Getting Started With Orthodontic Treatment
Before braces are placed, patients must visit a dentist for an exam and have any necessary fillings. Patients should visit the dentist every 6 months for a thorough examination and cleaning. Before each orthodontic appointment, patients are encouraged to brush their teeth.
Your appointments are scheduled to fit your busy lifestyle. Our staff makes every effort to accommodate each patient’s schedule. In order to help us continue to schedule efficiently, a 24 hour notice is required to cancel an orthodontic appointment.
Orthodontic treatment may last from 18 to 36 months, though this will vary depending on your individual case. Appointments are typically scheduled 4 to 12 weeks apart. Your cooperation in keeping scheduled orthodontic appointments, maintaining proper hygiene and taking care of your braces may allow you to finish your orthodontic treatment early.
We encourage patients to ask questions about their orthodontic treatment. At a patient’s first visit, Dr. Stoutland and Dr. Hayes will inform patients and/or parents about important treatment details.
Here’s how to take care of your braces
Now that you have started orthodontic treatment, here are a few hints to help get you through the first several days with minimum of discomfort.
Be careful to protect the orthodontic appliances when you eat. Faithfully follow our instructions on foods to avoid. For the first day or so, soft foods will be more appropriate. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables plus the foods on the food list.
As a general rule, an emergency appointment may be made when there is severe discomfort, a loose band, a broken wire or something sticking out that you can’t take care of. Please call us if the office is closed and you are in discomfort. Instructions are on the answering machine.
There might be a general soreness in the mouth. This can be relieved by rinsing the mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take Tylenol, Advil or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. Soreness should end by the third or fourth day.
If you take part in athletics, it’s important that you consult us for special precautions. Everyone who plays contact sports should wear a mouthguard. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliance immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.
Success of treatment depends upon cooperation between you and the doctor and staff. Wear the appliances as directed, avoid the foods that can be damaging and handle emergencies promptly. Always be conscientious and responsible toward your treatment. Quick, successful results depend on you, too. It’s very important that you keep your teeth, gums and appliances clean. At least once each day, spend a few moments with a mirror checking the appliances to make sure they are thoroughly clean and in good shape.
Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. It is normal so don’t be upset. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new positions. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved.
Loose Wire or Band
If a wire or band comes loose, don’t be alarmed. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back in place. Simply, get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Telephone our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.
Brush two, preferably three, times a day for a minimum of four minutes each time. Pay special attention to the “danger zone” between the gum and the braces. This is the most difficult area to keep clean. Every night after you brush, before you go to sleep, rinse with fluoridated mouth wash (either ACT or Fluoroguard). We may also give you a prescription for Prevident. Only use either the mouthwash or Prevident, do not use them together. Rinsing or brushing with fluoride reduces the possibility of getting a cavity by 80%.
Always smile and be proud of your appliances. After all, it shows the world that you take very good care of yourself.
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