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Now that you have your braces in place, it’s even more important to maintain good hygiene during your treatment. Braces, wires, bands and retainers can trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque. Careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal and snack, is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease.
While you are wearing braces, please avoid eating hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar. Hard foods can break or damage the wires and brackets, and sticky foods can get caught between the wires and brackets. Minimize the amount of sugary foods you eat; the sugar can cause tooth decay and other related problems.
We encourage patients to quit bad habits, such as fingernail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects. All of these activities can break or damage your braces.
It’s important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. If you have a loose/broken wire or bracket, please call our office immediately to arrange a repair appointment.
It can be helpful to understand the various parts of orthodontic braces and how they work.
Bands are a ring of metal which fit around the molars and sometimes premolars. The bands are selected from a range of sizes in order to find the tightest-fitting band. The bands are sealed into position using dental cement that contains fluoride to prevent any decalcification during treatment.
Brackets hold the archwire against each tooth, and the archwire fits into a slot in the bracket. Brackets may be attached directly to each tooth or to a band.
The main wires, known as archwires, are shaped specifically to fit around the arch of the teeth. The archwire fits into a slot in each bracket. Teeth are moved by the pressure that is applied by the braces, and that pressure comes from the archwire, which guides tooth movement.
An elastic is the tiny rubber ring that ties the archwire into the bracket.
Hooks are small attachments on brackets that are used to attach rubber bands for added pressure.
A coil spring fits over the archwire between two brackets. It pushes the two brackets apart, creating space between those two teeth.
Orthodontic emergencies are, thankfully, very rare. The following topics can help you address most orthodontic problems at home. However, for any situation you cannot resolve on your own, contact our office as soon as possible so we can schedule an appointment for you.