You know how important it is to brush and floss properly when you're wearing braces — but what's the best way to do that? Let's start with the basic brushing tools: Either a soft-bristled brush or a bi-level brush (one that has shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges) can be effective. Used carefully, an electric toothbrush can work just as well. But be sure the electric brush is set to a moderate power level, and don't let its vibrations cause the back of the brush to hit the braces!
You should brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times per day (preferably after meals), for at least two minutes each time. Remember to brush all of the tooth surfaces: the front, the back, and the chewing surfaces as well. Be especially careful to clean the areas between wires and teeth, and between brackets and gums — that's where food particles can easily become trapped.
Here's a suggested brushing technique: Beginning at the front surfaces, place the tips of the bristles flat against your teeth, and use small circular motions to gently polish them clean. For areas between braces and gums, tilt the brush toward the gum line (down for the bottom teeth, up for the top) while keeping up the circular motions. Next, move on to the chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth, using a firm back-and-forth motion. Finally, finish up by carefully brushing the back surfaces of the teeth the same way you did the front surfaces.
If you're having trouble cleaning the areas near brackets and wires, there are some special tools that may help. One is the interdental toothbrush. It has a small tuft of bristles that stick up all around, like a pipe cleaner. Use it gently and carefully to clean the tiny spaces under wires and around bands and brackets.
Another special cleaning tool is the oral irrigator or “water pick.” This device shoots a small stream of pressurized water at your teeth, which can help dislodge bits of food that become trapped in nooks and crannies. While it's easy to use, an oral irrigator isn't a substitute for a toothbrush or dental floss — but when used along with proper brushing and flossing techniques, it can be very effective.
Ever wonder how effective your tooth-cleaning techniques really are? There's an accurate way to tell, using special vegetable dyes called “disclosing solutions” or “disclosing tablets.” As they dissolve in the mouth, these dyes highlight plaque and food debris that brushing has missed. You can then easily remove the dyed spots — and you'll know for sure if your oral hygiene methods need a little “brushing up.”
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy now is an investment in your future. It enables you to get the best results from your orthodontic treatment, and starts you toward a brighter smile that can last for a lifetime.
While you are wearing braces, please avoid eating hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar. Hard foods can break or damage the wires and brackets, and sticky foods can get caught between the wires and brackets. Minimize the amount of sugary foods you eat; the sugar can cause tooth decay and other related problems.
We encourage patients to quit bad habits, such as fingernail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects. All of these activities can break or damage your braces.
It's important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. If you have a loose/broken wire or bracket, please call our office immediately to arrange a repair appointment.
At first, having orthodontic treatment may take a little getting used to. It isn't uncommon to experience a bit of soreness when appliances are first put on, or some minor aches as teeth begin moving into new positions. Yet it's comforting to know that genuine orthodontic emergencies are rare.
If you think you may have an emergency, however, the first step is to determine the severity of the problem: Is it an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, or a minor problem that you can take care of yourself, temporarily, until you can come in to our office?
There are only a few true orthodontic (or dental) emergencies. They include:
In any of these situations, you should seek help as soon as possible — go to an emergency room, if that's your best option. Generally, however, the place to start is with your regular dentist. Remember that he or she is trained to handle a range of dental problems, and can most likely offer the necessary diagnostic tools, anesthetics and treatments you need. If, for example, you have a fractured tooth, your dentist will treat the immediate problem and arrange for the tooth's restoration; afterwards your orthodontic treatment plan can be adjusted as needed. Likewise, severe pain or swelling could be a sign of infection or disease, which a dentist or periodontist is best able to treat.
Fortunately, the vast majority of orthodontic problems are minor compared to these situations — but they may still cause discomfort or irritation. In general, it's best to try and soothe the immediate cause of the discomfort, and then call our office to schedule an appointment; that way, we can allot sufficient time to take care of you. Here are a few of the more common orthodontic problems, along with some tips on what you can do to relieve them at home:
This problem is often caused by eating hard or sticky candy or food, or playing with the braces. If the band or bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it as is — but don't connect any elastics to it! You can cover it with orthodontic wax if it's irritating the inside of your mouth. If it has come off, save it. In either case, call our office to let us know what happened, and we will schedule a visit. Be sure to bring any loose parts with you to the appointment!
As the teeth start to move, the wire that connects them (archwire) may begin poking near the back of the mouth or irritating the cheeks. You can try moving the wire into a better position with a pencil eraser or a Q-Tip. If the wire won't move, you may be able to cut the end off with a nail clipper sterilized in alcohol — but before doing so, please call our office for our guidance or instructions. Often, you can also use tweezers to gently move a misplaced wire or a tie that's causing problems.
When wires or brackets cause irritation, covering the metal parts with wax will often help ease the discomfort. As with any of these types of problems, call our office and we'll schedule a time to see you.
It's normal for teeth to become slightly loosened during orthodontic treatment — that shows they're moving! Sometimes, this movement may be accompanied by tenderness, especially after braces are placed or adjusted. For minor soreness, you can use your regular over-the-counter pain reliever. A twice-a-day salt-water rinse may also help: Mix one teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water, and rinse for 30 seconds. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw can also offer some relief.
While actual emergencies are rare, our goal is to make orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible. If you need additional advice, don't hesitate to call us!
Attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, the Rapid Palatal Expander is an orthodontic device used to create a wider space in the upper jaw. It is typically used when the upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw or when the upper teeth are crowded or blocked out of the dental arch.
When patients are still growing, their connective tissue between the left and right halves of their upper jaw is very responsive to expansion. By simply activating the expander through turning a screw in the center of the palatal expander, with a special key we provide, gradual outward pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the right and left halves of the jaw, ultimately resulting in an increased width.
Have you ever wondered if your smile could benefit from orthodontic treatment? Are you curious if you’re a candidate for Invisalign or braces? At Rawle Orthodontics, we understand life can be busy with work, school, sports and other extracurricular activities, that’s why we make it easy and convenient for you. Our team would love to save you time by giving you the option of taking care of your initial visit FREE via our virtual consultation. Click on the digital appointment button on our website and easily submit a few photos using your smart phone. We’ll review your photos and connect virtually to present you with your treatment options.
Short and sweet – patients utilize the DigitalSmylz widget on the Rawle Orthodontics website to upload images of their smile directly to a secure server. These are analyzed by Dr. Rawle and a treatment plan is developed.
The advantages of virtual consultations:
The initial consultation and development of your unique treatment plan can be performed before you ever leave your home. By using the images you submit, Dr. Rawle can evaluate your smile. You will be contacted by phone to set up your Virtual Consultation, during which Dr. Rawle will make his treatment recommendation and our treatment coordinator will review affordable payment options with you and schedule you to begin treatment.
The DigitalSmylz widget makes the entire process easy. To request a free virtual consultation simply click on the widget displayed at the side of our website. Follow the prompts as they guide you through the process.
A few tips before you start:
The consult feature is designed for use with mobile devices. Start the process by sending the link to your phone using the widget from your computer. Once you open the link on your phone, you will be guided through the entire process. Simply follow the prompts to upload your images and enter the required patient information.
Digital safety is important to Rawle Orthodontics. By partnering with DigitalSmylz, we can assure our patients that their information is secure. Patient information is maintained on the Rawle Orthodontics computer system and the interface is HIPAA-compliant.
The DigitalSmylz interface utilizes two-factor identification to verify patients. Since data is submitted directly to the Rawle Orthodontics in-house computer system there is no third-party access. The security protocols keep all patient information safe. When you use the DigitalSmylz widget you can be certain that you are protected.
Rawle Orthodontics is dedicated to providing the best virtual consultations for Invisalign and braces. Our office locations in Altamonte Springs, FL and Lake Mary, FL are convenient to the Seminole County and surrounding areas.
Get your free virtual consultation today. Appointments can be scheduled by calling (407) 682-1818.