Maintenance: Keep Smiling!

You’re on your way to a healthier bite and smile! Now that you have your braces, you may have a few questions.

Brushing & Flossing

*During orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth really well, twice daily, to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces.

*Concentrate on the danger zones- the space between the bands or brackets and the gums!

*Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment.

 

Foods to Avoid

Eating proper foods, minimizing sugar intake and getting enough sleep are essential during orthodontic treatment. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Use common sense when choosing food to put in your mouth and avoid chewing on hard objects such as pens and pencils.

*Whole fruits and vegetables such as apples and carrots should be cooked or cut into small pieces and eaten carefully.

Common Problems

Discomfort or soreness

You may experience soreness caused by the brackets rubbing against your lips or cheeks. Rinse with a warm salt water solution (one teaspoon of table salt in a six ounce glass of warm water) and apply soft wax to the area to relieve discomfort. Your teeth may be sensitive for one to three days after placement of your appliances and for one or two days after most adjustments. This tenderness is the normal reaction of teeth to new pressure and can be relieved with Ibuprofen. If your teeth are extremely tender after an appointment, let us know so that we may determine the best level of pressure for you.

Breakage or Loss

If you are not careful with the foods you choose to eat, you can damage your braces and other orthodontic appliances. If you have a loose bracket and it is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it and/or call our office for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened.

Orthodontic Emergencies

An orthodontic emergency is a situation where you are in pain or discomfort due to a damaged appliance, a wire that has shifted and is poking your cheek or gum, or a blow to your face or teeth. If this occurs, please call our office at 231-347-4049 as soon as possible.

In case of emergency

Call our office as soon as possible if you break or loosen any of your appliances.

Please do not come directly to the office – by calling us, you will allow us to create a time to see you.
Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired.

Examples:

  • Loose Brackets or Bands
  • Wire Irritations/Poking wires
  • Lost Separators

Glossary

archwire
A wire engaged in orthodontic attachments, affixed to the crowns of two or more teeth and capable of causing or guiding tooth movement.
band (orthodontic)
A thin metal ring, usually stainless steel, which serves to secure orthodontic attachments to a tooth. The band, with orthodontic attachments welded or soldered to it, is closely adapted to fit the contours of the tooth and then cemented into place.
bracket
An orthodontic attachment that is secured to a tooth (either by bonding or banding) for the purpose of engaging an archwire. Brackets can be fabricated from metal, ceramic or plastic.
ceramic brackets
Crystalline, alumina, tooth-shade or clear synthetic sapphire brackets that are aesthetically more attractive than conventional metal attachments.
crowding
Dental malalignment caused by inadequate space for the teeth.
crossbite
The upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth, which may cause tooth stratification and misaligned jaw growth.
debanding
The removal of cemented orthodontic bands, bracket and glue.
dental midlines not matched up
This type of problem is caused when the back bite does not fit and match appropriately, which negatively impact jaw and proper dental function.
elastics (rubber bands)
Used to move teeth in prescribed directions (commonly connected to molar band and upper ball hook). Found in numerous colors for better appearance.
gingiva
The tissue that surrounds the teeth, consisting of a fibrous tissue that is continuous with the periodontal ligament and mucosal covering.
headgear
Generic term for extraoral traction (attached around the back side of the head) for growth modification, tooth movement and anchorage.
imaging
The process of acquiring representations of structures in either two or three dimensions.
lingual
Of or pertaining to the tongue. A term used to describe surfaces and directions toward the tongue.
lingual appliances
Orthodontic appliances fixed to the lingual surface of the teeth.
maxillary
Of or pertaining to the upper jaw. May be used to describe teeth, dental restorations, orthodontic appliances or facial structures.
openbite
Proper chewing is impacted by this type of bite, in which the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. Openbite may cause a number of unwanted habits, such as tongue thrusting.
orthodontist
A dental specialist who has completed an advanced post-doctoral course, accredited by the American Dental Association, of at least two academic years in the special area of orthodontics.
orthognathic surgery
Surgery to alter relationships of teeth and/or supporting bones, usually accomplished in conjunction with orthodontic therapy.
overbite
Vertical overlapping of upper teeth over lower teeth, usually measured perpendicular to the occlusal plane.
radiograph
A permanent image, performed digitally in our office, produced by ionizing radiation. Sometimes called an X-ray after the most common source of image-producing radiation.
retainer
Any orthodontic appliance, fixed or removable, used to maintain the position of the teeth following corrective treatment.
retention
The passive treatment period following active orthodontic correction during which retaining appliances may be used.
spacing
Spacing problems may be caused by missing teeth, or they may only be a cosmetic or aesthetic issue.
straight wire appliance
A variation of the edgewise appliance in which brackets are angulated to minimize multiple archwire bends. Brackets and molar tubes have specific orientation in three planes of space.
upper front teeth protrusion
The appearance and function of your teeth are impacted by this type of bite. It is characterized by the upper teeth extending too far forward or the lower teeth not extending far enough forward.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  • At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

    The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.

  • How do I schedule an appointment for an initial orthodontic evaluation?

    If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you.

  • What will happen/what will you learn from the initial orthodontic evaluation?

    We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a thorough evaluation.
    There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial orthodontic evaluation:

    1. 
Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?

    2. What must be done to correct the problem?

    3. Will any teeth need to be removed?

    4. How long will the treatment take to complete?

    5. How much will the treatment cost?
When should treatment begin?

  • Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

    Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures.

  • How long will it take to complete treatment?

    Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment time lasts from 8 months to 30 months. The average time frame a person is in braces is approximately 18-24 months.

  • How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

    Although it is impossible to state an exact cost of treatment until we can provide a complete evaluation, an estimated range of treatment fees will be presented at that time. We have several financing options available to accommodate your needs and we’ll share that information during the initial evaluation.
If your insurance plan covers orthodontic treatment, you will receive the benefit of reduced personal costs. We will submit claims in your behalf and work with you to help you receive your orthodontic benefit. Insurance policies vary and we will review yours to determine the appropriate course of action.

  • How often will I have appointments?

    Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 6 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

  • Do braces hurt?

    Generally, braces do not hurt. After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the mild discomfort.

  • What is Phase One (early) Treatment?

    Phase One Treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment usually lasts about 12 to 18 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image.

  • Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?

    A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!