tips

Pro-tips to help you
rise, shine & smile.

We know Orthodontic treatment can be beneficial to both children and adults and will result in a beautiful smile that will impact your self-confidence for years to come. To help with faster, more comfortable treatment, we have a few tips and care guidelines, and eating habit recommendations to make your Silver Smiles orthodontic experience the best it can be!

TIP 1: Aligner Care

Congratulations on your decision to straighten your smile!

Recommendations:

  • Wear your aligners for 20-22 hours/day.
  • Remove your aligners when eating or drinking anything other than water.
  • Rinse or brush your teeth before reusing or replacing your aligners. Anything with sugar can cause decay, and anything with color will cause stains.
  • When your aligner is not in your mouth, make sure it is in your case.
  • You might break or lose an aligner during treatment. If you do, switch to the next aligner in your series and continue to wear it until you were originally supposed to switch that tray. If the next tray does not fit, call the office.
  • If your aligner remains tight after wearing it for seven days, continue to wear it an additional seven days until it is no longer tight. If your tray is still tight after wearing it for two weeks, call the office for an appointment.
  • It is recommended that you clean your aligners with soap and cold water and a toothbrush.

Attachments:
Attachments are necessary to perfect your smile. Attachments can feel rough when they are first placed, but will smooth out quickly. If you lose one to two attachments, we can replace those at your next appointment. If you lose more than two, please call the office so they can be replaced.

Special Occasions:
Aligners give you the flexibility to straighten your teeth on your own time. If you have a special occasion, you can always wear your aligners at night only, like you do with a retainer. If you miss some days wearing your aligner, please continue to wear your current aligner until it is no longer tight, then proceed with wearing trays weekly from there. Attachments can be removed for major events, like weddings or auditions.

Bring all of your aligners to every appointment!

 

TIP 2: Inbrace Care

Congratulations on your decision to straighten your smile!

Managing Comfort
Just as with traditional braces, you will feel some discomfort as your teeth begin to move and as you become accustomed to braces! Any discomfort you feel is temporary and normal. Things will get better quickly!

  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dry mouth.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication for relief.
  • Place orthodontic wax on your braces to make them feel smoother until your mouth adapts.

Communication
Orthodontic treatment takes up space in your mouth, and this can influence your speech. To return to normal speech, you’ll need to train your mouth. The best way to train is to exercise – we recommend speaking frequently, even singing out loud in the car while driving. You can also practice counting from 50 to 80 since F’s and S’s can be difficult to say.

Diet
By the time you read this, your teeth have already begun to move. As teeth move, your sensitivity to hot and cold foods may increase. Paying attention to your diet may minimize discomfort, and watching what you eat throughout the course of your treatment will improve your overall experience.

  • Begin with soft foods until teeth tenderness has passed, then gradually incorporate more solid foods.
  • Peel fruit before eating, as this will prevent peels from sticking in your teeth or in your braces.
  • Avoid hard, sticky and chewy foods, like nuts, popcorn, pizza crust, granola bars, baguettes, hard caramel, toffee, beef jerky and similar foods.
  • Chewing gum is not recommended unless it is sugar-free.

What do I do if…

  • If you break a bracket or it separates from the tooth, it may not bother you, but you still need to call the office and let us know. Depending on the situation, we may schedule a time to see you to correct it, or we may wait until your next appointment.
  • If your wire breaks, we recommend covering any part that is causing irritation with wax and calling the office as soon as possible.

 

TIP 3: Retainer Instructions

How to wear and to care for your retainer

Congratulations! Now that you have your braces off and are ready to smile, there are a few things you need to know:

  • Wear your retainer EVERY night for two years after treatment. After the first two years, please continue to wear it, but it might not need to be an every-night commitment by that point. If your retainer feels tight when it goes in, your teeth are shifting and you need to be wearing it more often. Retention is a lifetime commitment.
  • In the morning, take your retainer out and clean it with soap and cold water, and PUT IT IN YOUR CASE. You can also use denture-cleaning tablets to soak your retainer.
  • Keep your retainer away from any kids or pets (if it’s not in your face, it’s in your case!)
  • If you do happen to miss a few nights, make them up by wearing your retainer a little longer each day.
  • Retainers are $125 each to replace ($250 for a set). You can also inquire about our Retainer Insurance plan to learn about alternative pricing.
  • Please bring your retainer to every check-in appointment!
  • Enjoy your new smile! If you have any questions, please call the office at (770) 972-6000.

 

TIP 4: Retainer Insurance

Secure the investment you’ve made in your awesome new smile.

The Details:

  • $500 for insurance plan
  • Plan gets you up to two sets of retainers per year for five years after treatment
  • Each retainer has a co-pay of only $20
  • This provides a savings of up to $1,600

Without insurance, each set of replacement retainers cost $250.

Common reasons patients need replacement retainers include dogs eating their retainer, worn-out retainers, retainers thrown away by mistake and broken retainers.

 

Awww, snap! It’s real.

You’re getting braces.

Braces are a big investment in your smile, so it is incredibly important that you take care of them during treatment! Make sure you take great care of them!

WILL MY BRACES HURT?

Most patients notice some discomfort 24-48 hours after an appointment. This is because your teeth are moving. Because we use thermal wires, they are only active while at normal body temperature. Pressures can be relieved if you can make the temperature of your mouth below body temperature by sipping on cold ice water, putting ice in any beverage, drinking smoothies and eating ice cream frequently during the first two days with braces. This will prevent you from getting to the peak of soreness that others may associate with braces. All soreness should subside within a few days. Any over-the-counter pain reliever can also be used to help ease any discomfort that might still be present. We recommend that you use anything you would usually take for a headache.

Getting used to your braces is like breaking in a new pair of shoes. It might take up to two weeks before you feel like you have completely broken them in. You can place orthodontic wax over the brackets if it feels like they are irritating the inside of your mouth. Ball up the wax, then use your finger to press that ball of wax onto your braces. If you need additional wax, you can buy it at any pharmacy or grocery store.

HOW DO I BRUSH MY TEETH?

It is very important to keep your teeth and gingiva (gums) clean during orthodontic treatment. Bacteria (dental plaque) often sticks to our teeth (especially around the gumline and between the teeth). Adding brackets to your teeth creates an extra spot for food, plaque and bacteria to cling to. It is common to see plaque accumulation between the bracket and the gumline, so this is the most important area to focus on. Make sure to brush along the gums, in addition to the tops, sides and bottoms of the brackets.  It is incredibly important to brush your teeth regularly and as often as possible after eating to prevent damage to your teeth and inflammation of your gum tissue.

WHAT ELSE CAN I USE TO KEEP MY TEETH CLEAN?

Flossing is important to clean between your teeth. Your teeth have four surfaces, and brushing alone only cleans two of those surfaces. Using Platypus orthodontic flossers), make flossing with braces easy. Use the skinny side of the flosser towards the wire to get in between the teeth.

Waterpiks and other water flossers are great products to help wash out food from around brackets. Think of them as small water guns to spray the food off your appliances. Also, proxy brushes (Christmas tree brushes) are useful for getting food out from behind the wire and are easy to carry with you.

DO CLEAN TEETH REALLY MOVE FASTER?

We aren’t trying to trick you into cleaning your teeth (you should want to have nice fresh breath and clean shiny teeth!), but it is true that clean teeth move faster! Why? Plaque and bacteria cause gingival inflammation. Inflammation inhibits bone forming cells that are necessary for tooth movement. Inflammation also creates thicker and larger tissues that the tooth has to move through to straighten out. And Inflammation can also cause receding gums and other periodontal problems that can require costly restorative work later.

WHAT ARE WHITE SPOTS?

Bacteria in your mouth is an irritant, and it creates acids that can break down the enamel of the teeth.  This can create areas of demineralization (often around a bracket where the bacteria is sitting) that show up as white areas on the teeth. Unfortunately, they cannot be removed without costly restorations. Cleaning properly during treatment will prevent these spots from developing!

MOUTHGUARDS

Mouthguards are recommended for patients involved in contact sports.  We have mouthguards available in our office for you!

WHAT FOODS DO I HAVE TO AVOID WHILE I HAVE BRACES?

Eating with braces is more about HOW you eat, rather than WHAT you eat.  Remember to take smaller bites and chew a bit more softly. Hard foods like apples, carrots, pizza crusts and bagels should be cut up or sliced and chewed with the back teeth. Avoid extremely hard things like nuts and hard candies, or chewing on ice or pen caps. You should also stay away from really sticky foods like taffy, toffee and caramels. You can continue to eat most of the foods you love including soft gummies and sugar-free bubble gum!

No-No List:

  • Anything that will cause your teeth to stick together when you bite into it: Starburst, toffee, Now and Later, hard caramels
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts- peanuts, pecans, cashews, walnuts
  • Hard candies- Jolly Ranchers, Life Savers, Peppermints
  • Ice
  • Pizza crust and bagels- please eat the soft insides only
  • Beef jerky
  • Do not suck lemons/limes- acid is very harmful to tooth enamel
  • Avoid chewing on pens, pencils, straws and fingernails
  • Changing Eating Habits:
  • Hard fruits/vegetables- cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • Hard-crust breads- cut into small bites or eat the softer insides
  • Corn on the cob- cut corn off the cob to eat
  • Sugary drinks/sodas- Limit to special occasions and drink with meals
  • Meat on the bone- cut meats off the bone and cut into small pieces to eat

Hard foods may do damage by bending the wires and/or loosening cement under the bands/brackets. Sticky foods may damage the appliance by bending wires and loosening the cement. Avoid foods high in sugar whenever possible. If you do eat sugary food, eat it at the end of the meal and brush after the end of your meal. When it is not convenient to brush, always rinse your mouth out with water after sugary foods and beverages.

HOW CAN I GET MY BRACES OFF SOONER?

There are four main ways to help get your orthodontic treatment completed as efficiently as possible:

  1. Keeping your appointments and arriving on time.
  2. Not breaking your appliances. Make sure you follow all the recommendations from Dr. Sturm on foods to avoid and how to take care of your braces.
  3. Wearing your elastics and appliances as instructed.
  4. Keeping your teeth and braces clean. An important part of this is keeping your regular cleaning appointments with your general dentist every six months.
Let’s
Do
This!

Your smile’s waited long enough.

No one knows smiles like the orthodontists at Silver Smiles. If you’re ready to get a smile that makes you want to smile, you’ve found the right solution at Silver Smiles Orthodontics.

If you’re in need of general dental work like cavity repair, teeth cleaning, caps, crowns or veneers, give us a call and we’ll be happy to refer you to an outstanding general dentist in your area.