At Somerville Orthodontics, it is our goal to do everything we can to educate our patients and work together as a team to help create your best smile. The purpose of our blog is to provide unbiased information so that you, the patient can collect information and make an informed decision.
The most common question I get asked as an orthodontist is: When are my braces coming off? I know that wearing braces can be uncomfortable. As big life events start approaching, most patients can’t wait to get them off. In today’s blog, we are going to discuss a 3 tips that can to make your time in braces shorter and more comfortable.
I know that everyone in your family has already told you how important it is to brush your teeth. Braces and wires act as a trap and make it easy for food particles and bacteria to collect and grow around your teeth. Keeping them clean will help prevent any cavities and white spots from developing around your braces.
Want another reason to brush well during your braces treatment? Researchers compared braces patients with good brushing vs. bad brushing habits. They found that just three visits of poor brushing could lengthen your time in braces by an average of 2.2 months. Translation: For every month of bad brushing, you are adding about a month to your time in braces.
Want yet another reason to brush well during your braces treatment? Poor oral hygiene can lead to the development of white spot lesions on your teeth. These are tooth scars that do NOT go away or fade with time. Compare the two photos below. Can you tell who had good brushing during treatment and who didn’t? Which set of teeth would you prefer to have after your braces are done?
Here are a few tips to make sure your teeth stay nice and clean:
- Brush after every meal. If you can’t brush, rinse thoroughly with water or mouth wash.
- Get an electric toothbrush and water pick.
- Try our plaque disclosing toothpaste to help with problem spots.
Wear Your Elastics/Rubber Bands
Braces and wires will straighten your teeth, but your bite can only be fixed with elastics. Rubber bands will help fix your bite and allow your teeth to fit together. This is important for normal health and function as you chew and can even influence how you speak.
But you need to be careful. Wearing your rubber bands the wrong way can make your bite worse! Make sure you take a picture of how to wear your elastics before you leave. Or ask one of our dedicated staff to remind you how to wear them.
Most patients only have to wear rubber bands for a few months during treatment. It will make your teeth sore, but after a few days of dedicated wear, your teeth will adjust. Periodically wearing and not wearing your elastics will actually make things more uncomfortable.
Here are some tips you can try to help remind you to wear your rubber bands:
- Set a reminder on your phone.
- If you take your rubber bands out, put them around your finger instead of throwing them away.
- Ask your friends and family to help remind you.
Don’t Break Your Braces
We use a special glue to hold the braces onto the surface of your teeth. Biting on hard or sticky foods can break this glue. If a bracket is not properly attached to the tooth, then that tooth cannot move. Each visit with a broken bracket will lengthen your time in treatment!
Make sure you check your braces every day. They should be firmly attached to each tooth and not sliding around on the wire. If you do notice something not right, give us a call right away so we can correct the problem and get you back on track.
Here are some tips to help prevent bracket breakage:
- Cut your food into small pieces and chew carefully on the back teeth.
- Try not to bite into anything with your front teeth.
- Avoid sticky, chewy and crunchy foods.
Don’t Forget About Your Retainers
Retainers are the final part of your treatment. We need to hold the final position of your teeth, otherwise they will begin to shift around again. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know how long you will have to wear your retainers for. Some patients must wear them every night or else some teeth will begin to shift. Others never wear them and their teeth never move. Each patient is different and we will work together to figure out the best protocol for you. For more information on retainers, check out our blog post: https://somervilleorthodontics.com/straight-talk-about-retainers/
At Somerville Orthodontics, we believe retention is for life. After you complete treatment, we will provide you with retainers to maintain your new smile. With our retainers for life program, we will replace your retainers for a small co payment. It doesn’t matter if you lose them, your dog eats them, you accidentally flush them down the toilet, leave them on your family vacation or anything else you can think of. Contact us for more information!
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