Braces FAQ’s

 
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Braces - frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How should I care for my teeth with braces?

If teeth are not cleaned well enough with fixed braces on, you can be left with gum disease, decay and permanent stains on your teeth. To ensure you are brushing well enough, you need to take the following steps.

  • Brush teeth for 4 minutes morning and night time; if possible also brush your teeth after lunch.

  • Brush around the gum lines, inside and underneath the teeth and also over the brackets.

  • Use interdental brushes to go up and underneath the wire in between each tooth.

  • Use a fluoride based, alcohol free mouth wash at a different time to when you brush.

If you are wearing a removable appliance

Take the brace out and clean your teeth as you would do normally. Then use a separate toothbrush and scrub the brace with just cold water. Do not use toothpaste or mouthwash as this can make the brace eventually go rough on the surface. You should use a product called Retainer Brite about once or twice a week; follow the instructions on the box.

When first having the brace fitted, it is completely normal to be a bit sensitive in the teeth. Everyone is different but it normally lasts around 2-5 days. In this time, it is recommended to take some pain killers, whatever you would take for a headache. Also, stick to foods which can be eaten without chewing too much such as pasta, soup and mashed potato etc.

If you experience any ulcers with the brace on then use whatever you would use normally, such as Bonjela or salt and warm water mouth rinses. Sometimes the brace will rub against the inside of your mouth which will create a sore spot. You can buy some wax at reception which can help with the rubbing; this can be used by sticking the wax against the part of the brace which is rubbing. The wax is made of vegetable oil so no need to worry if it swallowed, it will stay stuck to the brace until you eat or brush your teeth.

When wearing fixed braces, certain foods and drinks must be avoided. These would include:

Sugary and acidic drinks e.g. coke, lemonade and pure fruit juice. It also includes diet brands and fizzy water.

Hard, chewy and sticky foods e.g. chewing gum, toffee, sweets, nuts and popcorn.

Chocolate is fine to eat as long as it does not have a hard, chewy or sticky centre.

Apples, raw carrots, rolls and pizza crusts need to be cut up before being eaten.

Eating foods which are not allowed can break the brace which will add time to the treatment.

If the brace breaks then you need to contact the practice during business hours as soon as possible after you realise it is broken. Please refer to the page which deals with specific examples of breakage for more detailed advice.

If you leave the brace broken then this can prolong your treatment time. Sometimes, the wire can either come out of the bracket or it can stick out the back of the brace which can then be sharp and uncomfortable.

If you are wearing a removable brace

Please buy a box from reception, the brace needs to be kept in this box whenever it is not kept in your mouth. Do not put it in a tissue and put it in your pocket or on the side as it will get lost or broken. If you lose or break the brace, then please ring reception during business hours and as soon possible. If we have to send the brace back to the lab then there may be a fee.

Please wear your retainers whenever you are at home, i.e domestically and at night time.

  • Do not eat or drink whilst wearing your retainers, except plain water.
  • Your retainers should always be kept in a rigid container when you are not wearing them, dry your retainers with towel/tissue before storage.
  • Make sure that your teeth and retainers are clean before wearing them at night. Clean with cold water and a toothbrush. For best results, use Retainer Brite (available from Reception).
  • DO NOT USE toothpaste, strongly perfumed soaps, hot water (above 50°C) or mouthwash when cleaning your retainers.
  • If retainers are lost or damaged beyond repair you will need to pay for replacements.
  • Please remember that wearing retainers as instructed is essential if you wish to maintain the results of your treatment.

RETAINERS MUST BE BROUGHT TO EVERY APPOINTMENT

What to do if something is not ‘right’

For any breakages, or if you feel that you or your child is suffering adverse effects from any appliance fitted by us then please contact the Practice during business hours, whereupon one of our Reception team will personally be in a position to advise you if we can leave the matter until your next scheduled visit or alternatively, arrange the next available appointment for you, (please always have your patient ID number ready to give to reception).

All patients should be aware of the risks and possible complications of treatment and are provided a copy of the BOS (British Orthodontic Society) published Risks leaflet during treatment planning and consent stages. If you feel that you have not seen this document or if you wish to see it again, then please contact our team.

This is not an emergency. With some braces, if a rubber ligature ( coloured elastic band ) comes off, this can be left off until your next scheduled appointment. Please call reception during business hours and we can provide advice.

If a square bracket comes away from a tooth surface then this will likely need to be rebonded at the first available appointment so as not to hinder progress. This is not always the case but we would ask that you contact the practice so that an interim visit can be made to repair the appliance.

This is not an emergency, but may be very uncomfortable for you. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical cream (Bonjela) directly to the ulcerated surface. Please call reception during business hours and we can provide advice.

Lips or Cheeks
Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially when you are eating. A small amount of relief wax makes an excellent buffer between metal and mouth. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the brace causing irritation.

Ideally cover the wire with relief wax, contact the Practice and we will book the next available appointment to have the wire trimmed. If this is the result of a bracket (Square) coming away from a tooth at the end then please contact the practice during business hours and as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made to repair the appliance in the best possible time. 

Fixed Braces

Fixed braces are made up of essentially 3 components: the brackets (small metal or ceramic squares) which are cemented onto the outside surface of each tooth, a wire which runs through all the individual brackets and ligatures which are small elastic bands that hold the wire in the bracket.

Oral Hygiene
If teeth are not cleaned well enough with fixed braces on, you can be left with gum disease, decay and permanent stains on your teeth. To ensure you are brushing well enough you need to be following these steps.
• Brush teeth for 4 minutes morning and night time; if possible also brush your teeth after lunch.
• Brush around the gum lines, inside and underneath the teeth and also over the brackets.
• Use interdental brushes to go up and underneath the wire in between each tooth.
• Use a fluoride based, alcohol free mouth wash at a different time to when you brush.

Diet
When wearing fixed braces, certain foods and drinks must be avoided. These would include:
• Sugary and acidic drinks e.g. coke, lemonade and pure fruit juice. It also includes diet brands and fizzy water.
• Hard, chewy and sticky foods e.g. chewing gum, toffee, sweets, nuts and popcorn.
• Chocolate is fine to eat as long as it does not have a hard, chewy or sticky centre.
• Apples, raw carrots, rolls and pizza crusts need to be cut up before being eaten.
Eating foods which are not allowed can break the brace which will add time to the treatment.

Discomfort
When first having the brace fitted, it is completely normal to feel a bit of sensitivity in the teeth. Everyone is different but it normally lasts around 2-5 days. In this time, it is recommended to take some pain killers, whatever you would take for a headache. Also, stick to foods which can be eaten without chewing too much such as pasta, soup and mashed potato etc.

If you experience any ulcers with the brace on then use whatever you would use normally, such as Bonjela or salt and warm water mouth rinses. Sometimes the brace will rub against the inside of your mouth which will create a sore spot. You can buy some wax at reception which can help with the rubbing. This can be used by sticking the wax against the part of the brace that is rubbing. The wax is made of vegetable oil so no need to worry if it swallowed, it will stay stuck to the brace until you eat or brush your teeth.

Breakages
If the brace breaks, then you need to contact reception during business hours and as soon as you realise it is broken. The most commonly reported breakage is that a bracket has come away from a tooth, this then means that the tooth isn’t attached to the wire and can drift away from the brace. If you leave the brace broken then this can prolong your treatment time. Sometimes, the wire can either come out of the bracket or it can stick out the back of the brace which can then be sharp and uncomfortable. If you have any problems with the brace then please call us on the practice number during business hours, even if you are due to come for your routine appointment. 

Your Retainers

  • Please wear your retainers full time for the first 2 weeks.

  • After the 2 weeks, please wear your retainers whenever you are at home, i.e domestically and at night time.

  • Do not eat or drink whilst wearing your retainers, except for plain water.

  • Your retainers should always be kept in a rigid container when you are not wearing them. Dry your retainers with towel/tissue before storage.

  • Make sure that your teeth and retainers are clean before wearing them at night. Clean with cold water and a toothbrush. For best results, use Retainer Brite (available from Reception).

  • DO NOT USE toothpaste, strongly perfumed soaps, hot water (above 50°C) or mouthwash when cleaning your retainers.

  • If retainers are lost or damaged beyond repair you will need to pay for replacements.

  • Please remember that your teeth will move if you do not wear your retainers as instructed.

  • RETAINERS MUST BE BROUGHT TO EVERY APPOINTMENT