Orthodontics Post-procedure Instructions

The Importance Of Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene vital to orthodontic success, and it will also help to ensure that your smile lasts a lifetime. Get used to:
– Brushing your teeth, (not just the brackets) after every meal with an electric tooth brush – for example: Sonicare
– Flossing daily as directed
– Massaging your gums gently with your toothbrush to keep them healthy
– Avoiding foods that can damage your braces or get stuck in your teeth.

With braces, good oral hygiene is even more important than ever, because it’s easy for particles of food to get trapped in and around brackets and wires. This increases your chances of tooth decay and can cause bad breath.

If the brackets are white, bits of food will be easy to see. Not only that, but improper oral hygiene can cause the ligatures that hold the archwire onto your brackets to discolor and look bad.

If circumstances prevent you from brushing, it can be helpful to rinse your mouth with water after drinking soda or eating a sugary snack.

Before Leaving the Office: There are routine steps that we ask that you complete prior to leaving the office. Please make these steps a part of each office visit:
1) Using your finger and tongue, check that wire ends do not poke or abrade the cheek or tongue.
2) Make sure you understand what you are to do until your next appointment. This could include wearing headgear or elastics as instructed, adjusting an expander or following specific hygiene or diet instructions.
3) Make sure you have an adequate supply of dental wax, special cleaning aids, rubber bands, or other related materials you may need between appointments.
4) Always schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. Waiting 1-2 weeks after an appointment before scheduling your next office visit complicates the scheduling process, since appointments are usually programmed 4-6 weeks in advance. Postponing appointments is a common contributor to overtime treatment.

Food
Candy and foods that are sticky and chewy, or hard and crunchy, create the biggest problems for children and adults wearing braces or retainers.
– Therefore, in general:
Nothing hard
Nothing sticky
No big mouthfuls
No biting into anything hard
– Specific Foods to Avoid
Sticky gum
Taffy
Hard candy
Sticky candy, such as caramels, Sugar Daddies™, Starbursts™, carameled applies, Sugar Babies™, licorice, toffee, Tootsie Rolls™, Now & Laters™
Popcorn
Peanuts
Ice
Taco chips
Whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first)
Hard French bread crust and rolls
Spareribs
Corn-on-the-cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating
Bagels
Pizza crusts
Carrots (uncooked)
Doritos™
Pretzels

Plain chocolate candy is all right, as long as you brush afterwards.

Remember: Crunchy, chewy, sticky, gooey foods can damage your braces and lengthen treatment time. AND, your help and cooperation in following your doctor’s instructions about what to eat and how to keep your braces in good shape, lead to great results!

What to Do If There is an Emergency:
We are always available to attend to any orthodontic emergency, should one ever occur. Our emergency number can be accessed on our after hours message by calling our main office number, (916) 626-4050 ext 1 after business hours, and on weekends.

Any severe or unusual pain, accidents, or trauma to the teeth or braces are considered orthodontic emergencies so please do not hesitate to call us if any of these occur.

Other less severe situations may be alleviated at home until they are seen the next business day, but if you have any doubts, please do not hesitate to call. Some of these may be a loose band or bracket, a poking wire, or a missing elastic or metal tie.

Emergencies can be taken care of at home temporarily. Here are some examples of what you can do:

Poking Wire: If your cheeks, tongue or lips are sore from a sharp piece of your braces, place a small amount of soft dental wax that was given to you at your bracketing appointment and call us the next day. If you don’t have wax, a little piece of wet cotton will also help until we can see you.
If the wax does not stay, you may try to push the poking wire with the end of a pencil eraser to tuck it behind the main arch wire and make it more comfortable for your lips and cheeks.
Only do this for the softer, thinner wires that can be bent around; some thicker wires will not allow you to push them or bend them around.

Loose Band or Bracket
If anything feels loose or broken, keep any parts that detach from your braces and carefully put them in a zip-lock bag. Call us during business hours and bring your broken pieces to the repair appointment.

Missing Elastic or Metal Tie
If you notice any of your braces are missing the ties that hold the wire in place, if the wire is loose or anything feels different, please call us during business hours for an appointment.

Pain
After the placement of your braces, or after a wire adjustment, you may experience mild to moderate discomfort while chewing and biting. This discomfort will disappear in two to four days. Any over the counter pain medication that you take for a headache will help but we recommend Tylenol (acetaminophen). If pain is severe or does not disappear with your usual analgesics, please call immediately for an emergency appointment.

Lost Retainers
If you loose your retainers, please call us the next business day for an appointment to make you some new ones.

Important-Do not forget!
– If you are wearing a night brace, retainer or functional appliance, always bring it with you to each appointment.
– Broken appointments will prolong treatment.
– Cooperation in wearing elastics, night brace, and all removable appliances is most important to treatment success.

Instructional Videos:
Post-op Instructions for Braces