Caring For Braces
Dr. Jennings is known for creating beautiful smiles. Here are some tips for taking care of your braces.
Take especially good care of your teeth during your orthodontic treatment at Jennings Orthodontics. By brushing and flossing regularly, you'll keep your teeth and gums at their best and ensure that your orthodontic treatment will deliver the healthiest smile possible.
When your braces come off, you’ll have a healthy, great-looking smile that’s good for life as a reward. If you fail to spend a little extra time caring for your braces, you may end up with white spots on your teeth once Dr. Jennings removes your braces. This is an ugly look that nobody wants.
Playing Your Part
To get the healthy and beautiful smile you want, you, your family dentist, and Dr. Jennings will have to work together as a team.
As the patient, you play the key part. It’s your responsibility to make sure your treatment is successful at Jennings Orthodontics. Most importantly, you must keep your teeth clean and maintain good dental hygiene while you're wearing braces.
Proper dental care will take a little extra time and effort, but Dr. Jennings promises that the results will be totally worth it. Know that caring for your braces will help you enjoy the best possible smile from your orthodontic treatment.
When to Clean
Every time you have a meal or snack, be sure to brush thoroughly. If you can’t brush right away after a meal, take a moment to at least rinse your mouth well with water until you can brush.
Carry a travel toothbrush so that you can brush when you aren’t home. At least once every day, brush your teeth and braces thoroughly until they are spotlessly clean, and then floss. This takes a little extra time, so you may want to do it at night before going to bed.
How to Brush
During your orthodontic treatment, you’ll need to relearn the basics of brushing your teeth. Relearning this everyday task will teach you to pay attention to the cracks and crevices not only between teeth but around brackets and wires.
Keep these tips in mind when brushing your teeth with braces:
- Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush that’s in good condition. Because braces wear out a toothbrush quickly, replace your brush as soon as it shows signs of wear.
- Brush around all the parts of your braces and every surface of your teeth — fronts, sides and backs.
- Be sure to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
- An excellent way to tell if you’re brushing correctly is if your braces look clean and shiny, and you can see the edges of the brackets clearly.
- Brush your gums gently and thoroughly.
- Rinse thoroughly after brushing.
- Inspect your teeth and braces carefully to make sure they are spotless. Look closely in a well-lighted mirror. This is a great time to check for loose or broken brackets. If you find a problem, contact Jennings Orthodontics to see if it needs to be checked out and to schedule a time to repair it.
How to Floss
Our helpful Louisville and Mt. Washington KY orthodontic team will teach you the proper flossing techniques for your orthodontic treatment. These tips for flossing braces will make the process easier, and you’ll be a pro in no time.
- Floss every night before you go to bed. That way, you won’t feel rushed.
- When flossing with braces on, it might be necessary to use what’s called a floss threader. This reusable tool allows you to get dental floss underneath your archwire easily.
- Make sure you clean carefully along and under the gumlines.
Flossing with braces on may seem like a complicated process, but it’s crucial. And as with anything, a little practice will make it go a lot faster.
Other Hygiene Helpers
Besides the normal dental hygiene tools like toothbrushes and floss, there are a few products Dr. Jennings recommends to make brushing your teeth with braces a little easier to manage.
- Interproximal Brush: This tool slips under your archwire to more completely remove plaque and food particles near your brackets.
- Power Toothbrush or Waterpik: These devices, such as the Oral-B Professional Series toothbrush, are designed to make brushing easier and more efficient.
- Prescription Fluoride Toothpaste or Fluoride Rinse: Use once a day as part of your cleaning routine, if prescribed by Dr. Jennings. For the best results, use with your interproximal brush to deliver maximum fluoride protection to your teeth.
Problems Caused By Poor Oral Hygiene
Good dental hygiene is always important, but it’s critical during orthodontic treatment. Without it, plaque and food can accumulate around your braces.
The bacteria in plaque react with sugars and starches in food and form an acid that can eat away the enamel on your teeth, leading to white marks, cavities or gum disease.
Gum disease is usually painless, so you need to pay attention to signs like bleeding or swollen and puffy gums.
Carefully follow the hygiene advice of Dr. Jennings and her team to avoid these problems!
- If plaque accumulates around your braces, it can leave permanent stains on your teeth, called decalcification. Lines and spots from decalcification will remain on your teeth for life.
- Early gum disease is reversible with professional help and good home care, but if you ignore it, it can get worse.
- Over time, the build-up of plaque may harden into a substance called tartar. As tartar accumulates, gaps or pockets may form between your gums and teeth. Even more tartar can collect in these pockets. This is called periodontitis.
- Periodontal disease, caused by the build-up of plaque, occurs in three stages. In the first stage, plaque accumulation irritates the gums. Your gums may be puffy or swollen. They may bleed when you brush or floss. This is called gingivitis.
- Pockets of bacteria form and deepen beneath your gums, attacking and destroying the bone that anchors your teeth. This can even cause healthy teeth to loosen or eventually fall out. This is called advanced periodontitis.