If you have braces, it is of utmost importance that you take good care of your oral health. Tooth and gum problems can hinder the development of your teeth alignment. You should also try to avoid any dental emergencies when you have braces. These include extreme tooth decay, extreme gum issues, and even broken teeth.
How To Avoid Dental Emergencies
The best way to do all these things is to be more extra careful with your everyday routine. Eating sweet and starchy foods should be avoided while wearing braces because these foods promote cavities. It can also be a little difficult to brush your teeth now that you have braces, but it’s very important to stick to your brushing habits. Bits of sugar and food may stay on your brackets even after you brush, so make sure to brush carefully. Flossing your teeth will help.
If you’re an active person or you join sports, the chance of getting an injury increases. Apart from being mindful of your surroundings, it’s also best to wear mouth guards whenever possible.
Lastly, be sure you still visit your dentist once in a while. They will be able to provide first-aid if necessary.
The common causes of tooth loss include injury and illness, but sometimes can be due to poor oral health. Thankfully, we live in a time where technology and innovation have allowed us to replace the missing tooth.
Here are some of the most popular and preferred options for replacing missing teeth.
1 – Temporary Denture
Also called a flipper, this offers a short-term solution to a missing tooth. It is called such because you can flip it in and out easily. It is often used while waiting for a future, more permanent restoration procedure. The surrounding teeth stay intact with a flipper.
2 – Partial Denture
This can be used to replace one or two lost teeth and is removable. It is usually worn during the day and then taken out before bedtime and soaked into a cleaning solution. It will need metal clasps to stay on and these might be visible when you speak or smile.
3 – Bridge
This is applied if the gap of a missing tooth is between two good teeth. It is a fixed solution that is cemented into one of the teeth to create a more permanent fixture. The good tooth is cut down and that is where the bridge will be attached. It can replace one or two teeth, sometimes more if there is ample support.
4 – Dental Implant
This is a permanent procedure that will you feeling like you have a new natural tooth. The implant takes the place of the actual root and heals into the bone. The process takes a few months to be completed but the benefits are long term. However, it can be expensive.
Of course, having a missing tooth doesn’t always mean that you have to replace it. Sometimes, the best option is to do nothing, especially if it’s not really a bother. The density of one’s jawbone deteriorates the longer it takes you get a replacement.
There are plenty of advantages to having straight teeth beyond having a picture-perfect smile. Sure, having properly aligned pearly whites work wonders on one’s self-esteem and confidence. Straight teeth are not just visually attractive, but they are also good for your overall health.
Straight Teeth Prevent Tooth and Gum Problems
Because they are easier to clean, straight teeth reduce your chances of developing periodontal problems. Debris that remain in the crevices trigger bacterial growth and eventually lead to infection. Crooked teeth are harder to keep clean and with poor hygiene habits, you may experience inflammation, damage, and tooth loss.
An Aligned Bite Reduces Stress On The Jaw
Straight teeth decrease your risk of jaw problems. When your teeth are crooked or if you have a bad bite, the temporomandibular joints are compromised and irritated whenever you chew, talk, or do anything that involves opening and closing your mouth. At first you will experience mild pain, which can escalate into severe headaches. This is why orthodontists often recommend having braces installed.
Straight Teeth Stay On Longer
Because straight teeth are not exposed to pressure and are cleaned better, they naturally become healthier — and healthy teeth stay on the gum longer. With crookedness, your teeth become more exposed to wear and start to weaken.
The health benefits of having straight teeth are undeniable. This is the reason why investing in braces and alignment procedures is well worth it.
Patients new to braces will need ample time to recover and adjust to the new appliance and this is why the summer break is the best time to bust them out. Orthodontists recommend that patients be readily available for any adjustments and consultations that may be required at least during the first few months. Since most new braces wearers are students, summertime is convenient.
It’s Easier To Create A Care Schedule
Setting dental visits and assessment schedules is easier in the summer because patients often have more free time and flexibility in their schedules. In addition, most families go on vacation during this time so there are more open appointment times at the office.
There’s Plenty Of Time To Adjust
Placing braces or any teeth alignment appliances takes a couple hours. This longer appointment is usually easier to work into a summer schedule. Plus, acclimating to the new lifestyle and getting used to a new oral hygiene process can be a challenge. Patients will have an easier time adjusting to their new braces if they are able to be at home relaxing and don’t have to go to school.
Fewer School Commitments
There are fewer sporting and zero school commitments in the summer. That means no homework or extra-curricular activities to consider when scheduling orthodontic appointments.
Orthodontic treatment is more than just getting a nice smile. It is a long-term commitment to achieving healthy teeth, bite, bones, and gums. It is recommend that children be evaluated for possible braces as early as 7 years old. For many people, there is no better time to start treatment than during the summer!
The process of correcting your teeth’s alignment does not end when the braces come off. A retainer will be fitted to your teeth for the purpose of reinforcing the newly created position. This is to make sure that things continue to stay in place long after the wires are removed.
What to Expect
During the first few months after your braces come off, it’s highly recommended that you wear your retainers 24/7. The only time they should be removed is before you drink, eat, or brush. You can choose to have a plastic retainer made if you want to conceal its appearance.
Depending on your orthodontist’s observations of how your teeth are responding to the fact that the braces are out, you will eventually be required to wear a retainer only when you sleep for at least a year. You can then start wearing them only three to four times a week. Dentists do not recommend that you get rid of the retainers completely in order to make sure all the hard work from the braces will be worth it.
Maintenance of Braces
While there are removable and fixed retainers, it is important to point out that they will be a permanent part of your life. The only difference is that you may be allowed to wear them less frequently. If you use a fixed retainer, doctors will require you to keep it in for a few years (or decades). Again, it all depends on your orthodontist’s assessment. If appearance is a concern, you can opt for a lingual retainer, which is placed behind your teeth and will not be immediately visible.
Just because you’re on a vacation doesn’t mean your braces care regimen should take a break, too! On the contrary, because you will likely be exposed to different foods and drinks while you’re on vacation, it is important to be extra meticulous with your cleaning routine. Remember that braces are not something you can ignore — even for just a day.
The change in your schedule while on vacation could mean you might not be able to give enough attention to your braces. Here are some simple tips to follow to ensure your braces and mouth stay healthy and clean while you’re on vacation.
What Your Travel Kit Should Contain
Surely brushing is part of your daily life with braces – even when you’re on vacation. One of the most important things you should bring for the sake of your braces is a travel kit. It can just be a small pouch that fits inside your everyday bag. The point is, it should have the basic supplies and tools you need to get the gunk out of your teeth and wires.
Your basic kit should include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss threaders or wax floss, extra elastics, orthodontic wax, and a small mirror.
Brush And Floss Daily
Stick to your usual regimen of cleaning and flossing. Brushing normally should happen at least twice a day and flossing once a day at the least. If you fall asleep at the end of an activity-packed day, make sure to floss immediately when you wake up the next day.
Watch What You Eat
There are certain types of food and beverages that can affect your braces. Needless to say, try to avoid super sticky and hard foods so you don’t break the elastics and dislocate your wires. You also don’t want the trouble of having to spend so much time taking food out of your braces.
Bring your orthodontist’s phone number with you when you’re out of town just in case of any emergencies. Better yet, scope the Internet for orthodontists in the area prior to traveling so you know where to go in case of an emergency.
TMJ, which is short for Temporal Mandibular Joint disorder, is a joint condition that is commonly associated with either hearing a clicking sound when you open or close your mouth or pain while doing so. It is a fairly common issue that is often left undiagnosed because most of the symptoms are minor and manageable. However, when the pain escalates to a level that one can no longer bear, people often seek medical help and confirm the diagnosis.
What Causes TMJ?
The real cause of TMJ is unknown, but studies have found that there are certain physical manifestations that contribute to the disorder. These include jaw arthritis, injuries to the area or on the muscles of the neck and head, too much pressure on the joint from aggressive grinding or teeth clenching, and even stress. The temporal mandibular joint is in place to help us chew and talk. If the joint slides out of place or had experienced pressure or impact, TMJ can happen.
Treating TMJ is more of a management issue than finding a cure. Jaw surgery is only recommended if there is a structural problem or unbearable discomfort. More often, TMJ is addressed with resting, stress management exercises, mouth exercises, hot and cold compress, orthodontic appliances (such as a mouthguard), and pain medications.
Do Braces Cause TMJ?
Research has shown that there is no direct link between TMJ and braces. The same can be said for any other orthodontic treatment. In fact, one of the most recommended treatments for the condition is actually the installation of braces. This is because proper teeth alignment can provide serious relief and can correct any misaligned bones or joints in the mouth area.
If you believe you are suffering from TMJ, it is best to consult an orthodontist first to get properly diagnosed. Once the problem is diagnosed, your orthodontist might recommend appliances such as a mouthguard and braces in order to provide lasting relief.
You may feel some minor and short-term discomfort after you get your new braces. Don’t worry, as any discomfort or soreness will go away shortly and you will back to your normal eating habits.
In the meantime, here are some of the best foods to eat as a new braces patient:
1 – Chicken Noodle Soup
This delicious soup is not just a great option for when you have the flu! Those with new braces can get plenty of nutrients from this dish, which is especially crucial at a time when chewing can be difficult and a bit painful. Add healthy carbohydrates to the meal by soaking crackers or bread into the soup so they become easier to chew and eat.
2 – Bananas
Ripe bananas a great fruit when your mouth is sore because they are soft, healthy, and very easy to eat. Bananas are a great option for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack. Bananas are packed with vitamins and the nutrients that will power you through the day.
3 – Yogurt
Yogurt is a great breakfast option and will not require you to do any chewing at all. Just note that some yogurts have a high sugar content, so it’s recommended that you gargle or brush your teeth after eating yogurt.
4 – Eggs
Scrambled eggs are a great choice for those with new braces. Eggs are high in protein and will keep you full for hours. You can also add cheese and vegetables to your scrambled eggs for extra nutrition.
5 – Smoothies
Like yogurt, smoothies do not require any chewing effort to consume. Plus, the cold sensation in your mouth can help numb the inflamed parts of your gums from the new braces.
There are plenty of other types of food that can be consumed when your braces are new. Stick to soft foods that don’t require lots of chewing, and that do not put too much pressure on your teeth.
Having braces entails being extra mindful of your oral hygiene. Because you have introduced a foreign and semi-fixed body into your mouth, you want to ensure that your braces have a healthy relationship with the rest of your mouth. The level of care has two phases. First, you should ensure that your teeth and gums are shielded from decay, disease, staining, and injury. Second, you must be careful not to ruin the integrity of the braces themselves so that they do not get dislodged, repositioned, or broken unnecessarily.
Here are the top ways to make sure that you and your braces live together harmoniously.
Food trapped in your braces is similar to having food trapped in between your teeth (and can even be worse). It invites the reproduction of germs which eventually lead to gum disease and foul breath. Cleaning using a soft-bristled brush after every meal removes debris from wires, brackets, and teeth. It is recommended that you get an orthodontic toothbrush in place of a regular brush, which has V-shaped bristles specially designed to reach those crevices and fit around the bars.
Daily flossing is even more important when you have braces. If getting under those bars and wires is a challenge, you can get stiff-tipped flosses designed for braces. Otherwise, using a threader with a regular floss will suffice. If your budget allows, an oral irrigator is both fast and handy. The stream of water that comes out of it is strong enough to wash off food debris and plaque. Whatever method you choose, commit to flossing at least once a day.
Show Up For Your Dental Appointments
Your orthodontist gives you a schedule for your next visit for a very good reason, so you must make sure that you stick to your visits. During checkups, your dentist will verify the integrity of your braces, see if anything needs readjustment or tightening, and conduct cleanings where necessary. Some orthodontists prefer to remove the wires before a cleaning session while others are comfortable with leaving them on.
Orthodontic elastics, also called rubber bands for braces, are applied to the wire to improve and maintain the alignment of the bite and teeth during the entire treatment process. They apply pressure on specific areas and the orthodontist either loosens or tightens them as he or she sees fit. While the wires are responsible for ensuring the teeth stay in one line, it is the elastics that pull them together.
These elastics are not the same as the little ones you see attached on each bracket. They are small bands that are attached in between the frontal or back brackets or the lower and upper ones. They also come as either latex or non-latex (for people who are allergic).
What Do Orthodontic Elastics Do?
Because of their size, it at first may not appear as though the elastics are able to change the positioning of your teeth. On the contrary, the elastics serve a huge purpose in terms of aligning your bite. This part of getting your braces on takes the longest period of time, but these small bands being applied in exchange for perfectly aligned teeth is well worth it.
An important thing to note about using rubber bands is that it requires the user’s active participation in attaching them and following the doctor’s instructions. This part is crucial. The orthodontic elastics need to be positioned and installed in a specific place and way so that they remain effective. They also need to be replaced from time to time, depending on your dental condition.