Important Information for Orthodontic Patients

Good orthodontic treatment results can only be attained with cooperative and informed patients and parents. Successful treatment results from the team effort of patients, parents, clinic staff and the orthodontist.

For best results in an optimum amount of time, you are advised to:

1. Keep to scheduled appointments.

2. Practise good oral hygiene.

3. Wear the rubber bands, headgear or retainers as instructed. Failure to comply is the most common cause of inferior results and increased treatment time.

4. Care for the braces to reduce breakage. Call the clinic immediately should you experience loose or broken appliances.

5. Have a well-balanced diet.

Not keeping to these rules could force your orthodontist to change the procedures and goals of your treatment. Treatment may be suspended, leading to possible problems involving teeth, gums, jaw joints or severe relapse of tooth positions. Cooperation throughout treatment is your best way of ensuring a pleasant smile and a good bite at the end of treatment.

Do remember that following directions and recommendations are your responsibility. Your orthodontist will encourage you, but cannot assume responsibility for you.

Caring for Your Braces:

1. The appliance is fixed onto your teeth and you must not attempt to remove or adjust it. If your band becomes loose or the appliance is damaged, please inform your orthodontist and an appointment will be arranged for you to be seen as soon as possible.

2. Initially, there may be some discomfort and soreness of the lip, cheeks, gums and teeth. This will decline with the wear of the appliance. Should it become severe, please contact your orthodontist.

3. Foods to avoid are sticky sweets, chewing gum, toffee, hard foods, tough meat etc. - which can damage the appliance.

4. The appliance itself cannot harm teeth, but food and bacteria which accumulate around it can lead to decay and gum disease if unremoved.

Cleaning Your Teeth

Braces, wires, bands and retainers all trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque. Plaque is a sticky layer of harmful bacteria, food, saliva and debris which, if allowed to build up, can attack your teeth and gums, causing cavities and gum disease. Brushing and flossing after every meal is the only way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease.

Brushing:

1. Remove your elastics/rubber bands (if any).

2. Clean your braces first. Using the correct brushing angle and action, clean in and around all the wires and/or pins on your braces. Brush both sides of the wire to ensure all plaque and food particles are removed. When you have finished cleaning your top teeth, repeat with the bottom teeth.

3. Clean the gum margins. Using the correct technique, clean the gum margins in all outer surfaces of upper and lower teeth.

4. Clean the inner surfaces. Use the same brushing action to thoroughly clean behind each tooth. Tilt the brush to reach in behind your top front teeth. Repeat for your inside bottom teeth.

5. Clean the chewing surfaces. Use a short back and forth action to clean the flat chewing and grinding surfaces of the back teeth, top and bottom.

6. Rinse and check. Rinse thoroughly and check in the mirror that teeth and braces are clean.

Correct Brushing Technique:

Angle

Clean into your gum margin and through your braces with the toothbrush tilted at a 45 degree angle to ensure these areas are cleaned thoroughly.

Action

Vibrate or jiggle brush head gently, with the brush tips remaining in the same place.

Flossing:

Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gumline, where your toothbrush cannot reach. It is possible and necessary to floss your teeth when you have braces.

1. Break off about 30cm of floss. With the help of a floss threader, pass one end of the floss below the orthodontic arch wire in the gap, between the braces. Remove the floss threader.

2. Wind one end of the floss around the index finger of one hand and the other end around the same finger on the other hand.

3. Hold the floss taut between your thumbs and index fingers with about 5cm of floss between them.

4. Using a gentle sawing motion, guide the floss between your teeth and gum.

5. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently scrape the side of the tooth with a sliding motion.

6. Repeat 4 to 6 on the rest of your teeth, with a new section of floss for every tooth.

Our nurses will be happy to provide a demonstration of the above technique to you at our clinic. Please enquire with your orthodontist. Please also remember to bring your toothbrush along at every visit.

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