Oral Hygiene: Brushing and Flossing

Brushing should be done a minimum of 2 times a day and flossing once a day. This helps to minimize plaque formation which is the sticky white material that accumulates around the braces. If plaque sits on the teeth too long, decalcification (white spots) and cavities can form. In addition to brushing and flossing, a person should also decrease the amount and especially the frequency of sugary foods and drinks. Between meal snacks should be avoided.

We recommend a soft bristle toothbrush held at a 45 degree angle going above and below the braces. Using a small pointed toothbrush will also aid in cleaning the wire and the area of the tooth nears the gum tissues. The use of a floss threader will help to clean those surfaces of the tooth not seen (the areas between the teeth that make contact). The floss threader allows the floss to pass easily under the wire to get to these areas. We will spend time with you once the braces are placed to review with you the proper techniques.

We also recommend using a fluoride mouth rinse daily and we will give you samples.

You also need to continue to see your family dentist every three to six months for your regular checkup.

At the beginning of treatment, you may experience some general tenderness or soreness, especially when you bite your teeth together. You may also feel discomfort after some adjustments. This discomfort may last three to five days. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water will help to decrease the tenderness. You may also take Tylenol or Advil to decrease the discomfort.

Food Tips: When Dr. Mentz puts on your bracers, he uses an adhesive that is strong enough to keep them adhered to your teeth, but weak enough to be removed easily when your teeth are straight. Because the braces are not indestructible, there are foods that need to be avoided. Hard foods can either cause braces to come loose, or bend the wires that are carefully designed to straighten your teeth. Sticky foods may loosen bands or get caught in the braces.

For the first two days or so, stick to soft foods. Before long, you'll be able to chew normally. However, you'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.