For patients in treatment

Caring for your teeth when wearing braces

Braces catch food which encourages dental plaque. So, to keep your teeth healthy you need to take special care while you wear braces:

After every meal

  • Brush with a soft toothbrush down along the top of your braces and then the bottom.
  • Then rinse with a high fluoride mouthwash for the places that your toothbrush can’t get to.

Every day

  • Floss your teeth by feeding the short end of the floss in the space between the main wire and the part of your tooth closest to the gum. Be gentle.

See your dentist throughout orthodontic treatment

During orthodontic treatment, it is important that you see your dentist regularly for a check up and preventative care, such as removing plaque before it causes tooth decay or gum problems.

Looking after your braces

When eating

You are able to eat most foods, but there are some you must avoid:

  • Hard foods – like apples, carrots, nuts, popcorn and ice
  • Sticky foods – like chewy lollies and bubble gum
  • Foods that you need to bite into – like corn on the cob

Instead of biting into your food, we recommend that you break it up into smaller pieces first.

While playing sports

You can continue an active life while you wear braces and that includes playing sport.

However, if you play contact sports, we strongly recommend a special mouth guard to protect your braces. Ask us for one.

In case of an accident

Sometimes your braces, bands or wires can become loose or break. If this happens, please call our practice for an appointment as soon as you can.

In the meantime, this is what you can do immediately –:

Loose brackets: Use a small piece of orthodontic wax to reattach the bracket. (We supply you with wax when we put your braces on). Then make an appointment to see us.

Loose bands: Keep the band to bring with you to your appointment. Then make an appointment to come and see us.

Broken wires: You can use the eraser end of a pencil to move broken or protruding wires to another position. (We recommend not cutting the wires yourself.)  Then make an appointment to come and see us.

Loose spacers: Make an appointment to come and see us, so we can reposition or replace your spacers.

Looking after your retainer

After we have removed your braces, you will need to wear a retainer or retainers to keep your teeth in their new positions. Retainers may be removable or fixed, according to your circumstances, which we will discuss with you.

Removable retainers

Removable retainers are plates that fit snugly over your teeth and you can put in and remove yourself. We recommend that you brush your retainer every time that you brush your teeth, and that you disinfect it with denture cleanser and warm water once a week.

If you break or lose your retainer you need to call us as quickly as possible for a replacement.

Fixed retainers

Fixed retainers are generally made of thin wire bonded close to the back of your teeth, where they cannot be seen.

They require checking and sometimes maintenance, such as gluing a tooth to the wire when a bond has failed. Therefore, if you notice that a tooth is moving or that a bond or the retainer wire has broken, you need to call us as soon as you can.

Caring for your teeth when wearing retainers

Because you cannot remove a fixed retainer while eating, plaque can easily build up in the tight spaces between your teeth and the wire.

We therefore recommend that you regularly brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash to slow plaque build up and that you see your dentist regularly to remove it before it causes tooth decay.

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