Welcome to Stoll Orthodontics in Thornton, CO, and congratulations on starting your braces treatment. To help you get the most out of your treatment, we’re going to go over all the instructions that you need on how to properly take care of your braces.
Brushing and Flossing with Braces
Brushing your teeth when you have braces isn’t hard, but the technique needed is a bit different than what you are probably used to. If you look at the little model below, instead of just brushing straight onto the brackets, you want to take your toothbrush and angle it from above to be able to brush above and below the brackets. That way you make sure you’re actually brushing all the way around the braces to keep everything nice and healthy and clean.
To help you keep your braces clean, we give you this little Christmas tree-shaped proxy brush which is made to fit right underneath the wire and in between the brackets to keep everything nice and clean. The brush also has a little lid to it so you can take it on the go to help keep things clean when you’re out and about and away from the house.
We really want you to try to brush your teeth three times a day instead of the two times a day you’re probably used to. You want to brush after every meal just to help keep things healthy and clean. You can also use a fluoride rinse at night which is very helpful as well to keep the enamel of your teeth nice and healthy. Also, don’t forget to brush your gums as well to keep them from getting red and irritated.
In addition to brushing, flossing is also very important to maintain good oral health during your braces treatment. The best and easiest way to do this is by using floss picks and floss threaders. Floss picks are super easy to use and are made with a flat side to them so that they fit right underneath the wire and in between the bracket so you can floss very easily all the way around. You want to make sure you use the ones that are made for braces because regular floss picks have rounded sides that will not fit underneath the wire.
For deeper flossing, or if you have teeth that are rotated, we give you these floss threaders. To use them, just attach a length of dental floss to the threader and then slide the threader under the wire and between the brackets. Then you can floss between each tooth like you normally would. We recommend that you use the floss picks nightly and use the floss threader once a week.
Brushing and flossing properly not only keeps your teeth and gums healthy but also prevents decalcification. Decalcification is when bacteria (plaque) has been allowed to stay on the tooth’s surface that it begins to eat away at the enamel. This causes permanent white spots on the teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly will keep that bacteria from building up.
Treating Braces Discomfort
When you first get your braces, it is normal to feel some discomfort for the first few days as you get used to the pressure they exert on your teeth. This discomfort is only temporary and generally goes away after the first three or four days. To help with the discomfort, you can take ibuprofen as needed. Eating softer foods during the first few days will also minimize your discomfort. Cold foods can also be soothing as well since the cold “relaxes” the wire and takes some of the pressure off of the brackets.
Sometimes you may find that a bracket may rub against the inside of your cheek or a wire may break. To keep them from irritating your mouth until you can get into the office to get it fixed, you can take a bit of dental wax and roll it into a ball between your fingers. Then you press it over the irritating bracket or pokey wire and – voila! – no more discomfort!
What NOT to Eat When You Have Braces
Now that you are wearing braces, there are some foods that you are going to want to avoid. The number one food you want to avoid is any hard and/or sticky candy. This includes things like chewing gum, taffy, Jolly Ranchers, caramels, etc. You also need to be very careful with taco shells and tortilla chips. The corner pieces of hard chips can get under the brackets and pop them right off. Any food that you have to bite into and tear or rip with your front teeth should also be avoided. Raw carrots, celery, apples, jerky, etc. are all examples of this type of food. Instead, cut or break them into bite-sized pieces that you can chew with your back teeth. Popcorn is also tricky since kernels can get stuck and be a pain to remove.
Rubber Bands / Elastics
Pretty much all of our patients are going to be wearing rubber bands in some form or another during their braces treatment. We will instruct you on how to place them, how much you’re going to wear them, what patterns to use, etc. Your rubber bands are important to get your teeth to move into their proper position so your effort into wearing your rubber bands will help determine how good your results are going to be. If you wear your rubber bands really, really well, then your results are going to be amazing and you may even get your braces off early. On the other hand, if you only put in half of the effort, then you have to be okay with half the results and your teeth won’t look as good. So just keep that in mind.
Earn Rewards During Braces Treatment
We want to do everything we can to help you complete your braces treatment successfully. That’s why we started our awesome rewards program. If you’re already a patient at Stoll Smiles, you probably already have one of these cards set up. If not, give us a call and we’ll get one set up for you asap. Once you have your card set up, you’ll start earning points just for being a great patient. Made it to your appointments on time? Points. No broken brackets? Points. Brushing and flossing regularly and doing all of the other things you’re supposed to do? Points, points, and more points! All of those points can add up to some pretty cool rewards, including gift cards for Target, Starbucks, Olive Garden, pretty much whatever you can think of!
Broken Bracket? Here’s What To Do
At some point during your braces treatment, you’ll likely experience a broken bracket. It can happen even if you’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing. If a bracket breaks, meaning that it comes loose off of your tooth, don’t worry – we can fix it at your next appointment. In the meantime, if the bracket has come completely off, store it in a clean bag – Ziploc-type bags are great for this – until you can bring it back to us and get it fixed. If the bracket is still attached to the wire, it is fine for it to kind of hang out in there, and shouldn’t cause you any problems. But definitely do give us a call so that we can get you scheduled to come back in and see us if you’re not already scheduled. If the broken bracket causes you any discomfort, just use a bit of the dental wax to put over it until your appointment.
Stoll Orthodontics is located in Thornton, CO, and proudly serves the Thornton, Westminster, and Broomfield communities and the surrounding area. Dr. Stoll offers early orthodontic care as well as Invisalign and braces treatment options for kids, teens, and adults. Please call us at (303) 450-2211 or schedule your complimentary in-office or virtual consultation online today.