Successful orthodontic treatment-a healthy and beautiful smile-is the result of a team effort between you, your orthodontist and your family dentist. You as the patient play the key part. Most importantly, you must keep your teeth clean and maintain good dental hygiene while you are wearing braces. Right now, proper dental care will take a little extra time and effort. But it’s well worth it, and will help you enjoy the best possible results from your orthodontic treatment. Please closely follow the instructions given to you at your visit.
Plaque is the Enemy
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that collects on your teeth. It’s composed of bacteria, food and saliva. If plaque and trapped food are left on your teeth and around your braces, they can cause swollen gums, bad breath, cavities and permanent marks on your teeth.
When to Clean?
Brush thoroughly after each time you have a meal or snack. If you can’t brush right away after a meal, be sure to at least rinse your mouth well with water until you can brush. Carry a travel toothbrush so that you can brush when away from home. At least once every day, brush your teeth and braces thoroughly until they are spotlessly clean, and then floss. This takes a little extra time, so you may want to do it at night before going to bed.
How to Brush?
Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush that’s in good condition. Because braces wear out a toothbrush quickly, replace your brush as soon as it shows signs of wear. Brush around all the parts of your braces and every surface of your teeth — fronts, sides and backs. Be sure to brush your tongue and roof of the mouth. A good way to tell if you’re brushing correctly is if your braces look clean and shiny and you can see the edges of the brackets clearly. Brush your gums gently and thoroughly. Rinse thoroughly after brushing. Inspect your teeth and braces carefully to make sure they are spotless. Look closely in a well-lighted mirror. This is a good time to check for loose or broken brackets. If you find a problem, contact us to see if it needs to be checked out and if we need to schedule you to make a repair.
How to Floss?
Floss every night before you go to bed. That way, you won’t feel rushed. When flossing with braces on, it might be necessary to use what’s called a floss threader. This reusable tool allows you to get dental floss underneath your archwire easily. Make sure you clean carefully along and under the gumlines. Flossing with braces on may seem like a difficult process, but it’s very important. And as with anything, a little practice will make it go a lot faster.
Maintaining your oral hygiene is imperative to the success of your orthodontic treatment. Be sure to visit Your Dentist for a check-up and cleaning regularly (every six months).