Orthodontic treatment can help achieve healthy, straight teeth. But it is important to take good care of your teeth and braces throughout your treatment.
Fixed appliances (braces) consist of bands, brackets, and arch wires that hold the teeth in place while they move. They are the most common type of orthodontic appliance.
Keeping up with good oral hygiene is vital for healthy teeth and gums at all times, but it becomes especially important during orthodontic treatment. Food particles can get stuck in braces and turn into plaque, which leads to tooth decay and gum disease.
To avoid this, brush your teeth daily using a fluoridated toothpaste and a toothbrush with a small head to reach the hard-to-reach areas. Consider getting a power or waterpik toothbrush to make it even easier to clean around your teeth and braces.
It’s also essential to limit your intake of sugary foods and beverages to prevent plaque build-up. Avoid bubblegum, candy bars, popcorn, ice chips and other foods that can easily get caught in or under your braces. In addition, you should use dental wax to cover any protruding wires until your next appointment. This will keep them from poking or scratching your cheek or lips. Floss at least once a day, too.
While proper oral hygiene is important for everyone, it becomes even more critical during orthodontic treatment. The nooks and crannies of metal braces and clear aligners create hiding places for food particles that can lead to tooth decay. With regular brushing and flossing, these food particles are removed before they have a chance to cause damage.
Flossing is especially important because it removes plaque and food debris between the teeth and along the gum line that a toothbrush cannot reach. It is also important to use a non-alcoholic mouthwash to rinse after flossing.
In addition, it is a good idea to chew sugarless gum to help reduce the irritation caused by flossing and to eat softer foods such as steamed vegetables or soup. Hard or sticky foods, such as beef jerky, nuts, or ice, should be avoided because they can break wires or crack brackets. This will help keep your smile healthy during your orthodontic treatment and ensure that you have a beautiful, straight smile once it is finished!
Schedule Your Checkups
While oral hygiene is important at any age, it becomes even more essential during orthodontic treatment. Regular checkups will ensure that your child’s teeth are progressing according to plan and help identify any potential issues before they become serious.
These appointments will also give your orthodontist in Carlsbad the opportunity to thoroughly clean the nooks and crannies of your child’s brackets, wires, and colors. It is difficult for patients to get into the dentist’s chair with braces on to fully clean around these areas, and missing these visits could lead to bacterial buildup that can cause gum disease or tooth decay.
Even though it may seem like extra effort, it is important to make these dental appointments a priority. If your child misses these appointments, it can lead to unexpected changes in their teeth or jaw that could prolong their orthodontic treatment. The sooner these issues are identified and corrected, the faster your child will get their beautiful smile!
Schedule Your Retainer Appointments
Once your teeth are straightened, it will be important for you to wear your retainers as instructed. This helps maintain your beautiful new smile and prevents the return of old, unwanted alignment.
It is recommended to schedule retainer checkups every four to eight weeks. This will help your orthodontist spot and correct any issues as they develop. In addition, it is important to continue visiting your general dentist for routine oral care and dental checkups while wearing braces.