The month of October is the Orthodontic Health Month and we have one of our assistants, Lorena to talk about orthodontic appliances and the sets of appliances we use – which can be braces, rapid palatal expanders, a Herbst supply or any other permanent appliance that is placed in your mouth for the duration of your orthodontic treatment. We also follow a couple of steps for aligners, Invisaligner and clear aligners but most of these have to do with the prepping for your appliance so that it stays there permanently.
How do we make sure you’re comfortable?
A lot of people might come across an orthodontic treatment with fear but we try out best to answer any questions you might have and make the treatment more comfortable.
When you come back and see us, you may have already taken your records, which includes impression and x-ray scans. Before you get started on your treatment, assistants like Lorena will sit down and ask you about any questions you might have. Common questions include whether the process is going to hurt and how long the treatment may take. The length of the treatment depends on the type of appliance that you are getting, and thus can range from an hour to an hour and a half. You will also not be sitting for the entire duration of the period – we won’t hold you for that long.
What are the first steps of the treatment?
We usually get started by prepping the teeth first which takes about 20 minutes to get done. This includes cleaning and preparing your teeth for Dr. Jason to come and see it. From then on, Dr. Jason takes measurements of the appliance and the brackets as well as see where he wants them put in. Afterwards, we use a cool glue and blue UV light that will get your appliance on.
How we comfort you during your treatment
The process of cleaning up and prepping your teeth might be uncomfortable as we use dental retractors. These are those retractors you use when playing the game where the retractor is placed inside your mouth and you have to guess a word that another person is mouthing. Since the prepping process takes about 15-20 minutes with the retractor on and you wouldn’t see what’s going on. You are also not used to holding your mouth open for that long and therefore, it will become uncomfortable as well. For this, Lorena likes to show you what they are going to do and talk with you throughout the procedure so that you are not scared and completely aware of what’s going to happen. This works according to our personal philosophy of ‘show and tell’.
The time of the procedure does go quickly as well and after the prepping is done, you get a short break from your treatment.
What happens afterwards?
We then take you to our office to ask you if you’re okay. Here, you’ll also get the fun part of the treatment as you can choose your colors and wires that you want to set in. This usually takes about 5 minutes at maximum.
After this, we go over the instructions that you need to take care of your teeth after your treatment. This part requires your absolute attention as you need to know the actual technique to take care of your teeth at home because that’s what makes them look amazing. We show you different tutorial videos on how to brush your teeth because brushing varies when you have your appliances fitted in. We also show you different types of brushes other products to use to take care of your teeth.
The things you might need to use
We will give you a small bag with different toothbrushes and other products that you might need to take care of your teeth. You will get a regular sized toothbrush and a baby toothbrush, where the baby toothbrush might seem surprising to you at first. However, the head of the baby toothbrush is softer and its small size lets it cover any areas that are difficult to get to due to crowning. It also helps resolve issues of sore teeth, which is a normal complaint after getting your appliances fixed.
The travel sized toothbrush that we give you lets you take it to school. You should make sure to use it after having lunch so as to not have food stuck on your brace. You also get a proxy toothbrush, which is short for interproximal brush. Because of its tiny size and dispersed head that makes it look like a Christmas tree, the proxy toothbrush almost acts like a flosser and gets in between the teeth to remove any stuck food.
We also show you videos on flossing because the normal two-minute flossing will no longer apply to your dental hygiene. You need to take a lot of time to floss and constantly check your teeth on the mirror to ensure that you have removed everything that can be stuck on your brackets. We do give you different types of floss threads which you can slide underneath and over your brackets when flossing.
We also provide you with a wax that can be used when you feel your appliance bothering you. Everything might feel funny after you get your appliance in because your lips and teeth aren’t used to having the brackets in, and these brackets might constantly rub against your mouth as well. But, you do need to give time for your lips and teeth to adjust to the brackets which will take a couple days and therefore it is better to use the wax for limited periods. While we give you the wax you need after your treatment and during check-ups, you might also get these at Walmart.
The Clinic Pro 5000 is a specific toothpaste that we prescribe to you because it gives your teeth the extra protection it needs after getting braces. It is super important that you use it daily as you wouldn’t want any cavities and stains to appear on your teeth, something which this particular toothpaste is quite an expert in preventing.
How we help you after your treatment
If you do forget anything, feel free to call us and ask us for information. Other than that, we also send you home with a note that includes all the information you need to take care of your teeth after your orthodontic treatment. Parents need to make sure to put the sheet out somewhere that your kids can see, such as on the fridge, which will help remind them of their dental care routine. Remember that the more care you take of your teeth, the better your orthodontic outcome will be.
We also do schedule the next visit and tell you what you can expect from it. We want you to leave being comfortable and see you coming back as being comfortable too. The process of getting your appliances set in isn’t scary, despite being a tad lengthy and slightly uncomfortable. However, it does not hurt and in the case of any queries, we give you all the information you need as well as continuously check your dental hygiene to ensure that you are taking the best care of your teeth.