Caring for Your Smile
Dr. Coleman is known for creating beautiful smiles throughout the greater Salt Lake City area.
Here are some tips for keeping up with oral health and taking care of your appliance so that you can maintain your excellent results when you aren’t in our Syracuse office.
Caring for Braces
Every day when you brush your teeth, check to make sure you do not have any loose braces by gently trying to slide them side-to-side. If a wire or band comes loose, do not be alarmed.
If a tie wire is protruding and irritating, use a blunt instrument (the back of a spoon or a pencil eraser) to carefully push the wire out of the way.
If you have a broken or loose appliance, please call us to determine if your breakage is urgent and requires immediate repair. If a piece comes loose, save it and bring it with you to our Syracuse office.
Caring for Elastics
Elastics are essentially rubber bands that are attached to brackets, usually between the upper and lower or front and back teeth, that apply tension and cause teeth to move. Elastics can be used in many ways depending upon the treatment goals.
Elastics move the teeth in a direction they could not be moved using braces alone. Your teeth and jaws may be tender during the first few days elastics are worn. This is normal, and the tenderness should begin to disappear within a week. If it persists longer, please call our office. Rinsing with hot salt water will help reduce the tenderness.
Your elastics may be difficult to put on at first, but this will become easier with practice. You may remove them only when eating or brushing your teeth. Leave them in during snacking. Be sure to replace the elastics with new ones immediately after meals and brushing. Part-time wear does NOT move teeth, but it does cause prolonged discomfort.
Change your elastics routinely even if they are not broken. After a while, elastics lose their strength. Change them after each meal and before bedtime. If one elastic breaks, replace both sides.
Carry extra elastics with you at all times. If you don't have enough to last until your next appointment, please stop by our office and pick more up or call us and we can send more to you. We don't want you to run out.
Before you leave the office, be absolutely sure you understand exactly where to hook the elastics. Hooking them on incorrectly can be worse than not wearing them at all, as your teeth might move in the wrong direction. If you ever have any questions on how to wear your elastics, please do not hesitate to ask Dr. Coleman.
Removable Appliances Like Invisalign or Retainers
Wear your removable appliances and/or elastics faithfully, as directed by the staff and Dr. Coleman. Your estimated treatment time is based on full cooperation with wearing appliances and elastics (rubber bands) as directed.
A removable appliance is carefully designed to move or hold your teeth in place. It should be worn according to instructions and brought to each appointment. Wear your appliance at all times, even while you are asleep.
It may be removed while swimming or engaging in vigorous sporting activities. In two to three days, your speech will return to normal with the appliance in place. Avoid flipping your appliance with your tongue. This can cause damage to your teeth or breakage of your appliance.
Your new appliance may make your teeth sore for a day or two, especially after an adjustment. If you have a sore spot on your gums, call our office so we can arrange to adjust the appliance.
- Your retainer should be cleaned after each meal and before going to bed.
- Retainers can be cleaned with your regular toothbrush and toothpaste.
- You may use a denture brush and denture toothpaste if you wish.
- Fill the sink with cool water to cushion the fall in case you drop it.
- Do not use hot water; it will cause the retainer to warp.
- Clean the retainer gently, being careful not to bend the wires.
- Before placing the cleaned retainer in your mouth, be sure you thoroughly brush your teeth.
- If the retainer or teeth are not kept clean, an irritation of the gums may result, and this can be serious.
If plaque builds up on the retainer over time, it will dry and harden like tartar and be difficult to remove with a brush.
Denture cleaners like Efferdent or Polident are effective in removing this tartar. Follow the directions on the package. Leave the retainer in the cleaner no longer than 10 minutes; you can do this once a week if needed.
To economize, try lemon juice first to dissolve and loosen the tartar before brushing.
Other Appliance Tips
Never wrap your appliance in a paper napkin or tissue and set it down on the table. You or someone else may throw it away.
Don't put it in your pocket when playing, or you may break or lose it. Whenever it is not in your mouth, it should be in its plastic appliance case.
- Appliances are made to withstand normal use, but they crack or break if handled roughly.
- If yours breaks, be sure to bring in the pieces to your appointment.
- If your retainer becomes cracked, DO NOT wear it.
- Call our office immediately.
- Keep your appliance away from dogs or cats, as they love to chew on them.
- Avoid storing it near any source of heat.
- Do not boil your retainer to sterilize it!
- If needed, bring it to the office, and we will be happy to disinfect it for you.
- Do not soak your retainer in mouthwash.
- Please bring your retainers to all appointments.
Please do not eat any foods that could damage your appliances and delay your treatment. Wear a mouth guard for any activities that might injure your teeth, gums, or cheeks. Repairing broken braces requires longer appointments during school hours.
Maintaining Oral Health
It's not easy to maintain consistent good oral health. That's because in the invisible but serious battle against gum disease and tooth decay, there's no neutral ground.
You're either fighting it offensively, or you're losing. The moment after you brush and floss, those native oral bacteria are repopulating their favorite playground, your mouth.
Our approach includes the professional cleanings that Dr. Coleman provides and an emphasis on careful patient education so that you can continue the battle effectively at home.
Maintaining Your Dental Health
In order to maintain your dental and oral health, and help your orthodontic treatment progress properly, be sure to do the following:
- Achieve a balanced diet. This can be achieved by eating a variety of foods preferably from each of the five major food groups: breads, cereals and other grain products; fruits; vegetables; meat, poultry and fish; milk, cheese and yogurt.
- Limit the number of snacks that you eat. If you do snack, choose nutritious foods, such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or a piece of fruit. Each time that you eat foods that contain sugars or starches, brush your teeth.
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners.
- Maintain your regularly scheduled check-ups with your dentist.
Proper Dental Hygiene is Critical
The best way to remove decay-causing plaque is by brushing and cleaning between your teeth every day. Brushing removes plaque from the tooth surfaces.
Cleaning between the teeth once a day with floss or interdental cleaners removes plaque from between the teeth and in the areas where your toothbrush cannot reach. It is essential in preventing gum disease.
Many of the foods you eat cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids. Sugared foods, such as candy and cookies, and starched foods, such as bread and crackers can all cause acids to form.
Plaque produces substances that irritate the gums, making them red, tender and bleed easily. After a while, gums may pull away from the teeth allowing pockets to form and fill with bacteria.
If the gums are not treated, the bone around the teeth can be destroyed. The teeth may become loose or have to be removed. In fact, gum disease is a main cause of tooth loss in adults.
Tips for Better Oral Hygiene:
- Carry a travel toothbrush. This lets you brush after eating, no matter where you are.
- Rinse after eating. This keeps food from sticking to your teeth when you can't brush.
- Try an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes can make teeth cleaning easier.