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Looking After Braces

Have you just got your braces fitted at iSmile? Here’s a handy guide to looking after your braces and making sure your treatment is not delayed as a result of breakages or poor dental hygiene. The best piece of advice we can give you is to establish a comprehensive brushing routine from day one.

Traditional Braces

  • Brush your teeth after every meal to dislodge any food – tip: rinse your mouth with water before you brush to get rid of the biggest food particles
  • You should use a soft-bristled brush or electric toothbrush – make sure you brush your gums, below the brackets and above the brackets
  • Do not eat sticky food, popcorn or bite into hard food like whole carrots or apples
  • Floss once a day – this includes between the braces and under the wires. Try using an orthodontic flosser or floss threader to make this easier
  • Rinse using mouthwash to kill residual bacteria
  • Wear an orthodontic mouthguard when playing sports – this protects both the braces and your mouth in the event of contact
  • Carry around a mirror to check for any food particles after you’ve eaten so you can dislodge it and minimise the risk of plaque build-up
  • Place dental wax on any sharp parts of your braces until you can return to the orthodontist to stop your mouth becoming irritated

Retainers

  • Retainers are really easy to look after because they can be removed
  • Every day in the evening you should clean your retainer with a mild toothpaste on a soft toothbrush and dry it thoroughly
  • Maintain your usual oral hygiene practices and brush, floss and use mouthwash twice a day throughout your treatment
  • When you take your retainer out, always place it in a holder so you don’t lose it – many retainers are placed on napkins and then thrown away!

Remember, if you don’t practice good oral hygiene, you may develop cavities and tooth decay. When this happens we often have to stop our orthodontic work for you to receive dental treatment. This will postpone your treatment program with iSmile and can be costly. To avoid delays, make sure you brush your teeth very carefully and thoroughly when you’re wearing your braces. This will also minimise the risk of your teeth staining and discolouring which may lead to the need for teeth whitening in the future. For more information, ask your orthodontist at your next appointment.

Invisalign Vs Braces

iSmile Orthodontics offers a wide range of orthodontic treatment to our patients. There is much to consider when deciding what form of treatment suits you, your teeth and your lifestyle which is why we want to provide you with a comprehensive overview of our three most common treatment methods. Traditional metal braces, ceramic braces and Invisalign. Here is an introduction and pro and con list for each treatment style to help you make an informed decision.

Traditional Metal Braces

Sometimes referred to as train tracks, metal braces are a very common option for those seeking orthodontic treatment. Metal cages are glued onto each individual tooth and a wire connecting them is put in place and routinely tightened. This tightening encourages the teeth to move into the correct alignment according to the treatment plan your orthodontist will have outlined.

Pros

  • Can move teeth further and therefore correct more extreme, complicated problems
  • Treatment is usually the cheapest option, depending on its length
  • Colours of the brackets can be changed
  • Can move teeth more quickly
  • Patients can’t remove the braces themselves so treatment is consistent
  • The most versatile option in terms of treatment possibilities

Cons

  • Visually obvious
  • Cannot be removed
  • Need ongoing visits to the orthodontist to have the wires tightened
  • Maintaining good oral hygiene is a priority
  • A retainer is needed after the braces are removed
  • Limited diet
  • Must wear a mouth guard if playing contact sports
  • Can be uncomfortable and painful

Ceramic Braces

Much like their metal cousins, ceramic braces work by fitting a bracket to each tooth and having a training wire running between them. However, the brackets are made from either clear or enamel coloured material and are therefore barely noticeable in your mouth. Just like metal braces, you need to visit your orthodontist every month to get the wires tightened.

Pros

  • Less obvious
  • Can move teeth further and therefore correct more extreme, complicated problems
  • Treatment can be cheaper, depending on its length
  • Can move teeth more quickly
  • Patients can’t remove the braces themselves so treatment is consistent

Cons

  • Cannot be removed
  • Need ongoing visits to the orthodontist to have the wires tightened
  • Maintaining good oral hygiene is a priority
  • A retainer is needed after the braces are removed
  • More brittle than metal braces and cannot withstand such extreme treatments
  • Limited diet
  • Must wear a mouth guard if playing contact sports
  • Can be uncomfortable and painful
  • Not always useable on bottom teeth
  • More expensive than metal braces

Invisalign

The development of Invisalign almost two decades ago revolutionised orthodontic treatment because it gave patients who were self-conscious an alternative. Invisalign works using a series of retainers or trays which are created using 3D x-rays of your teeth. These trays will be changed every couple of weeks to gently move the teeth into place. Your orthodontist will tell you how often to change the trays and give you several sets at a time between appointments.

Pros

  • Barely noticeable – they’re effectively invisible and therefore great for self-conscious patients
  • Removable
  • Easy to maintain good oral hygiene throughout the treatment
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Won’t get food trapped in them
  • Fewer trips to the orthodontist

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Only some orthodontists are licensed to fit them – here at iSmile we have fully qualified Invisalign certified orthodontists
  • Cannot address severe malocclusion or bite problems
      • – Back bites
      • – Bridgework
      • – Canines or premolar rotations
      – Move teeth vertically
  • A retainer is needed after the braces are removed
  • Work more slowly
  • Requires discipline from the wearer
  • Must remove every time you want to eat or drink (asides from water)
  • Need to be regularly brushed to stop the Invisalign mould from staining
  • Can lose the trays

It is important to consider not only the time you are going to wear your braces but the end result you wish to achieve from your orthodontic treatment. A sacrifice for a year or two should be worth it for your perfect smile. Our experienced orthodontists are happy to recommend the most efficient and practical form of treatment for your mouth. While it is ultimately your decision, impartial and professional advice is always valuable. Make an appointment today to meet with an iSmile orthodontist and begin your orthodontic treatment the way you want.

Retainer Care

Firstly, congratulations on getting to the end of your orthodontic treatment! Secondly, it’s not quite over yet. We’ve spent the last two years carefully moving your teeth into the perfect position and without guidance, these teeth can move straight back. It is really important to follow your orthodontist’s instructions when it comes to your braces if you don’t want to see your teeth relapse. Here’s what a retainer is and why you need to wear and care for your retainer after your treatment.

What is a retainer?

There are two main types of retainers which can be offered here at iSmile. A fixed retainer is a thin band of wire which is attached behind your teeth. It can be temporary or permanent and helps to hold the teeth in their new place. It is important to make sure you clean behind this wire regularly to prevent food getting stuck and causing decay. A removable retainer is a plate made from an impression of your teeth. This can be taken out when you eat, play sports and brush your teeth and makes oral hygiene very easy.

When do I wear my retainer?

Every patient is different but most people are advised to wear their removable retainer every night for at least six months after their braces have been removed. This allows time for the jawbone to form around the new teeth positions and hold them in place. If you don’t wear your retainer or only put it in sporadically, you will notice some discomfort when you insert the retainer as your teeth shift back into their original position. Some older patients must wear their retainers at night for the rest of their lives to stop the teeth moving back as the bones are less likely to mould securely around the teeth.

How do I care for my retainer?

A fixed retainer requires diligent brushing and flossing, often using a floss threader, to remove any lodged pieces of food. A removable retainer should be taken out when you eat and placed into a safe container. Don’t put it on the table as you may forget it! Every morning you should brush your retainer with a soft bristled brush and mild toothpaste to keep it clean. Dry it thoroughly before putting it somewhere safe.

More questions? Please do not hesitate to ask your orthodontist at iSmile for advice and information.

Am I Suitable for Orthodontic Treatment?

Many people consider braces and other forms of teeth realignment something only suitable for children. In recent years, orthodontic treatments have advanced so much that many adults and older teenagers are seeking to achieve their perfect smile later in life. Some practices even specialise in orthodontic care for adults and centres across the world have reported a significant increase in the number of adult patients.

Most children visit an orthodontist for the first time at the age of seven or eight and they are often referred by their family dentist. It is not usually until they are older that orthodontic treatments such as braces begin. At iSmile Orthodontics, we do not require a referral to assess you or your child’s orthodontic needs and accessing the specialist care of an orthodontist early in your child’s life allows us to evaluate the jaw growth, emerging teeth positioning and create a proactive treatment plan as well as offering preliminary treatments if required. Missing out on this, however, is not a problem. Adults can successfully undergo treatment and achieve that perfect smile despite beginning later in life.

As we mature, there may be limitations to how much your adult teeth can be moved. As our jawbones develop, they harden and become more rigid. Teeth are more easily shifted in children below the age of eighteen. After this time, teeth are not only more difficult to move and take more time to do so but are more likely to move back after the treatment has been completed. Wearing a retainer at night indefinitely is the best way to prevent this from happening and can ensure you maintain that perfect smile you have achieved.

Some adults may be unable to undergo orthodontic treatment due to the state of their teeth. We offer a free introduction consultation to assess your suitability. Weak teeth or patients suffering from tooth decay are vulnerable to damage and an extreme measure such as braces may not be advised in these circumstances. If you have gum disease, you will need to get this treated before you begin to wear braces as the risk of developing further problems can be exacerbated. Additionally, if you have had extensive dental work such as bridges, you may not be suitable for orthodontic treatment because your remaining natural teeth may not be strong enough to withstand the pressure of the braces.

If your teeth and gums are healthy and strong, orthodontic treatment could help to resolve the following problems:

  • Crowding – teeth move forward routinely over time
  • Overbite
  • Spacing – if you’ve had extractions in the past, your teeth may shift into available spaces. Additionally, braces can help minimise obvious extraction gaps

 

Some lucky people start off life with a perfect smile and find themselves needing orthodontic treatment later in life as their bodies change and the teeth shift forward. It is never too late to regain control. Make an appointment with an experienced orthodontist at iSmile Orthodontics today and begin your journey towards straight teeth and a perfect smile. If you’re concerned about aesthetics during the treatment, ask about our range of minimal brace options including Invisalignâ and ceramic braces. We look forward to hearing from you soon.