Caring For Braces
Dr. Ken Dillehay and Dr. JK Dillehay are known for creating beautiful smiles. Here are some tips for taking care of your braces.
It’s important to take good care of your teeth during orthodontic treatment. 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 see your extra efforts rewarded with a healthy, great-looking smile that'll last the rest of your life.
If you fail to spend extra time caring for your braces, you may have white spots on your teeth once the braces are removed. This is an unsightly condition that no one wants.
Do Your Part
To get the healthy and beautiful smile you want, you, your family dentist, and Dr. Ken Dillehay or Dr. JK Dillehay will have to work together as a team.
As the patient, you play the key part. It's up to you to make sure that your treatment is successful. Most importantly, you must clean your teeth and maintain good dental hygiene while wearing braces.
Proper dental care will take a little extra time and effort, but the results are well worth it. It will help you enjoy the best possible smile from your orthodontic treatment.
Fight Against Plaque
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that collects on your teeth. It's made of bacteria, food, and saliva.
If you let plaque and trapped food stay on and around your braces, they can cause swollen gums, bad breath, cavities, and permanent marks on your teeth.
As your East Wichita, West Wichita, Derby, and Pratt orthodontists, we advise brushing your teeth regularly to remove this plaque. We’ll teach you the correct way to floss while wearing braces to ensure you regularly remove all plaque.
When to Clean
Brush thoroughly each time you have a meal or snack. If you can't brush right away after a meal, be sure to at least rinse your mouth well with water until you can brush.
Carry a travel toothbrush to brush when you aren’t home. At least once daily, 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 bed.
How to Brush
You’ll need to relearn brushing your teeth during braces treatment at Dillehay Orthodontics. Relearning this everyday task will teach you to notice the cracks and crevices between teeth and around brackets and wires.
Keep these tips in mind when brushing your teeth with braces:
- Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush 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.
- A good 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.
- 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-lit mirror.
- This is a good time to check for loose or broken brackets.
- If you find a problem, contact us at Dillehay Orthodontics to see if you need to get it checked out and if we need to schedule a time to repair it.
How to Floss
Our helpful orthodontic team in East Wichita, West Wichita, Derby, and Pratt will teach you learn proper flossing techniques when you choose us for your orthodontic care.
These tips for flossing with braces will make the process smoother for you, 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 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 may seem difficult, but it’s essential.
- And as with anything, a little practice will make it go much faster.
Other Hygiene Helpers
In addition to the regular dental hygiene tools we are familiar with, like toothbrushes and floss, we can recommend a few products that make brushing teeth with braces a little easier to manage.
- Interproximal Brush: This tool slips under your archwire to remove plaque and food particles near your brackets.
- Prescription Fluoride Toothpaste or Fluoride Rinse: Use once daily as part of your cleaning routine if prescribed by Dr. Ken Dillehay or Dr. JK Dillehay. Use your interpr.oximal brush to deliver maximum fluoride protection to your teeth for the best results
- Power Toothbrush or Waterpik: These devices, such as the Oral-B Professional Series toothbrush, are designed to make brushing easier and more efficient.
Prevent Gum Disease
Early gum disease is reversible with professional help and good home care, but if you ignore it, it can get worse.
Gum disease is usually painless, so watch for signs like bleeding or swollen and puffy gums. Avoid any painful consequences by listening to the hygiene directions you hear from Dr. JK Dillehay or Dr. Ken Dillehay on hygiene to avoid these problems.
Problems Caused by Poor Oral Hygiene
Good dental hygiene is critical during your orthodontic treatment at Dillehay Orthodontics. 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.
- 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.
- Periodontal disease, caused by plaque buildup, 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.
- Over time, plaque buildup may harden into a substance called tartar.
- As tartar accumulates, gaps or pockets may form between your gums and teeth where the substance can accumulate.
- This is called periodontitis.
- 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.