YOUR BRACES
Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation
Orthodontic Center
YOUR BRACES
Congratulations, you have made the big decision and are now wearing braces. The
following information will help make your orthodontic treatment as easy as possible.
Our goal is to give you the best smile possible. In order to accomplish this, we will need
your help!!
Oral Hygiene
It is important for you to know that the build-up of plaque on the teeth or around the
braces can easily cause gum disease, cavities, or permanent marks (white spots) on
the fronts of your teeth. With braces, it will take you a bit longer to brush your teeth
properly. Here is some good advice to make brushing easier and help you do a more
thorough job.
Brushing tips: Use a soft toothbrush. Begin by brushing the front side of your teeth.
Look at each tooth as you brush it. Make small circular brushing motions. Brush along
the gum line pointing bristles at an angle into the pocket between the tooth and the gum.
Plaque likes to hide in this area...beware! Brush above, below, and on the front of each
bracket. Then point the bristles under the wire.
Make up your own routine so that no area is missed. For example, begin with your
upper right last molar tooth. Brush it clean, and move on to the next tooth. Continue
until you reach your upper last left molar tooth, and then switch to the bottom teeth. Again,
start on one side and move all the way to the other side making sure to get every tooth.
Now that the front sides of your teeth are clean, begin brushing the backside of your teeth
in the same order. Finally, brush the biting surface of all your teeth. You should brush
your tongue and the roof of your mouth. This will help to make your breath smell better.
After brushing, rinse your teeth thoroughly with water. Take a good look at your
teeth and braces in the mirror. Each brace should look shiny and all the teeth should
be free of plaque or food. If you see any places that were missed, quickly brush that area
again with only the toothbrush and water. Toothpaste will only block your view.
Cleaning Between the Teeth: One of the hardest areas to keep clean is between the
teeth and under the wire. For this reason, we have given you a special type of brush
called an Inter-dental (Proxy) toothbrush. It has a very small brush designed to clean in
these hard to get to areas. Use it to clean between all of your teeth. It should be used at
least once each day, ideally when you brush before going to bed. If needed, use it as
often as you can.
How Often Do I Need to Brush: In order to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy
when the braces are taken off, you need to brush at least three times each day, ideally
in the morning, afternoon (or after school), and before going to bed. You should spend at
least 3-5 minutes each time you brush.
Consequences of Poor Brushing: If you don’t do a good job when you brush and/or
don’t brush often enough, the consequences can be terrible. When the braces are taken
off, what can be left are ugly, red swollen gums, and holes or permanent white spots on
the fronts of teeth. All of this can be avoided with good brushing from the start.
Clean Teeth for Appointments: Please brush your teeth well before every appointment.
It is very difficult as well as unpleasant to work on dirty teeth. We will grade your
brushing at each appointment...and we are strict. Don’t be offended or discouraged if we
criticize your brushing. We are only trying to make sure you will have the best smile after
the braces are taken off.
Discomfort
What to Expect From the Braces: It is expected that there will be some initial soreness
after new wires are placed or rubber bands are started. The teeth will slowly begin to
move, and you will feel some pressure on them. Usually, the soreness and pressure will
go away after a few days.
Helpful Hints for Soreness: If you feel pressure of soreness after an adjustment, do not
go to a completely soft diet. Eating normal foods which will help to reduce the pain
more quickly, as will chewing sugarless gum. If needed, you can have your parents give
you Advil, Tylenol, or Aleve until the soreness decreases (1-2 days only).
Lip, Cheek, or Tongue Irritation: If one of the brackets is causing irritation to your lips,
cheeks, or tongue you should take a small piece of the soft wax we gave you and place it
on that brace. If this does not help and the irritation does not go away after a couple of
days, please give us a call.
Eating Habits
Each bracket is checked after it is put on to be certain it is firmly attached to the tooth.
Biting into hard or sticky foods as well as hard objects can cause enough pressure to
loosen a bracket or a band and even bend the wire. All of this can cause your teeth
to move in the wrong direction.
Foods Which Are Not Allowed: In general, you need to avoid foods and/or candies
that are hard, sticky, or chewy. For example, you should stay away from caramels,
taffy, licorice, hard rolls, Italian bread, bagels, and hard candy. You should not bite into
hard objects such as pens, pencils, eyeglasses, toothbrushes, silverware, and ice cubes.
When you begin treatment, we will give you a detailed acceptable / non-acceptable food
list. Please read it carefully and keep it for reference.
Gum Chewing: Yes, you are allowed to chew gum. However, it must be sugarless
stick gum such as Extra, Trident, Carefree, Freedent, or Dentyne. Do not chew large,
thick pieces of gum such as Bubble Yum. This is too thick and will damage the braces.
Emergency vs. Non-Emergency
A loose bracket generally is not an emergency, but if it is poking or bothering you, you
may come in for an emergency visit. If one of the back molar bands comes off, please
come in for an emergency visit and bring the band with you.
If a wire has shifted, broken, or come out and is stabbing you, please give us a call
immediately. This is an emergency. Use the wax if it will help. If for any reason
something is giving you excess pain and is not merely the initial discomfort from a new
wire, please call the office immediately.
Finishing On Time
In order to finish in the amount of time we estimated at the beginning of treatment, we
will need the following:

Good cooperation with elastics

Good attendance at your appointments

Minimal broken appliances

Good brushing
If you are deficient in any of these areas, your treatment time may be extended.
FOOD LIST
Candy You Should Not Eat
Bit of Honey
Black Cow
Bubble Yum Gum
Butterfinger Bar
Caramel Corn
Caramel Bar
Charleston Chew
Dots
Frozen Candy Bars
Fruit Roll Ups
Gummy Bears
Good and Plenty
Heath Bar
Jaw Breakers
Jujy Fruits
Ju-Ju Bees
Licorice
Life Savers
Marathon Bar
Milk Duds
Milky Way
O’Henry
100 Grand Bar
Peanut Brittle
Power Bar
Red Hots
Rock Caney
Slow Pokes
Snickers Bar
Starburst
Skittles
Taffy
Taffy Apples
Tootsie Rolls
Tootsie Roll Pops
Other Foods You Should Not Eat
Whole Apples (must be cut into at least four pieces)
Whole carrots (must be sliced)
Corn on the Cob
Bagels (any type)
Hard Rolls or Bread (Italian Bread)
Submarine Sandwiches (Subway sandwiches are okay)
Ice Cubes
Olives with pits
Beef Jerky
Candy You Can Eat
Chocolate Covered Fruit, such as Raisinets
Cough Drops (for colds only, do not chew!)
Hershey Bars
Mint Patties
Updated 7/14/2013
M&Ms (no peanuts)
Peanut Butter Cups
Sugarless Stick Gums
Three Musketeers
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