watch for when wearing clear aligners. First, it is important to make sure that they maintain their shape. Each aligner places pressure on specific teeth. Thus, if there is any change to the structure of the aligner, it can complicate the process.
Therefore, we need to make sure that patients do not drink anything warm or hot that could warp the aligners. Also, it is important to never eat with them in as this can damage or change their shape. Finally, it is necessary to remove the aligners using two hands.
The second concern with aligners is losing them. Many patients accidentally throw them away by placing aligner in a napkin at the lunch table. We recommend placing aligners in a case when the individual is not wearing them so that they do not accidentally get left behind or end up in the garbage.
Finally, patients need to be aware that aligners can break. Instead of placing them on the counter when brushing teeth, for example, we recommend threw them inside the hard case and closing the lid to ensure that if they get knocked on the floor, they will not be damaged.
If the patient is wearing fixed braces, whether metal or ceramic, there are care steps that must be followed to ensure that the wires do not become broken or the brackets dislodged. If either were to occur, it would require an emergency appointment to have them corrected and this could cause delays in the orthodontic treatment.
To prevent this, it is important that patients exercise caution when eating or putting anything in their mouth. We recommend avoiding anything that is very sticky since it could pull the wire or bracket. Likewise, anything that is very hard like crunchy carrots or nuts can dislodge the brackets from their position or break the wire. We will provide patients with the full list of foods that should be avoided to prevent this from happening.
We also recommend that patients wear a mouth guard if they play sports. This can prevent damage in the event that a ball or elbow was to collide with the face when playing or practicing sports.
When wearing dental braces, a person's oral health routine becomes even more important. It is necessary to brush after every meal, instead of just twice per day. Brushing is going to take a little more time when wearing traditional braces since food can easily become trapped around the brackets and in between the brackets and wires.
We provide patients with additional tools that can help during the cleaning process. Spending just an extra two minutes can make a big difference. Also, it is of critical importance that patients floss at least daily to prevent food and plaque from building up in between the teeth that could lead to eventual decay or an infection.
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We are happy to provide patients with information and tips to ensure their orthodontic treatment goes smoothly. We have the privilege of helping patients to achieve their goals by improving their smile and appearance. We can do the same for you and recommend scheduling a consultation so that you can get started.