You should be prepared for the fact that taking care of your teeth will be more difficult once you get braces. Braces can easily trap food, and this trapped food causes plaque, which can lead to many other dental problems. Because of this, it's very important to brush your teeth after every meal and to floss at least once a day. This may seem tedious or tiring, but neglecting your oral hygiene can lead to serious oral health problems. The extra responsibility needed to care for braces properly is something that you should be prepared for.

How important is it to maintain proper oral hygiene?
Proper oral care isn't just about making your teeth look pretty. It's the key to avoiding common dental problems like gingivitis, tartar, and demineralization. Because thorough oral hygiene is more difficult with braces, braces wearers are more prone to these issues than non-braces wearers. These dental problems are unpleasant enough on their own, but if left untreated they can also turn into more serious oral health issues and can prolong your time in braces. In severe cases of gum disease or other oral health problems, the orthodontist may even have to remove your braces, wait for your gums and mouth to heal, and then reapply them.

Taking good care of your braces is essential for avoiding complications while they're on. No matter how much money, pain, and time you've already invested in your braces, proper oral care is still the key to walking away with a beautiful, healthy smile.

How to clean your braces?

What paste and mouthwash should I use?
Any fluoridated tooth paste will do the needful. Check for 1000 ppm of fluoride content in the tooth paste before you buy. Mouth wash is usually not advisable unless the patient is not able to maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing. If you should use any mouthwash, use Listerine Total, Parodontax Fluoride wash (In case of acid wearing of the tooth)

What can I eat?
People with braces should avoid hard, chewy, crunchy, and sticky foods. Avoiding foods you like may not be fun, but eating things that you're not supposed to eat can cause broken wires or brackets. These can not only be painful, but can actually prolong treatment. In other words, break the rules and you could be stuck with your braces for even longer.

Do not eat:

Caramel and chocolate bars
Very sticky or chunky peanut butter
Hard candies
Chewy candy and gummy bears

Use caution when eating:

Chewy bread such as bagels – tear into small pieces
Chips – eat them carefully and one at a time
Corn on the cob – cut off the cob
Apples and carrots – cut into small pieces
Soda and sugary drinks – avoid these whenever possible, as drinking too much can cause tooth decay
Finally, don't chew on any hard items such as ice, pens, pencils, or fingernails

Can I drink Aerated drinks?
It can usually cause enamel erosion and eventually discoloration of your teeth (White spot lesions).

Why do I need so many follow-ups?
Frequent follow-ups, or "adjustments," are needed to replace worn-out rubber bands, check on your teeth's progress, and make adjustments to the wires to make sure teeth are being pulled in the right direction. Skipping follow-ups can hinder progress, and may cause you to need braces for a longer period of time.

How often will I have follow-up visits? Most orthodontic patients need to visit every 4-6 weeks.

What will they do at follow-ups?
The dentist will always replace the elastic bands on each bracket and may also take out and replace the wire. Each adjustment should only take about 20 minutes.

Will it hurt?After the regular follow-ups most patients are sore for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. This feeling can be anything from a mild, unpleasant pressure to more significant pain. However, any discomfort shouldn't last very long.

How do I deal with pain?
To deal with any follow-up soreness, just return to a temporary "soft food" diet and the same pain management techniques that you used when you first got your braces. You would probably need Paracetamol if the pain is bit too much to handle.

What medicines can I take during the Orthodontic treatment?
It is always advisable not to take any medicines without proper approval from your Orthodontist as it can interfere with the tooth movement and can delay the treatment duration. Please inform your Orthodontist if you are on any medication for any illness.

How long do most people have braces?
Most patients wear braces for 1-3 years, so be prepared for a lot of follow-up visits. However, the length of time in braces can vary greatly for each person based on growth, the severity of the problem, and how well the patient takes care of their braces and keeps up their oral hygiene

Taking the braces off.
Removal of your braces is an important and time consuming procedure. You will be informed in prior about the procedure. Removal of braces would hurt a bit as the pressure is applied. Orthodontist will remove all the brackets, thoroughly scrape and clean all the adhesive off your teeth, and take a mold for your new retainer.

What's next after removal of braces?
Don't expect to be completely finished with the orthodontist once braces are removed- almost all patients need to wear a retainer after they get their braces off to hold the teeth in their new positions. Many orthodontists now recommend wearing retainers for years, and sometimes indefinitely, to prevent teeth from slowly shifting out of place.


How should I care for teeth afterwards?
Wait at least a month before any sort of bleaching or whitening treatment. This will give the newly exposed enamel time to become less sensitive. Your teeth and gums will be a bit sensitive at first. Don't immediately rush out and binge on crunchy and chewy previously forbidden foods. Schedule a dental cleaning – there are likely areas that have been neglected over the past couple of years (although paying close attention to your oral hygiene will have helped with this.)

Tips for dealing with your new retainer It will be difficult to speak at first, and you may have a lisp. If you practice speaking, reading aloud, or singing as much as you can, this should go away in a day or so. It may feel embarrassing, but it's the best way to get your mouth used to working around the plastic and wires. You may also find yourself drooling or dealing with extra saliva at first. This is normal and will go away after the first day or two. When taking your retainer out for a meal, do not leave it on a napkin! This is the most common way that retainers are lost because people accidentally throw them in the trash.

How frequently do I need to visit dentist after removal of braces?
Probably once in 3-4 months would be sufficient for check-ups.

Do I need a fixed retainer?
Yes, indeed every orthodontic patient would need a fixed permanent retainer for about 2 to 3 years. It would take care of your teeth when you are not wearing the removable retainer and also gives additional precaution in malocclusion not relapsing.

How do I clean my Removable retainer?
Simply use a brush and liquid soap or a denture cleansing tablets. You should clean every time you brush your teeth to avoid any growth of bacteria on it. 

Some FAQ during Orthodontic Treatment

How long does it take for braces?
Fixed braces - usually take between 12 and 24 months, but could take longer if the problem is severe. Removable braces - usually take less time than a fixed brace. However, you might need to wear a removable brace before and after you have finished your treatment with a fixed brace.

How many times a day do you have to brush your teeth with braces?
Swoosh the water around really well and spit the water out. If you can, carry a travel toothbrush with you. Brushing twice per day is important, but you should also clean between your teeth with floss at least once every day. After flossing, brush your teeth and braces thoroughly until they're clean and shiny.

How do you take care of braces?
It is best to brush after every meal and use a floss threader or special orthodontic floss (available at drug stores) at least once a day to clean between braces and under wires. Check your teeth in a mirror to make sure all food particles are gone.

Can you eat and drink when you have wax on your braces?
Dental wax is non-toxic, so it's ok if you swallow. It is still advisable to take off the wax before you eat and also before you brush your teeth, or else it will gunk up your toothbrush.