Congratulations! You’ve gone through the consultation stage with your orthodontist in Adelaide, and have now had your new braces fitted. Whether you’ve gone for traditional metal braces or clear ceramic braces, they will need to be looked after.
You need to look after your braces not only to make sure they’re clean but also to prevent the potential build up in plaque around the braces. Whilst braces do not damage your teeth, plaque can. Looking after your braces will also help ensure that your orthodontic treatment plan is more likely to get the best results and more likely to result in the smile you’ve been hoping for.
Here are the best ways to ensure that your braces are kept clean and are more able to help you get that healthy, natural-looking straight smile.
Step One: Brushing
It should come as no surprise that the first step in caring for your braces is making sure that you brush regularly and correctly. The bare minimum that you should be brushing your teeth is twice every day, with each brushing session lasting at least two minutes. We recommend brushing morning and night as a minimum.
Brushing your teeth is a skill, and lots of people do it incorrectly. You should be holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, and ensuring that the toothbrush bristles are going below the gumline. Brushing your braces involves going above, below, and on the front of the brackets and the wires. This will help to reduce plaque build-up and remove any extra food particles. A great visual tip is to point the bristles up towards your nose, then down towards your chin and over the top.
Step Two: The Toothbrush
It’s almost always tempting to invest in a harder bristled brush when you’re trying to keep your teeth and mouth clean. With braces, those harder bristles can cause damage. While your braces are in, make sure that you use a soft-bristled brush. You can talk to your orthodontist to discuss the best toothbrush for you and your braces.
A softer brush will minimise sensitivity issues that may arise with your braces, especially if they’re new and you’re still getting used to them. Softer bristles will also get behind the braces wires more easily.
Step Three: The toothpaste
Most people are aware that the best toothpastes for looking after your teeth are those brands that have plaque control and fluoride. What a lot of people aren’t aware of is that toothpastes designed for tooth-whitening aren’t always suitable when you’re wearing braces.
That’s because the wires or ceramics will prevent the toothpaste from getting evenly to all parts of each tooth. So when the braces are removed you may be left with uneven colouring of your teeth. It’s best to wait until your braces are removed if you are keen to have any tooth whitening treatment.
Step Four: Going Inbetween
If you floss or use interdental brushes, the temptation is often high to skip this part of the toothbrushing routine when you’re wearing braces. It can certainly take a little longer to floss your teeth when wearing braces and it may even be more fiddly!
Of course, although it takes a little more time you should always make sure to include interdental care, even if you’re wearing braces. As one of Adelaide’s most established orthodontists, at Gentle Touch Orthodontics we recommend having our dental travel pack on you when you’re out and about. It’s a great resource to have close to hand whenever you’ve just snacked on something.
Step Five: Eating with braces
There is no reason to completely change your diet once your new braces have been fitted by your orthodontist in Adelaide. What you may have to do is avoid some types of food for a while. For metal braces and Invisalign treatments, remember to:
- Cut up your food into small pieces (even pizza!) as this allows your teeth to chew a lot more easily, while tearing at food such as ribs, or steak will run the risk of damaging the braces
- Use smoothies or soups to make getting your fruit and veg daily intake easier
- Avoid sticky, chewy, or hard foods like toffees, popcorn, or nuts (it’s likely that these will damage your braces)
- Grate or slice apples, carrots, or any kind of hard food to make them easier to chew
- Avoid excessive sugary drinks as they can cause tooth scarring which may not be visible until after the braces have been removed
- Try to avoid habits like biting your nails, chewing pencil ends, or chewing any kind of gum, as these can all cause damage to your braces
Step Six: Dealing with discomfort
In the days following your braces being fitted, you may find that your teeth start to feel particularly tender. That pressure can feel magnified whenever you try to eat. Mouths are very sensitive when it comes to change! This is very common, and should start to fade within the first week. You can use basic painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol to help deal with that initial sensitivity and discomfort.
You might also find that in the first weeks of wearing your braces they are rubbing against the inside cheeks or lips. Again, this is common, and your mouth does get used to the feeling. If you develop any issues such as ulcers as a result, a salty mouthwash can help a lot.
If the discomfort feels excessive, always contact your orthodontist for a checkup. We will look over your braces and make sure that nothing is out of place. At Gentle Touch Orthodontics we will provide you with a clear wax that can be applied by you directly onto your braces where the discomfort is occurring. This wax is part of our travel pack that all patients receive when commencing their braces treatment.
Having your braces fitted is only the first step of your journey to a better, brighter, and healthier smile. Take the time and attention needed to look after your braces, gums, and teeth, and your orthodontic treatment will be much faster and more straightforward.
Contact the team at Gentle Touch Orthodontics in Adelaide today to find out more and to start your custom smile plan. Your teeth could be healthier and better-looking than you ever imagined possible, and sooner than you think.