The importance of braces is no secret. Braces are very familiar to most people, especially during the teenage years.
Dental braces have been around for many years to correct teeth and jaws and help achieve a straight and attractive smile. They are typically used by specialist orthodontists, like Ronald Sluiter, who have years of extra post-graduate training, specifically in those treatments.
Braces can straighten, align and position teeth. Modern materials have made having braces much more comfortable and attractive than in the past. This has contributed to an increase in the popularity of getting braces.
When your braces are placed initially you may also find yourself with an extra support wire (also called under-tie) that is placed underneath the main archwire across a tooth extraction space.
The key to healthy teeth and gums is thorough plaque removal every day. Plaque is the sticky colourless film of bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth. Braces provide extra places for plaque and food to accumulate. If it is left to build up it will cause tooth decay, white marks on teeth and in extreme cases, gum disease. Plaque that isn't removed from around the brackets and gum line will cause the gums to swell rapidly and become tender and bleed.
At first, doing a good job removing plaque from your teeth and along the gum line may seem difficult with braces. But keep at it - with a bit of practice it will get easier! Following these tips will also help:
Basically there are three main food groups you need to avoid or work out ways to eat them. They are foods that fit into the category of:
HARD - STICKY - CHEWY
You will find that your diet doesn't need to change too much; it is more about how you eat things. Firmer foods are best eaten slowly to avoid hard biting forces, and should be cut into smaller pieces first.
Remember constant breakages caused by eating incorrectly will lead to extended treatment time.
Sugary Foods and Drinks:
Avoid foods with lots of sugar such as lollies, biscuits, cakes, soft drinks, high energy drinks and flavoured waters. Consumption of sugary foods and drinks must be kept to a minimum to avoid decay and white marks that you often don't see until your braces are removed. Remember to rinse with water directly after consuming something sugary and brush your teeth 1 hour later. (Brushing sooner than this may cause abrasive damage to your teeth!)
The wearing of elastics is an important stage of Orthodontics.
Orthodontic emergencies do occur occasionally and, although they may be a little upsetting for the patient and parents, they are actually fairly simple to treat. To help you accurately describe the emergency situation use the diagram above which illustrates and names each part of a typical set of braces.
If you feel that some part of your brace has broken or bent then phone here for advice or an appointment to have the repair work completed. The longer something is left without repair the longer your treatment time will be because damaged appliances will not work effectively. This includes:
We prefer to have you come to us for repairs as sometimes D.I.Y. repair work causes more damage, however if you have wires digging in while away on holiday or outside of surgery hours, you may contact a dentist for a temporary repair until we can see you. (They may charge you.) Our opening hours are 8am - 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8am - 3pm on Friday.
The following list offers examples of possible treatment:
Food Caught Between Teeth
This can be a little uncomfortable or embarrassing for the patient. It is easily fixed with a piece of dental floss or use the interproximal brush supplied to dislodge the food caught between the teeth and braces.
Brackets can only be dislodged by eating incorrect food, fiddling with things in your mouth, a knock to your face or moisture contamination at the time of applying the braces. If the bracket is loose on your wire, try turning it around the correct way so it is not digging in and make a time to have this repaired as soon as possible. If you repeatedly knock off brackets through no fault of ours, you will be charged $65 per bracket after 3 have been replaced.
If an o-ring should come off it is important to get another one put on as soon as convenient because the o-ring is what holds the wire in to the bracket, to enable the tooth to move correctly. Sometimes when one pops off, others may follow.
It is normal to have discomfort for a day or two after braces or retainers are adjusted. This is both normal and temporary. Eat softer foods and take over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol or neurofen (if not asthmatic) which will reduce the discomfort.
If you're uncomfortable you could take paracetamol or neurofen for pain relief.
Your braces are going to feel strange at first and you may have a tendency to pick at the wires with your finger - please avoid doing this.
There will be slight discomfort after each visit for a couple of days, this is to be expected and is a sign that your teeth are moving.
Your braces may feel a bit bulky and uncomfortable for a few days. Your teeth may also feel sensitive or tender at the start of treatment. This is normal as your teeth adjust to the braces and start to move. It is best to eat soft foods during this period, e.g. minced or stewed meats, mashed vegetables, eggs, fruit salad and ice-cream. Once your teeth start moving the tenderness will disappear and you can go back to a normal consistency diet.
Sometimes new braces can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating. In most cases it only takes a few days for your mouth to get used to your braces. However some people are susceptible to ulcers. Ulcers can occur from your lips or cheeks rubbing on the braces. A small amount of non-medicinal relief wax (provided) makes an excellent buffer between metal (or ceramic) and mouth. Simply pinch off a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea, flatten the ball, dry the tooth and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation. If at any stage the wax is accidentally swallowed it's not a problem. The wax is harmless.
Occasionally the end of a wire will work itself out of place and irritate your mouth. Try and push the wire flat against the tooth; if the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, try covering it with relief wax or place a cotton ball over it and make an appointment to have this repaired.
The wearing of braces should not restrict any leisure or sporting activity. For active sports, a mouthguard should be worn at all times. These may be obtained from any Chemist or sports shop and are quite inexpensive. After softening in hot water, the mouthguard material is placed over the upper teeth and moulded around them by firm pressure with the fingers and then biting pressure.
However, because braces cause teeth to constantly move, these mouthguards may need to be remoulded every couple of weeks to start with, then less often as your teeth straighten.
To minimise treatment time and reduce the chance of problems you should always remember to:
If you have any questions or concerns no matter how trivial you may think they are, please ask a staff member.