During Treatment

Smiling Teens Heads Together

Remember, it is important to carefully check your appliance/braces daily to make sure that everything is properly attached to your teeth. If you notice something loose, please call us for advice even if you have an appointment scheduled in the near future.

My teeth are sore…

You may experience mild tenderness on your teeth during the first few days after you start treatment and subsequent adjustment visits. This tenderness is caused by the light pressure being placed on your teeth and will decrease with time. Take what you would normally use for a headache as this will help considerably – paracetamol or ibuprofen usually works best. If possible, take the pain reliever before the soreness begins and continue it every 4-6 hours as required (always following the manufacturer’s recommendations). Softer foods such as pasta, eggs, mashed potatoes, rice and soups are great ‘braces foods’. Keep away from crusty breads, tough meats and raw vegetables until the tenderness has gone.

My braces are rubbing…

When the braces or orthodontic appliance is first fitted, it may rub the lips, cheeks, and tongue and cause irritation for one to two weeks. You can put comfort wax on the braces to reduce the soreness. With time, the inside of your mouth will become used to the presence of the braces. And before you know it, you’ll hardly know they are there!

Diet

Follow these two rules to keep your teeth in good health, avoid appliance breakages and keep your treatment on track:

  1. Nearly all soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks and juices are loaded with sugars and acids and are extremely harmful to teeth. These should only be consumed occasionally to avoid decay and permanent marks on your enamel.
  2. Avoid eating really sticky or hard foods during your orthodontic treatment as these can damage your braces and orthodontic appliances. This can cause inconvenience for you and also lengthen your time in treatment.

Avoid the “Ten Biggest Braces Breakers”!

  1. Nuts (or anything with nuts in it, such as muesli bars)
  2. Hard chips (especially corn chips)
  3. Hard lollies (candy, toffee, boiled lollies)
  4. Sticky or chewy lollies (minties, gummy lollies)
  5. Whole apples
  6. Whole carrots
  7. Chocolate bars
  8. Ice cubes
  9. Popcorn
  10. Pencils/Pen lids

Toothbrushing and Oral Hygiene

Proper toothbrushing can be more challenging with braces in your mouth, but with a bit of practice it becomes routine. It is especially important to clean well during your orthodontic treatment because food and plaque left around the braces can cause permanent marks on the enamel, swollen/bleeding gums or even tooth decay. We will show you the correct techniques and help you to maintain healthy, clean teeth throughout your treatment.

Seeing My Dentist

Regular six monthly dental checkup with your dentist is important when you are having orthodontic treatment. Your smile is at its best when your teeth and gum are healthy and clean. Your dentist is there to help and guide you in looking after your teeth and smile for the long-term.

Elastics

Elastic bands help the upper and lower teeth match together. This is the ‘bite-fixing’ part of your treatment. We will show you how to wear your elastics and advise you on when to wear them. Your full cooperation to elastic wear is necessary and vital to getting the best result for you in the shortest possible time.

Bite Jumper

A common bite problem is where the upper teeth protrude way out over the lower teeth. In many of these cases, the lower jaw is also undersized relative to the upper jaw and face. Treatment using a Bite Jumper appliance can correct this to a very large degree, reducing the need for surgery or extractions. We are experts in this treatment, having refined and extended the applications for this device over a 20+ year period. Our latest versions are very comfortable, discrete and very efficient.

When you are first fitted with a Bite Jumper, you may notice some immediate changes:

  • Your mouth may feel ‘full’
  • You may have some rubbing of the cheeks
  • Speaking and chewing may feel different
  • More saliva flow than normal

All of these new sensations will decrease after a week or so as you get used to the appliance.

Upper Arch Expanders

An RME (Rapid Maxillary Expander) is an appliance to widen the upper jaw.

We use this in children and young teens because the left and right bones of the upper jaw have yet to become fused together. In adults, it can be used when combined with surgery to separate the left and right halves of the upper jaw. The RME is activated by turning a screw in the centre of the appliance once or twice a day.

We also use a slower expander appliance called a Quadhelix. This works mainly on the teeth and has less effect on the upper jaw bone. It is fully adjusted by the doctor and does not need you to activate it at home.

An upper expander is often the first stage of orthodontic treatment and may be followed by other appliances or by comprehensive treatment at a later date.

TADs

TADs are Temporary Anchorage Devices, also commonly known as orthodontic ‘miniscrews’. There are small temporary titanium pins placed in the jaw bone to assist in improved control of specific tooth movement. A TAD is often used as an anchor to allow our orthodontist to move the tooth easier and/or faster into position. Also, laboratory appliances customized for you may sometimes be used in combination with TADs. When the titanium pin is no longer needed, it can be easily removed. The use of TADs provides you with a better choice of treatment option available to you which otherwise would not be possible with conventional braces alone.

Braces First Aid – FAQ

What do I do if I lose a separator!?

Don’t worry! Please call our clinic on 1300 733 077 during business hours to check if it needs to be replaced.

I have a problem! What do I do?

True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but we are always here to help. Simply call us on 1300 733 077 and we will arrange with you a suitable time to fix the problem and get you back on track.

What do I do if my bracket fell off?

Even if you have been careful, you may have an occasional breakage or loose bracket. If this happens, call our clinic on 1300 733 077 during business hours to arrange a time to fix it. We can have your braces repaired within a few days without any adverse effect to your treatment.

Why am I getting an ulcer with the braces?

Your new braces may feel quite rough to your lips and cheeks. The occasional ulcer and cheek rub is common in the first one to two weeks, but these will disappear with time.

To stop the rubbing, place a small piece of orthodontic wax and mould it over the area where it feels sharp. Drying this area with a tissue before you place the wax will help it to better stick on.

Why is my wire poking my cheeks?

Sometimes, an archwire may poke out and cause discomfort or even an ulcer in your cheek. Put some orthodontic comfort wax (or sugar-free chewing gum) over the wire to stop it poking you. Call us to have this wire trimmed if the comfort wax does not help.

What do I do if the arms of my Bite Jumper disconnected?

Don’t panic! Usually you’ve managed to open too wide and the two parts of the arm have come apart. So, to put it back together just follow these instructions carefully. Hold each part in your fingers, open REALLY wide and line the two parts up in a straight line. The lower rod will then slide back into the upper tube if you close your mouth SLOWLY together. If this happens to you for the first time, this may take a few tries to get it right.