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Braces Instructions

Will my braces hurt?

Initially, your braces will feel like they stick out, or your mouth feels full. This is normal. As you become accustomed to your braces, this sensation will go away. Although the brackets are rounded, you may find it helpful to use wax around any brackets that are causing irritation until your cheeks are toughened. If your supply of wax runs out, you may stop by our office to pick up more.

You will probably notice some discomfort beginning 4–6 hours after your braces are placed. Some teeth may be tender and sensitive to pressure, making it difficult to chew. This soreness dissipates within the first week. You may want to take ibuprofen or Tylenol® (or whatever you would normally take for a headache). Also, rinsing with warm salt water can help relieve the soreness of your teeth and gums.

Hygiene

It is important to understand that taking great care of your teeth is necessary during treatment. We grade your brushing at each visit. Our grade scale is

  1. Perfectly cleaned teeth and healthy pink gums.
  2. Good. There are some areas of swelling or redness and a few areas with plaque or food on the braces or teeth.
  3. Below acceptable. There are more than a few areas of swelling or red gums and/or plaque or food on the braces or teeth.
  4. Well below acceptable. Many areas are swollen or red and/or plaque or food on the braces or teeth. The patient shows neglect of hygiene.

If a score of 4 is consistent, we reserve the right to interrupt treatment until hygiene is under control.

Continue to see your family dentist every 6 months for your regular cleaning and checkup. If you would like us to remove the wires prior to your dental visit, please call us a few weeks ahead of time to schedule an appointment.

Before you leave the office

  • Use your finger and tongue to check for pokey or long wires.
  • Make sure you understand what you need to do until your next appointment. This may include wearing elastics or appliances, adjusting an expander, or following a specific diet or hygiene instructions.
  • Make sure you have an adequate supply of wax, cleaning aids, elastics, or any other materials you may need.
  • Schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. Waiting 1–2 weeks after an appointment before scheduling your next visit will limit your appointment time options.
  • Make sure that your questions about treatment are answered.

Things you should expect

  • Your wires may eventually stick out behind your teeth early in treatment. This happens when your teeth are crooked and they start to align—the wire flattens out and starts to stick out the back. You may not notice this, but if the wire does irritate your cheek, you can place wax over the wire. If that doesn’t help, call our office.
  • Your teeth and gums will be sore. This is normal and indicates that your teeth are starting to move and your cheeks and gums are getting used to the braces. You can take ibuprofen or Tylenol and do warm saltwater rinses to help with tenderness.
  • Spaces may open between your teeth. This is a natural occurrence as your teeth move into their new position. These spaces will consolidate, and then completely close, during specific stages in your treatment.
  • You may have some difficulty speaking for the first few days. Reading out loud will help you speak clearly in a very short period of time.
  • If one of the brackets comes off a tooth near the back of your mouth that the wire is not running through, do not worry. We will replace it during your next visit. Please save the bracket and bring it with you to your appointment.

Bite Turbos

You may have bite turbos placed either on the biting surface of your back teeth or behind your upper front teeth. These turbos are placed to keep your upper teeth from biting on the braces on your lower teeth or to keep your upper and lower teeth apart so your teeth will move faster. Bite turbos do take some time to get used to. If a turbo comes off, please call our office.

Loose Brackets

Most often, brackets come off due to chewing forces. This is why it is important to stick with a soft food diet and let us know if a bite turbo comes off and you are biting on a bracket. Braces also come loose when the teeth get wet with saliva during the placement of the brackets. Some mouths make it difficult to maintain total dryness during the process of placing braces. The enamel on some teeth can be resistant to the bracket gluing process, especially when a tooth has a large filling or crown. Brackets can also come loose when playing contact sports. We offer mouthguards that fit around your braces and teeth to help protect them.

If brackets fail or come loose, it is usually in the early stage of treatment. If brackets come loose later in treatment, it is almost always due to biting forces and not paying close attention to the foods you are eating. Loose brackets or bands extend the length of treatment beyond the estimated date of completion. Therefore, it is important for us to be in a partnership while caring for your braces.

What is an adjustment?

An adjustment usually consists of advancing your wires. The tight feeling will occur when new wires are placed. Usually, a few days after your tightening, your teeth will feel much better!

What is a Warren Point?

We like to reward you for your great effort! You can earn Warren Points when

  • You wear your Warren Orthodontics t-shirt to your appointment. You brush and floss every day.
  • You are on time for your appointment.
  • You have no broken brackets.
  • You visit your dentist regularly.

You then use your Warren Points to buy really cool prizes that you can get here in our office!

What do I do if something breaks?

Even if you’re careful, you may still occasionally damage your braces or appliance. An emergency is something that is hurting and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. A broken bracket is NOT an emergency so long as it’s not hurting the patient. We can repair most brackets at the next follow-up visit, but please call the office when a bracket breaks so we can make note of the repair. If the bracket comes completely off the wire, please keep the bracket and bring it with you to your next appointment. If your appliance is damaged or broken, please call the office so we can schedule an appointment as soon as possible, and make sure to bring all the loose or broken parts with you to the appointment.