Traditional dental braces involve the bonding of metal brackets to the surfaces of teeth, with an arch wire used to connect the brackets either by additional tied wires around each bracket or with self-ligating brackets that hold the arch wire in place. Regardless of the type of braces used, their presence creates an obstacle to maintaining oral health and boosting self-care habits will protect teeth and gums throughout the orthodontic treatment.
The orthodontist will instruct each patient regarding the care of his or her hardware throughout the treatment process. Most patients are told to keep the hardware shiny and continue to brush at least twice daily. Most patients, however, quickly learn that twice a day is not enough. After every meal, there will be food particles, saliva, and other residual signs of eating all stuck in the dental braces. If brushing is not an option right after a meal, it is highly recommended that the patient swish and rinse the mouth well using clean water.
Brushing at least twice a day will help, but a regular toothbrush cannot do the work alone. A proxabrush or “go-between” toothbrush is recommended. These have replaceable heads with cone-shaped bristles and the replacements come in a variety of sizes. The proxabrush is used to clean the teeth behind each archwire section between the brackets. The proxabrush can also be used to clean larger gaps between teeth, where flossing may be insufficient. It is best to following brushing with a fluoride-based rinse or mouthwash to help protect enamel.
Although flossing is possible, many patients do not floss regularly even before the braces are applied, and find it even more of a challenge to floss with brackets and wires in the way. Flossing is possible, however, and should be done at least when there is something seen or felt between teeth. The more diligent the patient is in caring for his or her teeth, the longer they will last and the nicer they will look when the braces come off. For more information on orthodontic treatment options and care, contact our experienced specialists at Bunn Orthodontic Group today!