The staff here at Renick Orthodontics wants to make your new patient experience as easy as possible so we’ve compiled a step by step guideline for you!
This section will introduce you to the process of getting braces and how to manage them once you have them. You’ll learn about separators and records. You’ll get instructions on how to take care of your braces by cleaning them (proper oral hygiene) and avoiding the wrong foods.
One of the big questions new patients have is "how long?" Tips will be given to shorten your treatment time and avoid things that may extend your treatment time.
Other questions not covered here may be addressed in the FAQs section if you don’t find them here.
Back to Top
YOUR LIFE WITH BRACES
BRACES - THE STORY
ORAL HYGIENE IN BRACES
Braces are a cooperative effort in which the patient and orthodontist both have jobs to do during treatment. One of the most important jobs that a patient who wears braces has is maintaining proper oral hygiene. Oral hygiene involves cleaning all surfaces in the mouth to reduce germs. This includes teeth, gum tissue, and any orthodontic item such as brackets, wires, retainers, etc. Ways to maintain proper oral hygiene include tooth brushing, flossing, use of a proxy brush, and keeping your regular six-month cleaning visits with your regular dentist.
KEEPING YOUR BRACES CLEAN
Without braces, you must brush all surfaces of your teeth: the front, the edge or chewing surface, and the back. With braces, more surfaces are present which need brushing. These include the wire, all the surfaces and sides of the bracket, and the gums. The most missed area is between the bracket and the gum line. This is easy to miss because the lip often comes down to the bracket and sloppy, hurried brushing does not allow the toothbrush to get up under the lip. Attention must be paid to HOW you brush. BRUSH IN FOURS: ACROSS THE WIRE, BELOW THE BRACKET, ABOVE THE BRACKET AT THE GUM LINE, AND BEHIND THE TOOTH. Someone who brushes for a long time may still have problems if they are not getting all the areas. A good, thorough cleaning only takes a couple of minutes.
Special electric toothbrushes are also available for patients who feel they might not be able to keep their braces clean. They are not necessary for everyone, but they can be helpful. Letting the brush do all the work doesn’t necessary keep the teeth clean. It still has to reach all the surfaces in order to do the job it was meant to do. Water Piks help remove bulk debris but should not be used alone because they are not sufficient to remove plaque.
A proxy brush is a small cone shaped brush designed to get into the tiny, hard to reach areas between the wires and braces. It is meant to help the toothbrush, not replace it!
Yes, even with braces on your teeth, you can still floss! Floss threaders, thin plastic loops, will help place the floss below the wire to reach the gum line. They may be used more than once and are available in any drug store or pharmacy. To use the floss threader:
Place a long piece of floss through the loop of the threader.
Hold ONE end of the floss
Thread the floss thread under the wire between two teeth. ALWAYS aim for the open mouth (thread up for the bottom teeth and thread down for the top teeth). This makes it easier to grab the end of the floss threader once it is under the wire because the gums and lips won’t get in the way.
While still holding one end of the floss, pull the floss threader until it pulls the other end of the floss under the wire.
Repeat this flossing technique for EACH TOOTH.
Fluoride is found in most over-the-counter toothpastes and in some drinking water. Persons with well water may need to supplement their fluoride exposure with rinses that are available at any drug store or pharmacy. Fluoride strengthens the teeth and makes them less susceptible to tooth decay.
Dental Check ups
Regular six month dental cleanings should be kept with your family dentist. Having braces on makes it that much more important!