Looking after your braces

Remember that a healthy oral environment will speed up your orthodontic treatment.
While you are wearing fixed braces you must avoid hard, sticky or chewy foods. The brackets (little blocks bonded onto your teeth) may break off if you bite or chew something hard. This means you should also not bite your nails or chew on a pen or pencil. Breakages to your brace will significantly slow down your orthodontic treatment.

Always follow any instruction regarding wearing of elastics during your treatment. This is essential for the success of your treatment. Failure to wear elastics for the prescribed time each day and/or night may add up to 12 months to your treatment time. It may also lead to an unacceptable treatment result.

If a TAD (temporary anchorage device; ‘gum stud’) has been placed in your mouth, additional care must be taken to keep it clean and plaque free. Written care instructions will be given to you on the day your orthodontist places your TAD/TADs.

Removable braces can be cleaned by brushing with a toothbrush and toothpaste under running water. Please do not put it in the dishwasher! Soaking in a weak solution of Milton will keep it fresh and bacteria free. When it is not in your mouth, keep it in its protective box to prevent damage.

Wearing braces will not damage your
teeth, but not brushing your teeth will.
Plaque and food must be removed by brushing and flossing every morning, evening and after eating. Plaque build up will cause the gums to swell up and bleed, decalcification of tooth enamel and ultimately tooth decay. Fluoride mouthwash, together with thorough brushing, is also helpful in protecting teeth from bacterial attack.

What to do in case of an emergency

Loose brackets or bands

Please call the office if you have broken any part of your braces. This includes loose brackets, bands or wires. Do not wait until your next appointment, as this will delay your treatment progress. We will repair the appliance as soon as possible. You may remove a loose bracket or cut a broken wire with nail clippers if it is poking into your gum or cheek.

Sharp wire

If a sharp wire is irritating your mouth, cover it with a small ball of dental wax or even some chewing gum. In extreme cases you may cut the wire with nail clippers and remove it. Arrange an appointment with our office the following working day so that we can attend to the problem.

Lost separating elastic

Please call the practice and enquire whether the separating elastic needs to be replaced.

Bleeding gums

This is due to inadequate cleaning (brushing) of teeth and gums. Use warm saltwater mouth washes twice a day as well as thorough, careful brushing and dental floss or interdental cleaning brushes. Braces do not cause bleeding gums, only lazy toothbrushes!

Swollen lips

This may be due to a nickel allergy. Please call the practice and arrange for an appointment so that Doctor can evaluate the problem

Sports injuries

If you have been involved in a traumatic incident such as a blow to the mouth by a hockey ball, rugby boot or someone’s knee and have sustained lacerations to the lips or damage to your teeth, contact your dentist or the A&E department at your local hospital. Call our office to arrange an appointment to evaluate possible damage to your braces. PLEASE make sure you always wear a mouth guard when playing contact sport!