THE BASICS OF "BRACES"

"Braces" are used to move teeth into proper alignment. They are cemented and bonded onto our patient's teeth and connected to each other along arch-wires. Elastics and metal springs are used to slide teeth along these arch-wires. "Braces" consist of bands and brackets. Bands are metal rings that are usually placed on posterior teeth. They are very strong and are used where heavy chewing forces occur. Brackets - ceramic or metal - are bonded onto the front surfaces of the rest of the teeth. They are smaller, less noticeable and easier to keep clean than bands. After active treatment has been completed and the "braces" have been removed, a period of retention will follow. This period will allow teeth to "settle in" and will be the job of retainers.

The aim of our treatment is to produce a stable, functional and aesthetic result in as short a period of time as possible. Our best results and most attractive smiles are always attained when we have our patient's whole hearted support and cooperation. Without this, successful treatment is impossible.

THE DOs AND DON'Ts OF "BRACES"

Hygiene

It is most important that our patients keep their teeth and "braces" clean. Food that collects around "braces" may cause irreversible staining of teeth, cavities, and swollen painful "gums" that may slow down tooth movement. Teeth have to be brushed carefully to avoid the snagging and bending of wires. Brushing should be thorough but gentle.

Appointments

It is essential that orthodontic appointments are kept. We are unable to perform treatment if a patient doesn't show up. Very often, elastics and mechanisms on "braces" work until shut off. If appointments are missed, teeth may continue to move past their desired positions. This will compromise our final result and increase treatment time. If an appointment must be changed, it is important that we are notified promptly. This will allow us to schedule a new appointment as close to the original one as possible.

Patient Jobs

We are dependent on our patients to wear rubber bands, night-braces, and removable appliances. These are things that we can't do without. Poor cooperation may drag treatment on for several extra years.

Food

Patients must avoid hard, sticky and chewy foods. They may bend or break wires and pull brackets and bands off of teeth. Hard foods such as apples, celery, carrots, etc... may be eaten if they are first cut into thin slices. All bones and pits from foods like chicken, spare-ribs, peaches, apricots, etc... must be removed to prevent appliance breakage. Sticky and chewy foods such as taffy, caramel, gum, some candies, etc... may pull "braces" off of teeth and have to be avoided entirely. They are also extremely difficult to clean off of appliances.

Speech and Chewing

When first placed, "braces" may feel large and temporarily interfere with speech and eating. These problems resolve with time.

Loose and Broken "Braces" and Wires

If a "brace" or wire becomes loose or broken, we should be notified immediately. We don't want anything to get swallowed or cause other problems.

Comfort

A patient's teeth may become tender for the first few days after "braces" are placed and for several hours after each appointment. Soft foods and hot liquids such as soup, tea, and hot chocolate usually help make chewing more comfortable. Good hygiene and warm rinses also help relieve soreness. At times, a mild analgesic may be necessary. If anything should cause irritation, orthodontic wax should be placed on it and we should be notified - don't try and fix it yourself. Things may break off, cause problems and possibly get swallowed. Let us fix it. Also, if an appliance is ruined, it may be very expensive to replace.

Dental Check-ups

Even though we see our patients on a regular basis, we are not looking for cavities. Check-ups by the family dentist are a must. By the time we happen to spot a cavity, it may be quite large. Regular check-ups can find it at a much earlier stage and it can be treated before it requires extensive work (i.e. root canal, crowns, etc...).

"Braces" - Traditional Metal Or Clear Ceramic Brackets

       Bands               Ceramic Brackets        Metal Brackets

Steven Elterman, D.M.D. - Orthodontist - 44 Green Street - Huntington, NY 11743 - (631) 923-3311