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Taking care of your braces

Brace yourself for your new appliance!

Life won’t be much different and you’ll be surprised at how little time it takes to adapt to your appliance; in fact, after the break-in period, life won’t be much different at all.

There are very few restrictions; as long as you wear a mouth guard, you can participate in any contact sport and you can continue to play a musical instrument. All it takes is a little determination and patience.

A few helpful hints

Make sure you take care of your appliance, they are far from indestructible, and can actually be easily dislodged or broken if you don’t look after them. If you do lose or break your appliance, be sure to call your orthodontist and get an appointment straight away.

Sometimes a tie wire can get loose and start to poke the inside of your mouth. If this happens, gently tuck the wire back into place underneath the arch wire. Use a blunt object for this, like an ice-lolly stick. If you can’t get it back into place this way, cover it with a piece of wax until you can get to your orthodontist for proper treatment.

  • It’s absolutely essential that you avoid eating hard foods like popcorn, nuts or tortilla chips.
  • If you eat raw fruits and vegetables or hard foods like French bread, it’s a good idea to cut them into bite-size pieces first.
  • Sticky foods are out too. Bubble or chewing gum, nougat, toffee and other sticky foods can loosen your bands and brackets.
  • Be sure to keep foreign objects out of your mouth. Pencils, pens, fingernails and other objects can damage your appliances and damage the roots of your teeth due to conflicting forces on them.
Keep your teeth healthy by brushing them after you’ve eaten or drunk sugary or fizzy things. You don’t have to worry about doing it straight away, but brushing your teeth about an hour or so after giving yourself a treat, is a great habit to get into.

Cleaning your teeth

The illustrations and tips below will help you brush correctly and take care of your appliance…

Brushing step 11

Start with your upper teeth, holding the brush as shown in illustration 1 (roughly at a 45 degree angle), and place your brush pointing downwards and with a circular motion, brushing the area between the top of your appliance and your gum line, ensuring that the brush filaments are getting right behind the appliance.

Brushing step 22

Hold the brush as indicated in illustration 2 (a 45 degree angle as before) making sure it is covering your appliance. Using a circular motion, brush the outer surfaces of your teeth ensuring the filaments reach beneath the appliance and that the gum line itself is effectively cleaned.

Brushing step 33

Now to your lower teeth. Holding the brush as shown in illustration 3 (45 degree angle as before), place the brush pointing downwards and with a circular motion, brushing the area between the top of your appliance and your gum line, ensuring the brush filaments are getting behind the appliance.

Brushing step 44

Turning the brush to point upwards (at a 45 degree angle), hold the brush as shown in illustration 4, making sure it is covering your appliance. Using a circular motion, brush the outer surfaces of your teeth ensuring the filaments reach beneath the appliance and that the gum line is effectively cleaned.