My Orthodontic Treatment
Successful orthodontic treatment is a partnership between the orthodontist and the patient. The doctor and staff are dedicated to achieving the best possible result for each patient. As a general rule, informed and cooperative patients can achieve positive orthodontic results.
The orthodontist provides custom-made fixed or removable appliances that use gentle pressure over time to move teeth into their proper positions. Your job is to follow the orthodontist’s instructions, keep scheduled orthodontic appointments and maintain excellent oral hygiene so you achieve your best results.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PATIENTS WEARING A FIXED ORTHODONTIC APPLIANCE
The brace you are wearing is highly sophisticated and delicate instrument, which if worn and looked after well, is capable of giving you lovely teeth to last a lifetime.
It is vital that you read and carry out the following instructions, since failure to do so may cause serious problems.
Your brace consists of small metal attachments fixed to your teeth with a special adhesive. These are easily removed at the end of treatment, leaving your teeth completely unharmed. Wire and elastic components pass between these attachments and it is these that produce the tooth moving forces.
GETTING YOUR BRACE
Your teeth are likely to become tender during the first weeks of treatment. This will wear off with time, as the teeth start to move. If necessary, take a suitable painkiller (e.g paracetamol) this should solve the problem.
The bands or wires sometimes cause soreness to the insides of the lips and checks: if this occurs use soft wax. Any soreness soon disappears.
Superb oral hygiene is essential with a fixed brace – failure to remove all the plaque from around your attachments can lead to damage of the teeth and gums.
Clean your teeth and gums at least 3 times a day, after your main meals. Use a disclosing tablet once or twice a week and fluoride mouth wash. Inspect the teeth in a mirror to make sure all food particles have been removed.
A normal, small toothbrush should be used in conjunction with an interdental brush.
Remember to clean the gum as well.
If your oral hygiene is consistently bad then we will be forced to STOP the treatmemt.
Avoid foods which might damage your brace, including hard, chewy and sticky foods. Chewing gum, toffee, boiled sweets, tough meat, French bread etc. is forbidden. Apples, raw carrot etc, should be cut up before being eaten. Fizzy pops and sugary drinks should be avoided.
YOU MUST NOT
- Bite Your Nails
- Chew Pen tops/Pencils
- Pick at the Brackets
Your brace is remarkably strong and if you follow the above advice, it should not break. However, occasionally an attachment may come loose or a wire breaks, contact the practice and arrange a visit for the repairs. A broken appliance will delay your treatment and should be repaired within days. If it occurs out of practice hours and it is hurting, place some wax around the area or remove and keep the detached part if possible. Then call the practice first thing after the weekend and we will arrange to see you.
The use of elastics is a very important part of some appliance treatments. If you are instructed to wear elastics, make sure you know the size, understand their position in the mouth and the frequency of changing fresh elastics. Never vary a routine on your own account. Make sure you have a sufficient supply of elastics, especially before the holiday. Report immediately if there are any difficulties.
Please note that every time you break your fixed appliance you are adding approximately one month extra to your total treatment time. This is because the teeth move out of alignment and it takes around one month to align them again to enable to go on to the next stage of treatment. If you are careless your fixed appliance treatment may last as long as 3-4 years rather than the average 18-24 months.
SO PLEASE BE CAREFUL AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN.
Your appliance requires regular monthly adjustments and must not be worn for long periods of time supervised. If you forget an appointment or unable to attend, let the surgeon know immediately.
ROOT ABSORPTION AND LOSS OF TOOTH VITALITY
It is normal that during Orthodontic treatment there may be root shortening. This usually causes no long terms problems, however if it is severe, treatment may need to be stopped early. Very occassionally, teeth may become non-vital and may require root canal treatment. This is most likely to occur where teeth have previously been traumatised or have very large restorations.
Please note that failed appointments prolong treatment. Also if failed appointments are frequent we will be forced to terminate without notice.(Please be aware of this)
REGULAR ROUTINE DENTAL VISITS
It is important that you visit your dentist for any routine treatment which may be necessary throughout the course of your orthodontic treatment.
REMEMBER THAT THE SUCCESS OF YOUR TREATMENT DEPENDS ON YOUR CO-OPERATION.
What to Expect?
Results of Treatment
Orthodontic treatment usually proceeds as planned, and we intend to do everything possible to achieve the best results for every patient. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be completely satisfied with your results, nor can all complications or consequences be anticipated. The success of treatment depends on your cooperation in keeping appointments, maintaining good oral hygiene, avoiding loose or broken appliances, and following the orthodontist’s instructions carefully.
Length of Treatment
The length of treatment depends on a number of issues, including the severity of the problem, the patient’s growth and the level of patient cooperation. The actual treatment time is usually close to the estimated treatment time, but treatment may be lengthened if, for example, unanticipated growth occurs, if there are habits affecting the dentofacial structures, if periodontal or other dental problems occur, or if patient cooperation is not adequate. Therefore, changes in the original treatment plan may become necessary.
Taking care of your fixed appliances is very important. You must clean your teeth thoroughly and be very careful not to break your brace.
- Use your orthodontic toothbrush to go across at the front of your mouth and backwards and forwards at the sides ie: ALONG the archwire. Clean the teeth in each jaw separately.
- Use the small interdental toothbrush to clean any remaining plaque off your teeth. Concentrate on the area between your gums, the brackets and underneath the archwire.
- ALWAYS CLEAN AFTER EVERY MEAL AND BEFORE YOU GO TO BED
- Use toothpaste which has fluoride in it.
- Using a fluoride mouth rinse or fluoride gel is advisable. These should be used last thing at night.
You must be careful with what and how you eat. You must avoid anything too hard or sticky i.e. toffees, chewing gum, crusty bread, nutty breakfast cereals and hard biscuits. You must also stay away from fizzy drinks because the high sugar and acidity can cause permanent marks on the teeth.
From now on all food, even things you think are soft, MUST be cut up first into small pieces and chewed gently on your side teeth. Most of this is common sense but remember to think before you eat something. A breakage can put treatment time back and mean that your braces will be on longer than necessary.
After your brace has been fitted your teeth will feel tender, this is normal. Mild painkillers such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen will help. Your teeth may feel wobbly, DO NOT WORRY, this is quite normal.
If you break your brace please call the clinic immediately unless your next appointment is within a day or so.
Always keep any bits that come off and bring them with you to your appointment. Try not to break your brace. Remember breakages mean longer treatment. You will still need to attend routine check-up appointments with your dentist during your orthodontic treatment.