Orthodontist in Houston, TX
Care Guide for
Welcome to our comprehensive care guide for braces! We understand that this journey to a straighter smile is an exciting one, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. Whether you’re a new patient or have been wearing braces for a while, this guide will provide you with valuable information on how to care for your braces properly.
From navigating oral hygiene to managing discomfort, we’ve got you covered. Our friendly tips and tricks will ensure that you achieve the best possible results while maintaining your oral health. Let’s dive in and make your orthodontic experience as smooth as possible!
1. Your First 24 Hours With Braces
- You can eat any time after leaving our office, however, please follow the guidelines of suggested food
- Your braces are most susceptible to breaking in the first 24 hours
- Until you become accustomed to eating with your new braces, you may find it beneficial to follow a diet consisting of soft foods
2. Before Leaving The Office After Each Visit
- Use fingers and tongue to check wire ends for areas that might poke or abrade the tongue or cheek
- Understand what you are to do until the next appointment: Elastics, activating an expander or specific hygiene or diet instructions
- Make sure you have enough orthodontic wax, special cleaning aids, elastic bands, etc.
- Always schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. Waiting to schedule your appointment can compromise your appointment timing. Postponing appointments is a common contributor to extended treatment.
- Make sure your questions about treatment are answered. We encourage parents to accompany their children to their appointments.
3. What About Discomfort?
- Braces feel like they stick out at first, but this sensation will lessen with time
- Use orthodontic wax around brackets causing any irritation until cheek or tongue is used to their presence. Wax can be swallowed without harm to patient.
- If wax runs out, call our office for more. It may be purchased at a local drug store.
- You will probably notice some discomfort beginning a few hours after braces are placed that will dissipate over the course of a week
- Some teeth, usually in the front, may be tender with pressure
- Nonprescription pain remedies recommended and can be taken before discomfort begins
- Warm salt water rinses are suggested
4. Eating With Braces
Certain eating habits are known to cause breakage of orthodontic appliances and increase the risk of dental disease. Remember, teeth move best in a healthy environment and in individuals with excellent overall health.
Potential Harm to Your Teeth & Gums
- Food and drink that may cause cavities should be restricted
- Sticky foods increase the risk of cavities and appliance breakage
- If any foods high in sugar are consumed, make sure careful brushing and rinsing take place 15-20 minutes after
- Between meal snacks should be restricted to foods without sugar and followed by vigorous rinsing if toothbrush not available
- Braces can be broken and wires bent or broken while eating certain foods
- Use the food lists below as a guide
* Some people get the gum stuck on their appliances. If this is an issue, there is a special Orthogum available online here.
Foods to Avoid:
5. Brushing & Flossing With Braces
Taking care of your braces includes proper brushing and flossing techniques. Begin by using an interproximal brush to clean between the brackets and wires. Next, floss carefully, using traditional floss, a Waterpik, or an AirFloss. Then, brush thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste, paying extra attention to all surfaces. Finally, if desired, rinse with mouthwash for an added fresh feel. These simple steps will keep your braces clean and your smile shining bright throughout your orthodontic journey.
6. What Happens if I Don’t Take Care of My Braces Properly?
Lack of proper care for your braces can have some not-so-fun consequences. Without regular attention, you may encounter decalcification, resulting in permanent white spots on your teeth. Inadequate oral hygiene can also lead to gingivitis, causing inflamed gums. In more severe cases, it could even progress to periodontitis, a gum disease that can harm your teeth and supporting structures. Fear not! We’re here to guide you with effective care techniques, ensuring a healthy and dazzling smile throughout your orthodontic journey. Let’s explore how to keep those pearly whites in top-notch shape!
7. What is an Orthodontic Emergency?
Direct Injuries to Mouth or Teeth
- If it is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1
- See your regular dentist as soon as possible
- Usually a radiograph is needed for full diagnosis
- If orthodontic appliances dislodged, then schedule an appointment or replace or adjust them
- Call our office immediately after seeing your family dentist
- If you cannot reach your family dentist or alternate emergency facility, call this office and we will assist you in locating someone to care for the injury
Emergencies Related to Orthodontic Appliances
The principle advantage of orthodontic care is to boost self-esteem. Studies have shown that people who own a stunning smile have a higher quality of life including higher self-confidence, better social skills, and even higher academic performance.
You might also notice improvements in your bite, making it easier to enjoy your favorite foods. Further, orthodontics can also make it easier to keep your teeth clean and prevent gum disease. If you need an implant due to missing or damaged teeth, Dr. Cooper also works with local specialists to create the space for an implant. Finally, Dr. Cooper works with cosmetic specialists to create the spacing necessary for patients considering veneers.
Orthodontic treatment is a great option if you notice any of the following:
- Teeth not fitting together well when biting,
- Crowding or space between teeth,
- Rotated teeth,
- Teeth too long or too short,
- Crooked or misshapen teeth,
- Gum display when smiling, or
- General dissatisfaction with the appearance of the teeth.
The average treatment time is 12-24 months. However this can vary depending on the issues you want addressed. We can be a lot more specific about how long treatment will take after Dr. Cooper completes her free consultation.
Real Patient Reviews
Why Our Patients Love Us
At Cooper Orthodontics, we are confident that you will love your new smile and we think you’ll enjoy the journey to that smile as well. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Listen to what some of our awesome patients have to say about Cooper Orthodontics and their experience.