The Steps for Getting Braces
Appliances are another component of orthodontic treatment that may be necessary for some patients, depending upon the treatment and correction needed. Appliances may be fixed (attached), or removable. Once the appliance has done its job, it will no longer be needed. Not everyone will need an orthodontic appliance to complete treatment. During your orthodontic consultation Dr. Bygness will review recommended treatment, including any appliances, and provide an estimate for about how long they will be needed. Just like the entire treatment process, appliances typically are the most effective when worn or used as instructed by your orthodontist.
In many cases, the records and bonding appointments can be done on the same day.Bonding appointments take up to 90 minutes, and includes these steps:
- Orthodontist and staff clean and prepare your teeth
- Orthodontist uses models and records to position brackets on each teeth with a bonding agent and curing light
- Orthodontist inserts arch wires, which are held in place by the brackets
- Elastics, or rubber bands, are placed over brackets
- Staff go over special care and maintenance tips
As your jaw and teeth begin to move, you should schedule adjustment appointments every four to six weeks. Your orthodontist will assess your progress, give recommendations and adjust tension on the arch wires. Maintaining these appointments and following all instructions ensures your treatment is as fast and effective as possible.
At the end of treatment, the elastics, arch wires, and brackets are removed from your teeth. Next, your teeth are cleaned and polished. Then comes the best part: looking at your new, gorgeous smile! You will also have impressions made for retainers which will usually be ready in about two weeks.
Retainers are the final step in orthodontic treatment. Retainers are designed to make sure your hard work pays off and your new smile stay properly aligned. Retainers may be fixed to the back of your teeth, or may be a removable unit made of plastic and wire.
Mouthguards are designed to protect teeth from excessive wear or damage. Mouthguards are often used by athletes during sporting events, but may also be needed to help protect people with braces or dental bridges. Mouthguards typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.
Cost & Insurance Coverage For Mouthguards
Insurance may cover some or all of the cost of a custom-fitted mouthguard. The cost of a mouthguard may vary. Your dentist or orthodontist can review the best type of mouthguard for you.
Where Can I Get a Custom-Fitted Mouthguard?
Thirty Two & You offer custom-fitted mouthguards as a part of our comprehensive oral health services. If you have braces or other orthodontic treatment and regularly participate in athletics or contact sports, we strongly recommend having a custom mouthguard made, as your teeth and mouth are more prone to injury when you have braces.
Caring For Your Mouthguard
The best way to get the most wear and protection from your mouthguard is to follow these general steps:
- Rinse your mouthguard before and after each use, or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste if possible
- Occasionally clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water, rinse thoroughly and allow it to air dry
- Store and carry the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents
- Never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water
- Check for wear and tear to see if it needs to be replaced
Life With Braces
Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It's important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.
Eating with Braces
Don't worry, you'll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.
Foods you CAN eat with braces:
- Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
- Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
- Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
- Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
- Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
- Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
- Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
- Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Soreness Caused from Braces and Appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.
Loose Wires & Bands
The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.
You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.
Take Care Of Your Appliances
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
Playing Sports With Braces
Game. Set. Match. We have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it's recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.
In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and appliance for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.