SEPARATORS

These little rubber rings are placed between your teeth to open a small amount of space between your molars. This space makes it much easier to fit bands around these teeth. They should remain in place approximately one week.

  • The separators will make your teeth tender or sore for 3 to 5 days. You may want to take ibuprofen (Advil) to relieve the discomfortc
  • Avoid chewy and sticky foods, including gum, because they may pull the separators out.
  • Avoid flossing your teeth where there are separators. However, you can brush or use a waterpik.
  • If a separator falls out, this usually means it has created the needed space. However, if this happens more than 3 days prior to your appointment, please contact our office. If it is over the weekend, you may wait until Monday.

Note: If a separator is swallowed, there should be no complications because of their small size.

QUAD

In order to correct your bite, we have placed an appliance in your mouth called a Quad Expander. Your expander is cemented in place. There are loops in it, which are adjusted by the doctor to guide the expansion and correction of your bite.

A few tips that will help this process:

  • Don’t wiggle the quad with your fingers or tongue.
  • Avoid sticky, chewy, or sugary foods because these may loosen your appliance and cause tooth decay. If your quad becomes loose or feels differently, call and schedule an appointment.
  • Keep your Quad clean: a child-sized tooth brush can be helpful.
  • Use wax to cover the bands if they poke in the back.
  • If you notice a change in your speech, speak slowly and distinctly and your tongue will adapt to the change.

Note: You’ll feel some pressure when the Quad is activated and you may have some tenderness in your back teeth. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are recommended.

EXPANSION APPLIANCE (RPE)

This appliance is designed to widen the roof of your mouth by gently separating the upper jaw. It is activated at home by the parents of younger patients or older patients themselves. Expansion of the upper arch is accomplished in 2 to 4 weeks, but the appliance generally remains in the mouth for 6 months to hold the expansion while new bone growth takes place.

Instructions for activating an expander:

  • Place the key in the front in the center of the expander and push toward the back of the throat until it won’t turn any further (a new hole will appear). Withdraw the key toward the back of the throat. Be careful not to turn the screw back toward the front.
  • DO NOT turn the expander any more than instructed, regardless of when your next appointment is.

What to expect:

  • The back teeth may be uncomfortable for 2 to 3 days after the expander has been placed.
  • You may experience difficulty speaking clearly. (Read out loud to improve speech.)
  • You might also experience difficulty swallowing (which will improve in a few days).
  • You will likely feel pressure each time you turn the expansion screw.
  • Many patients perceive a space open between their front teeth. This is normal and usually closes in 8 to 10 weeks.

DO’S and DON’TS of caring for your expander:

  • DO take extra time and energy to brush well around your appliance and use mouthwash because the expander tends to trap food and bacteria. GOOD oral hygiene will prevent cavities and gum disease.
  • Don’t eat foods that are hard, sticky, or chewy. Take smaller bites with the new appliance.
  • DON’T play with your expansion appliance with your tongue or fingers!

BRACES CARE

Congratulations on your new braces! Your teeth may begin to feel sore and other places may become tender.

Here are a couple of items to help you care for yourself and your teeth!

  • Take Ibuprofen to help with discomfort.
  • Use wax as needed to smooth things over.
  • Brush your teeth! Hold your toothbrush at an angle when you brush above, below, and between your braces.
  • Floss daily.
  • Poor brushing may leave white spots on your teeth.
  • See your dentist regularly while in orthodontic treatment.

DO NOT:

  • Eat sticky foods: Gum, taffy, Starbursts, caramels, Tootsie Rolls, Milk Duds, Snickers, etc.
  • Eat hard foods: jerky, corn on the cob, ice cubes, etc.
  • Chew on: pens, pencils, and fingernails

Occasionally, a wire may poke. Press a ball of wax over the wire. If a wire has slid, carefully use a blunt object (pencil eraser) to push the wire back in place. If a bracket comes loose, please save the bracket and call our office to schedule time to re-bracket the tooth.

CLEAR ALIGNERS

Congratulations on your new journey for straight teeth! Here are a couple of items to help you care for your teeth!

  • New aligners may feel tight at first, but will get easier to remove with time.
  • Take Ibuprofen to help with any discomfort or soreness.
  • Chewies can help fully seat aligners as well as improve tooth movement.
  • The clear bumps on your teeth are called attachments and help move your teeth.
  • See your dentist regularly while in orthodontic treatment.
  • Not wearing aligners or missing appointments can lengthen your treatment time.
  • Keep previous aligners, in case you might need to use them again.
  • At the completion of your series of aligners, an additional 3D scan may be needed for refinements.

DO:

  • Wear aligners for 22+ hours a day
  • Remove aligners to eat and drink, except water
  • Brush trays with a small amount of mouthwash and rinse daily
  • Always rinse aligners before putting them in.
  • You can chew sugar-free gum while wearing aligners.
  • If you are not wearing aligners, make sure they are in your case.
  • When traveling, remember to pack your next aligner.

DON’T:

  • Eat or drink anything with aligners in, except water
  • Use toothpaste on aligners, because it is abrasive and can cause the aligners to become cloudy
  • Play with aligners with your tongue
  • Leave aligners in a hot car or around excessive heat; they are plastic and can warp and will no longer hold their shape.

Occasionally, an attachment on your tooth can come off. If that happens, please call our office and let us know.

ELASTICS

Elastics are worn to adjust your bite in order to make it fit together better. This works by applying a constant pressure to the teeth to move them gradually. It is crucial to wear them exactly as instructed so the desired results will be accomplished. Soreness of the teeth when you first start to wear elastics is normal. CONTINUE to wear them and the soreness will go away.

  • Wear your elastics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week unless instructed otherwise. Remove them only to brush your teeth.
  • If you take them out for an extended period of time before replacing them, your teeth will shift, and you will feel soreness.
  • Remember to change them every 6 hours.
  • Eating with elastics in place is optional; just remember to replace them when finished.
  • Occasionally, elastics will break. If this happens, just replace it.
  • Carry a package of elastics with you at all times. If you run out, call or stop by the office to get more.
  • If you live far from the office, call and we will mail you some.
  • Don’t forget to replace your elastics after you remove them from brushing. Try placing them around your finger to remind yourself.

Remember that elastic wear is up to YOU! Your cooperation will affect the speed of your treatment and the final result!

SPRINGS

Today, a special spring appliance has been installed onto your braces. This appliance is designed to help move your teeth. It may reduce the need for you to wear headgear or undergo extraction of permanent teeth. It is designed to withstand normal Intraoral forces, but like all orthodontic appliances, it can be damaged or broken.

The following are some tips to make wearing your new appliance as efficient and trouble-free as possible.

  • This appliance will allow normal mouth opening for eating and speaking. It is recommended you try not to open your mouth extremely wide, because doing so may damage the appliance.
  • The design keeps the appliance away from your teeth. Do not bite it. Biting may deform or break it and cause injury to your mouth.
  • As with any appliance worn inside the mouth, some discomfort or irritation may occur. Please call us if the discomfort continues of a sore develops in your mouth.
  • Be careful what you eat. Avoid hard or sticky food and eat smaller bites.
  • Brushing is always recommended after every meal. Take special care when brushing your teeth to avoid dislodging or separating the appliance.
  • If any part of the springs break or come loose, please save those parts and bring them to your appointment.

RETAINERS

Instructions for wearing retainers:

  • After your braces are removed, wear the retainers 24 hours a day. After 10 weeks of wearing them full time, wear them every night for the rest of your life, or your teeth will move.
  • If your retainers ever feel tight, you’re not wearing them enough.
  • Never wrap them in a tissue, leave them lying around, or put them in your pocket.
  • Never place your retainers in hot water, near a hot surface, or leave them in your car on a hot day. The heat will warp the plastic, causing them not to fit properly.
  • Pets love to chew on the retainers! Keep them out of their reach.
  • To keep your retainers clean, take them out and brush them well when brushing your teeth.
  • Occasionally, your retainers may get a stale taste, odor, or a white calcium build-up. If this happens, simply soak them in a denture cleaner for 10 minutes.

What to expect:

  • Your teeth may be uncomfortable for a couple of days. Please continue to wear them. The discomfort will go away in a few days.
  • Speech may be affected initially while wearing your retainers. Practice speaking or reading out loud.
  • If you lose or break a retainer, please call.

FINAL APPOINTMENT

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Your retainers are working well and this is your final appointment! We have enjoyed having you as our patient, and we want you to share with your family and friends how we helped improve your beautiful smile.

The following are a few reminders to help you keep that beautiful healthy smile!

  • Your retainer is your smile’s best friend.
  • Clean your retainer periodically with denture cleaner (no more than 15 minutes) to keep it fresh and clean.
  • REMEMBER, if you stop wearing your retainer, studies show that your TEETH WILL MOVE.
  • WEAR THE RETAINER EVERY NIGHT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
  • You will no longer have scheduled appointments; your treatment is now complete. However, if you have a problem or concerns, please give us a call. There may be additional charges at that time, but we are here to help you keep your beautiful smile for a lifetime.