Prevention

Care of Orthodontic Braces

Oral hygiene aids for orthodontic appliances

Fixed Appliances

  1. You are wearing a fixed appliance which is firmly cemented to your teeth.

  2. Initially your teeth may feel a little tender. The tenderness should pass in a few days as you get used to the appliance. If necessary use a pain relieving drug such as paracetamol.

  3. It is essential that your teeth and appliance are kept perfectly clean by careful brushing after every meal and before you go to bed. Food debris left around the teeth may cause decay, gum disease or permanent staining.

  4. A fluoride gel, (eg Gel Kam) or mouthwash ( eg Fluoriguard daily rinse 0.05%) after brushing at bed-time, will help protect your teeth from decay.

  5. You must avoid all sticky foods (eg toffee, chewing gum ) and also hard foods, as these will break the appliance.

  6. Avoid food & drink containing sugar between meals. Stick to savoury snacks/fruit & water or milk to drink.

  7. Treat your appliance carefully as breakages prolong the treatment.

  8. If you should break your appliance or if it should become loose, do not wait for your next appointment, but telephone the practice as soon as possible.

  9. If you unavoidably miss an appointment, please contact the practice to arrange a further appointment as soon as possible. There may be a charge for appointments broken without notice. Appliances must not be worn for long periods without supervision.

  10. Please remember to see your own dentist for your regular check ups.

Removable Appliances

  1. Success in your treatment depends very much on your co-operation. Please read and follow these instructions carefully.

  2. It takes a few days for even the best fitting appliance to feel absolutely comfortable in the mouth.

  3. Chewing may feel strange at first but this will improve after a few meals..

  4. Speech may be altered initially, but will return to normal within a few hours.

  5. You are wearing a removable appliance which is intended to be warn at all times- 24 hours a day; so you should eat, sleep, play sports etc. with the appliance in your mouth, unless you are instructed otherwise.

  6. Please keep your appliance perfectly clean to prevent tooth decay or gum problems. Therefore:

    - After breakfast and before going to bed, remove the appliance brush your teeth and your appliance, and replace immediately.

    - After any other meal, remove the appliance, brush teeth & brace and replace immediately.

    - Do not rinse out your toothpaste this will allow the fluoride to be more effective.

    - Supplement your toothpaste with a fluoride mouth wash ideally at least 30 minutes after brushing.

  7. Avoid all sticky foods, especially toffee and chewing gum as these may damage the appliance. Avoid sugary foods and drinks between meals. Stick to savoury or fruit. Drink water, milk, tea or coffee(without sugar) between meals.
    NB: When a gumshield is needed for sports, the brace should be removed and gumshield inserted.  Gumshields from the sports shop that you heat and mould yourself are useful. You will need to remould or replace the gum shield as the teeth move.

  8. Please look after your appliance. Lost appliances prolong the treatment and have to be paid for!!

  9. If the appliance breaks or becomes uncomfortable try to continue to wear the appliance, but contact the practice as soon as possible for an appointment.

  10. Please remember to see your own dentist for your regular check-ups.

Functional Appliances

  1. The appliance that you have works by stretching the muscles of the jaws, and influencing the direction of growth of your teeth and jaws.

  2. It will take a week or two to get used to the appliance. Initially the jaws or teeth may ache slightly, and you may find the appliance falls out at night.

  3. You should aim to wear the appliance all the time, except for meals and contact sports. Remember the brace only works when it is in your mouth, so the more you wear it the sooner your treatment will be completed.

  4. Please keep a record of the number of hours that you wear your appliance each day and bring it with you to each appointment. You will need to have your appliance checked approximately every six weeks.

  5. Keep your appliance and teeth clean to prevent decay and inflamed gums.

  6. After every meal, the brace should be removed, cleaned and the teeth cleaned with a fluoride toothpaste. Do not rinse your toothpaste away, just spit.

  7. Avoid sugary foods and drink between meals as they cause tooth decay.

  8. Supplement your toothpaste with a fluoride mouth wash ideally at least 30 minutes after brushing.

  9. If the appliance is painful or damaged in any way, please telephone the practice as soon as possible. Do not wait for your next appointment.

  10. Please remember to see your own dentist for your regular check-ups.

Removable Retainers

  1. The appliance you are now wearing is called a retainer. It is designed to hold the teeth in their new position now that your orthodontic treatment is complete.

  2. It is important to wear the appliance full-time to prevent any unwanted tooth movement. If it is left out for even two or three days, lost or broken, the teeth may quickly move and spoil all your past hard work.

  3. Please keep your appliances perfectly clean to prevent tooth decay or gum problems, therefore:

    - After breakfast and before going to bed, remove the appliance, brush your teeth and appliance and replace immediately..

    - After any other meal, remove the appliance, brush teeth and brace and replace immediately.

    Do not rinse out your toothpaste this will allow the fluoride to be more effective

    - Supplement your toothpaste with a fluoride mouth wash ideally at least 30 minutes after brushing.

  4. Please contact the practice as soon as possible if you can no longer wear the appliance. Lost appliances must be paid for although repairs are free of charge.

  5. After a few months of full-time wear, and if everything is satisfactory, you will be asked to reduce wear to night-time only. The prospect of teeth staying absolutely in position will vary from one individual to another and is not wholly predictable. Long term wear of retainers at night time will minimise these changes.
  6. Please remember to see your own dentist for your regular check ups.

Bonded Retainers

Bonded retainers are used after the completion of you orthodontic treatment to prevent the teeth from moving out of alignment.  They are thin metal wires that are glued to the backs of the teeth.  The wires are usually placed out of sight, behind the upper and lower front teeth.

The bonded retainer will need thorough regular cleaning. This is achieved by using a normal toothbrush (manual or electric) and by cleaning in-between the teeth regularly (at least three times weekly). Cleaning between the teeth is quite tricky.  This must be undertaken with care so as not to dislodge the wire retainer. We will be happy to help find the best way for you.

  • Floss.
    This is a thin nylon thread that is used to clean between the teeth. This can be achieved by threading the floss through the gap between your teeth with a floss threader. The gap can be flossed as normal by stroking the floss up and down the sides of the teeth and gently below the gum.

  • Interdental brush.
    A small sized interdental bottle brush that should slip easily under the wire behind the teeth; you will need to be shown the correct size for your mouth.  Although simple this method doesn’t clean under the gum as efficiently as floss but will often be sufficient.

  • Quit brushstic.
    These are thin tapered flexible plastic sticks.  They are used at the gum level in between the teeth.  Pass the ‘brushstic’ gently through the gaps  along the gum line and stroke up and down the side of the teeth. Although simple this method doesn’t clean under the gum as efficiently as floss but will often be sufficient.