Frequently Asked Questions About Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
How do I schedule my next appointment?
What is an orthodontist?
What's the best age to visit the orthodontist?
What are braces?
If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?
Do braces hurt?
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
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
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 and 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.
How can I take care of my teeth if I'm wearing braces or a retainer?
Adjusting to Orthodontic Treatment
During the first couple of days after your braces have been placed and after a routine adjustment, you will likely feel mild discomfort. You may take acetaminophen while you adjust to your new braces or appliance. Please try to stay away from ibuprofen, studies have shown it slows down the movement of teeth.
Emergency vs. Routine Problem
True orthodontic emergencies are rare and will generally involve facial injuries or a throbbing pain that over the counter pain medications cannot control. If an emergency happens during regular business hours please call the office at (586) 416-4455. After hours please call our emergency answering service at (586) 662-0061, you will be asked to leave a very detailed message with the patient’s name, nature of the emergency, and the best number to reach you. A member of our clinical staff will return your call within 2 hours.
For more routine issues such as broken, lost, or loose appliances please call our office during regular business hours; Monday 9-5pm, Tuesday 8-4pm, Wednesday 9-6pm, Thursday 8-5pm, and Friday 8-4pm.
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself temporarily until you can get to our office. If there is a loose piece that you can remove with your fingers, put it in a plastic bag or envelope and call the office during regular business hours to set up an appointment. (Remember to bring it with you to your appointment.)
A loose bracket is not an emergency but it does need to be addressed. Use wax for comfort and to secure the bracket, then please call the office during regular business hours, Monday 9-5pm, Tuesday 8-4pm, Wednesday 9-6pm, Thursday 8-5pm and Friday 8-4pm, to set up an appointment to have the bracket repaired.
If you have a loose or poking wire you can use your fingers to put the wire back into the band or bracket. If you are unable to replace the wire you can cover the end with wax and call the office during regular business hours, Monday 9-5pm, Tuesday 8-4pm, Wednesday 9-6pm, Thursday 8-5pm, and Friday 8-4pm, to schedule an appointment.
After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan. If you have a regular appointment scheduled, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired as this often requires additional time to be held for you.
Please do not come to the office without calling first to schedule an appointment, we need to ensure we have a staff member available and schedule time to address your concern.