Braces…Now What?

Braces are a great dental option to reduce gaps in your smile or to straighten out crooked teeth. To help ensure that the braces do their job and the completed work is maintained, there are important steps to follow both while your braces are correcting your teeth and after they have been removed.

Maintenance While Wearing Braces

Maintenance while wearing your braces is extremely important to your tooth health and the straightening process. To properly maintain your braces, you need to make sure to:

  • Properly Clean Your Braces Often – While you are typically advised to brush two times a day, when you have braces it is important to clean your teeth more often to remove debris that can become caught in your braces and cause bacteria to grow. Additionally, you will want to make sure to regularly floss and use mouthwash to ensure that all the food debris is removed from the tiny crevices around your braces.
  • Avoid Certain Foods – You should avoid certain foods that can cause damage to your braces, such as sticky foods (including gum and caramel) that can get stuck on the wires and pull them. You should also avoid food with extremely hard pieces (such as popcorn kernels) as they can cause your wires to break. Foods with high acidity should be avoided to prevent damage to your braces as well as the enamel of your teeth.
  • Notify your Orthodontist of Any Issues Immediately – If you feel that you have broken or damaged parts of your braces, you should contact your orthodontist immediately to have the issue addressed so it does not cause any harm to your braces, your teeth or your mouth. Also, if you are experiencing pain as a result of your braces, you should contact the doctor as well.

Maintenance After Braces

Once you have completed your teeth straightening with your braces, it is imperative to follow some basic maintenance to ensure that your teeth stay straight and healthy.

  • Attend All of Your Routine Dental Appointments – It is important to make all of your follow-up appointments and maintain regular cleanings and checkups. This will help keep your smile that you have worked so hard on looking its best, but also it can let your dentist know if your teeth begin to shift or to notice other issues that could potentially undo your hard work.
  • Use a Soft Toothbrush – Once you have had braces, your gums will be more susceptible to wear than those who don’t. To help alleviate and reduce your risk of gum recession, it is important to use a softer brush to ensure that you remove debris from around your gumline without causing damage to the area.
  • Wear Your Retainer as Directed – You will most likely be given a retainer or other orthopedic devices with instructions to wear it at certain times and for certain durations. This tool will aid in keeping your teeth in their newly straightened position, maintaining the work that has been done. It is important to also keep these appliances clean to prevent bacteria and to notify your orthodontist if it becomes unusually uncomfortable or damaged.

Keep your smile happy and healthy by practicing good maintenance routines while wearing and after wearing your braces. By following the steps above, you will not only prevent problems, but you’ll also have a better chance of maintaining the results.