Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry
Las Vegas, Nevada
Dr. Henry Kim
Affectionate Dental Care
Excellence in Cosmetic Dentistry
Orthodontic After Care:
- Life with Braces
- Retainer Care
Life with Braces:
Eating with Braces
What can you eat? Let's talk about what you shouldn't eat! If you've been
wanting to drop a few pounds, the first week wearing braces is just your chance!
For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads,
and raw vegetables. Before long, you'll be able to bite a cucumber again. But
you'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as
you're wearing braces.
Foods to Avoid
Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
Sticky foods: caramels, gum
Hard foods: nuts, candy
Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage
the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and
teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be
relieved by rinsing your 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 aspirin or whatever you normally take for
headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated
for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the
braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don't worry! It's normal. Teeth
must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly
fixed in their new – corrected – positions.
Care of Appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with
the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected
positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear or other
appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces,
so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do
not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a
professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see
a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
Cleansing Cleaning Cleaning!!
You would probably never dream of not bathing your body but give less thought to
not brushing or flossing your teeth. When you have braces, it is incredibly
important that you give as much attention to cleaning the braces as you do to
cleaning the rest of your body.
The bands or bonded brackets on braces create small nooks and crannies where
food and plaque (an invisible file of bacteria) can hide. If plaque is allowed
to remain on the teeth for a long time, it can increase the likelihood of tooth
decay. This same process can also cause permanent white lines and spots as
enamel is dissolved by the acids.
Because of these problems, it is essential to brush after every meal and snack.
You should also clean between your teeth and around each bracket daily. Brushing
removes the food and plaque that forms on your teeth. When you brush, use a
brush with soft and rounded bristles or a special orthodontic brush and also,
use fluoride toothpaste. Look for the American Dental Association¨s Seal of
Acceptance. The Seal is awarded to products that have proven to be effective.
How should I brush?
A number of different tooth brushing methods are acceptable. Whichever method
you use, take the time to brush thoroughly. Here¨s an example of a method:
- Place a soft-bristled brush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
- Move the brush back and forth in short strokes with a gentle scrubbing motion.
- Brush the inner, then outer, and finally the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- Use the ＾toe￣ of the brush to reach the inner front tooth surfaces.
- Brush your tongue to help freshen your breath.
After brushing, rinse well. Then closely inspect your teeth and braces in a
well-lighted mirror. You may have to brush and rinse several times before your
teeth are clean.
Is flossing possible with braces?
Yes! But it can be a little tricky while wearing braces. A floss threader can
help you slip the flow between the braces or under the arch-wire.
- Once the floss is in place, hold it between your forefingers, about an inch
- Using a gentle sawing motion, guide the floss between your teeth. Do not snap
it in place.
- When the floss reaches the gum-line, cure it against the tooth and gently
slide it into the space between the gum and tooth.
- When you feel resistance, gently rub the side of the tooth moving the floss
away from the gum.
- Rinse your teeth to wash away food or other particles that you removed with
Are there other products that can help me clean my mouth?
There are several dental aids that can be helpful. Specially shaped brushes, the
other interdental cleaners and oral irrigating devices can often help clean some
of those hard-to-reach areas. After brushing prior to bedtime, an ADA accepted
fluoride mouth-rinse should be used for added protection of the enamel surfaces
of the teeth.
Interdental cleaning devices with the ADA Seal of Acceptance are specially
shaped brushes or other implements that help remove plaque. They are usually
made of wood, plastic or rubber and shaped to help clean between the teeth. They
can be particularly useful for people who wear braces or who have trouble
handling floss. Discuss the proper use of these devices with your dentist to
avoid injuring your gums.
These devices create a focused stream of water to remove particles of food from
the surfaces around and between the teeth. They are useful for cleaning
hard-to-reach areas and may reduce gingivitis. They are especially helpful for
people who have braces. Your dentist will tell you if you can benefit from using
this device and provide instruction on proper use. Look for devices bearing the
ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Fluoride Mouth Rinse
Fluoride with the ADA Seal of Acceptance provides extra protection for your
teeth. Is an element that combines with tooth enamel, strengthening it against
decay. Fluoride can even repair microscopic cavities by helping mineral
incorporate into the teeth. You may want to discuss with your dentist the need
for additional fluoride products such as non-prescription mouth rinses for
children in your family over the age of 6.
Dental aids can play an important role in cleaning those hard-to-reach areas,
but your diligence in daily cleaning is really the key to good oral health. By
watching your diet, practicing good oral hygiene and following your dentist
instructions, you can be assured that your orthodontic treatment will be a
success. Remember, it is even more important that you
Retainer Care & Retainer Instructions
There are usually two types of Retainers:
- Removable Retainers
- Fixed Retainers
A removable retainer is a custom-made, usually a removable appliance that help
teeth to maintain their new position after braces have been removed. Retainers
can also be used to treat minor orthodontic problems.
In some instances a fixed retainer may be used as your final
retainer. A thin flexible wire is bonded to the lingual (back side) of your
(usually lower anterior K-9 to K-9) teeth. The retainer is now fixed in place
and can in most cases only be removed by the orthodontists. There are some
advantages and disadvantages to the fixed retainer.
There is no compliance needed.
The patient does not have to wear retainers that have to be taken in an out.
The retainer can not be lost.
Speech is not affected as much with a removable retainer.
Very difficult to see, practically invisible.
Retainer check ups can be scheduled further apart.
Great at keeping gaps closed.
Very difficult clean effectively.
Site for Tartar and Calculus build up.
Flossing is a must to avoid periodontal problems.
Wear your retainers full time, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
Take your retainers out when eating... and always put retainers in their case!
(Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants.)
Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm
but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors.
Efferdent or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used, but do not take
the place of brushing.
When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case.
Pets love to chew on them!
Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or
singing out loud to get used to them faster.
Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or
broken call us immediately.
If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers
need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
Retainer replacement is expensive... with proper care they will last for years!
Remove retainers when swimming.
Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing
machine, and napkins.
Removable Expander Instructions
Wear your expander all the time. That means all day, during meals, and while
Remove your expander only to brush your teeth. Brush your expander at least
twice a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Fixed Expander Instructions
Turn your expansion screws as instructed. Insert the key into the hole and turn
toward the arrow.
If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, stop turning the expander.
If you play sports, it's important that you consult us for special precautions.
A protective mouth guard is advised for playing contact sports. In case of any
accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances 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.
Loose Wire or Band
Don't be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If
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 under the
archwire. 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. Call 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.
As a general rule, an emergency appointment may be made when there is severe
pain, a loose band, a broken wire or something sticking out that you can't take
care of. It's important to know the names of the parts of your appliances. It
will help, when you phone the office, to be able to identify what part is broken
or out of place.
For the best in smile make over in Las Vegas, Summerlin, Henderson area of Nevada,
contact our cosmetic dentistry professionals. Schedule your free consultation
© 2005 Henry Kim DDS