Fixed braces are made up of essentially 3 components: the brackets (small metal or ceramic squares) which are cemented onto the outside surface of each tooth, a wire which runs through all the individual brackets and ligatures which are small elastic bands that hold the wire in the bracket.
If teeth are not cleaned well enough with fixed braces on, you can be left with gum disease, decay and permanent stains on your teeth. To ensure you are brushing well enough you need to be following these steps.
• Brush teeth for 4 minutes morning and night time; if possible also brush your teeth after lunch.
• Brush around the gum lines, inside and underneath the teeth and also over the brackets.
• Use interdental brushes to go up and underneath the wire in between each tooth.
• Use a fluoride based, alcohol free mouth wash at a different time to when you brush.
When wearing fixed braces, certain foods and drinks must be avoided. These would include:
• Sugary and acidic drinks e.g. coke, lemonade and pure fruit juice. It also includes diet brands and fizzy water.
• Hard, chewy and sticky foods e.g. chewing gum, toffee, sweets, nuts and popcorn.
• Chocolate is fine to eat as long as it does not have a hard, chewy or sticky centre.
• Apples, raw carrots, rolls and pizza crusts need to be cut up before being eaten.
Eating foods which are not allowed can break the brace which will add time to the treatment.
When first having the brace fitted, it is completely normal to be a bit sensitive in the teeth. Everyone is different but it normally lasts around 2-5 days. In this time, it is recommended to take some pain killers, whatever you would take for a headache. Also, stick to foods which can be eaten without chewing too much such as pasta, soup and mashed potato etc.
If you experience any ulcers with the brace on then use whatever you would use normally, such as bonjela or salt and warm water mouth rinses. Sometimes the brace will rub against the inside of your mouth which will create a sore spot. You can buy some wax at reception which can help with the rubbing; this can be used by sticking the wax against the part of the brace which is rubbing. The wax is made of vegetable oil so no need to worry if it swallowed, it will stay stuck to the brace until you eat or brush your teeth.
If the brace breaks then you need to contact reception during business hours and as soon as you realise it is broken. The most commonly reported breakage is that a bracket has come away from a tooth, this then means that the tooth isn’t attached to the wire and can drift away from the brace. If you leave the brace broken then this can prolong your treatment time. Sometimes, the wire can either come out of the bracket or it can stick out the back of the brace which can then be sharp and uncomfortable. Any problems with the brace then please call us on the practice number during business hours, including if you are due to come for your routine appointment.