Taking Care of Your Braces, Retainers, Headgear
Keep a Healthy Smile
Braces create small ledges, nooks and crannies for food deposits, which can lead to cavities and gum problems if you don’t do a good job brushing and flossing. Brush and floss thoroughly, but gently, so you do not break or loosen your arch wires or brackets.
Brushing and Flossing
Be sure to brush your teeth after every meal and before you go to bed with a fluoride toothpaste. Dr. Dovorany may prescribe a fluoride mouth rinse.
- Start by brushing the outside of each tooth at least 10 times.
- Then brush where your gums and teeth meet, using a circular motion.
- Brush the inside surface of each tooth at least 10 times.
- Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth last.
Your toothbrush can’t reach between your teeth, so you need to floss DAILY as well. A floss threader, available from Dovorany Orthodontics, helps you floss with braces.
- Thread floss through the threader and slip it up behind your archwire.
- Pull the floss between two teeth and up under your gums.
- Rinse with clean water.
Eating with Braces
While you are wearing braces, you can eat almost all foods, but please stay away from these troublemakers:
- Sticky foods like gum, taffy and caramels.
- Hard foods like apples and carrots (cut them into pieces).
- Crunchy foods like corn chips, popcorn and nuts.
Taking Care of Your Retainer
All Dovorany patients complete the “retention” phase of orthodontic treatment. This is the phase after the braces are removed, when they can move from their corrected position. To prevent this from happening, patients typically wear a removable retainer full time for three months, then at night for nine months. A bonded retainer is worn permanently.
During the first year of retention, you will still visit or orthodontic offices periodically. After the first year of retention you no longer need to visit our offices, but it is your responsibility to wear your retainer as Dr. Dovorany prescribes.
As always, if you have any concerns about your retainer, please call one of our greater Wausau area orthodontic offices. Learn more about retainer wear here.
Maintaining Your Headgear
Headgear can help modify the growth pattern of your jaws when there is a size discrepancy between the upper and lower jaws.
- Patients do not need to wear their headgear to school, work or during active sports.
- Headgear must be worn at least 14 hours each day (unless otherwise instructed).
- Consistent daily use is essential for success.
- Never allow headgear to be damaged, do not rough-house with headgear on.
When wearing headgear, expect:
- To feel some pressure when the strap is attached to the face bow, and relief of the pressure when the strap is detached.
- Your molars to ache and be slightly loosened as tooth movement occurs.
- Dry, chapped lips.
- Difficulty sleeping, initially.
Contact our office if:
- A band feels loose.
- The headgear has been bent or damaged in any way.
- You feel extreme pressure or discomfort from your headgear.
At each appointment:
Bring your headgear so we can check and adjust it.
Bring your record of wear book.
We will measure the space the headgear is creating — this will tell us how successful the treatment is and how often the headgear is being worn.
A Rapid Maxillary Expander (RME) helps widen a patient’s upper jaw over time by widening the patient’s palate. A parent or patient adjusts the Expander daily according to Dr. Dovorany’s instructions. One the palate has been widened enough, the expander is left in place for about four months without further adjustment.
When the Expander is first placed the patient may feel some discomfort and pressure. You may also:
- Feel a tingling or itch under the expander.
- Experience a tingling sensation across the bridge of the nose.
- Feel pressure in the cheek area.
- See a space appear between your upper two front teeth.
A special key is used to activate the Rapid Maxillary Expander:
- Loop the string on the key around your finger or wrist to prevent the possibility of it being swallowed.
- Insert the key in its slot, it will not touch the roof of the mouth.
- Push the key all the way from front to back.
- Remove the key.
- Turn as Dr. Dovorany has instructed.
Use a Proxabrush and regular toothbrush. to brush your teeth if you are using an RME as part of treatment. Use water rinse to flush under the expander.
How To Floss When Wearing Separators
If you’re wearing separators, special care should be taken when flossing. Here are the steps you should follow:
- Grab two pieces of floss.
- Thread the two pieces of floss through the separator, and then wrap the floss strings around your first fingers.
- Pull fingers away from each other so the separator is now almost flat and tension is created.
- Gently work the separator between your teeth, like you do with floss. After you have pushed the separator between the teeth, pull the floss out, making sure that you can see half of the separator above the point of contact between the teeth. Sometimes it is necessary to hold your fingers over the separator when you pull the floss out.
If you have any questions regarding the care of your appliances during orthodontic treatment, please call one of our Wausua-area offices. We are here to help you. It is imperative your appliances are properly maintained to insure the treatment process runs on schedule and your smile looks superb.