Dental Care

Dental Braces Care - The Essential Steps

In a previous dental braces care article, we discussed the process of applying etchant, as well as adhering the brackets to each of your teeth with cement, the threading of the arch wires, dealing with orthodontic spaces, and the closure of open bites. 

In this section the topic is "pre-finishers," the risks and complications of dental braces, and a plaque control program. 

You are probably imagining that a pre-finisher is some kind of polish that the orthodontist applies to your teeth-but that is totally incorrect!  A pre-finisher is actually a rubber appliance that the dentist uses when you are almost, but not quite, ready for a retainer.  It looks very much like a mouth guard, and it exerts pressure on the teeth to remedy gaps between the teeth and take care of the small spaces between the upper and lower jaw.

The orthodontist molds the pre-finisher to the teeth by applying pressure with the jaw.  Incremental pressure is necessary put this device into place correctly; otherwise it will not do its job.  Force is applied for ten to fifteen seconds at a time, and each time the number of seconds is increased.  Once the pre-finisher exerts the proper pressure in the right places, it is fastened into place.  It is, however, removable, just like a retainer-you can take it out of your mouth at any time.

Complications of Dental Braces

Proper dental braces care will minimize the risk of complications. Some people have an allergic sensitivity to the latex rubber that's used to make the elastics, and others are sensitive to the metal part of the braces.  If you know you have an allergy, let your orthodontist know ahead of time.  He can use latex-free ligatures, and there are several types of metal used in the manufacture of braces for your orthodontist to choose from.      

Mouth sores pose a common problem.  They are caused by irritation, and they usually occur during the early months of your treatment with braces.  There are dental braces care products such as dental silicone or dental wax that can be used to minimize irritation, and even oral rinses provide relief. 

Plaque control is vital while you wear braces.  You've already learned about white spot lesions that result from acids produced by your mouth's natural bacteria.  The acids have a negative effect on the enamel of the teeth, involving a process of demineralization.  Both the quantity and quality of the tooth's mineral composition change, resulting in the white spots. 

You must maintain proper dental braces care and clean carefully around all the brackets and wires in order to remove all impurities from the teeth and braces.  Otherwise, you risk the formation of the white spot lesions.  When you're wearing braces, the result is permanently multi-colored teeth:  The white spots form around the brackets, and the tooth enamel beneath the brackets is protected, so once the brackets are removed the teeth are two different colors. 

Taking Care of Your Braces (And the Teeth Inside Them!)

During the time that you wear braces, some dental braces care precautions will seem obvious, and others might never occur to you. 

For one thing, it's very important to wear a mouth guard during physical sports.  It prevents breakage of your braces, and it protects your teeth as well as the soft tissues of your mouth from injuries. 

More dental braces care tips: While you wear braces you should avoid all hard or sticky foods.  Some very hard foods can actually interrupt the bond between the bracket and the tooth.  In other cases these types of foods, including candies, can bend the arch wires or cause damage to the brackets. 

Braces are a natural collection site for anything you eat, which results in an increased risk of tooth decay.  You should always carry a travel toothbrush so that you can brush after meals throughout the day.  Alternative suggestions include an interdental brush, which is a very small brush that releases a special cleaning solution to get into small spaces.  You can also try using one of the Waterpik oral hygiene products. 

For normal brushing, your orthodontist will probably advise you to use a soft toothbrush.  It will not bend or break the various parts of the braces as you clean them carefully.  And you must always remember to use dental floss.  Floss cleans up to forty percent more of your tooth surfaces.  Because it's so much more difficult to floss with braces in place, try using a waxed dental floss.  You should also use a mouth rinse with fluoride to assist in the prevention of tooth decay.

Look for our separate article for information about the relief of pain caused by dental braces, their estimated cost, and a dental braces alternative.  This alternative product is called Invisalign, and it's much less visible than traditional dental braces. 


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