Learn how to care for braces and Invisalign at home.

Your assistance in properly maintaining your braces or aligners to prevent them from breaking and in continuing to practice good dental hygiene is critical while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Following this guide will help ensure you get the most out of your treatment.

The Basics: Keeping Your Teeth Clean

Whether your treatment uses braces or aligners, the best thing you can do for your teeth is to brush them thoroughly, frequently, and well. We recommend brushing your teeth after each meal and flossing at least once a day. Each time you brush, you should do so for a minimum of two minutes using the following method:

  • Brush the outside of your teeth. Start at the bottom and rub the toothbrush back and forth. When you get to the top, use a circular motion to brush the top teeth. Be sure to get all your teeth, including your molars. If you have braces, spend 25-30 seconds on each bracket.
  • Brush the inside of your teeth. Continue to use circular motions on the inside top and bottom of your teeth. Again, if you have braces, make sure you brush above and below the brackets.
  • Brush the crowns (chewing surfaces) of your teeth. Use both rubbing and circular motions.
  • Don’t just focus on your teeth! Brush and massage your gums, cheeks, and tongue, too.
  • Rinse and spit whenever necessary.
  • If your gums are bleeding, you are NOT brushing well.

Also, make sure to use the orthodontic kit we provide you. It should include a school brush, a Christmas tree brush, floss threaders, and wax.

Home Care for Your Aligners

Aligners must be worn for 22 hours a day. Aligners are only to be removed for eating, drinking, and brushing/flossing your teeth. Additionally, keep the following rules in mind as you wear your aligners:

  • Use the bite stick to set the trays for the first few days of a new tray.
  • Each tray will be worn for 7 to 10 days based on the treatment plan your doctor has prescribed.
  • Drink only water with Invisalign trays.
  • To avoid tray discoloration, avoid smoking and drinks that are colored or contain sugar.
  • Always brush your teeth before placing your aligners in.

Clean Your Aligners

Lightly brush trays with a toothbrush and toothpaste after each removal. Use cool water and be sure to rinse them well after each cleaning.

Placing and Removing Your Aligners

When placing the aligner, start with the front teeth, then proceed with the back teeth. Press gently until the aligner snaps into place. When removing the aligner, take off one side at a time. Start with the back first, then work around to the front. Use your two pointer fingers on the upper and your thumbs on the lower. Remember, do not remove from both sides at once.

Progressing to the Next Aligner

The standard recommendation is to wear each set of aligners based on the personalized treatment plan your orthodontist has laid out. When you have worn the aligners for a full week (no less) and your aligners fit more easily, you may move on to the next set of aligners.

DO NOT THROW YOUR ALIGNERS AWAY. In the event an aligner is lost or broken, you must maintain alignment while a new tray is provided. You should revert to the previous tray to prevent your teeth from slipping back into their old positioning.

You should change into new aligners before bed. The longer the new aligners are worn without interruption, the better.

Home Care for Your Braces

Maintaining proper dental hygiene during treatment is extremely important. If you’ve ever wondered if you can brush braces, the answer is yes! You should brush your teeth after every meal. The instructions above will help you keep your teeth and braces clean.

Flossing with Braces

When it comes to flossing, you should consider using special floss designed for people with braces (ask us about water flossers and special flossing tools).

If you’re using regular floss, these instructions should help:

  • Take at least 18 inches of floss, wrap it around the index finger of each hand, and wiggle it between the tooth space.
  • Use floss threaders to get around your wires and brackets.
  • Use a “C” shape instead of trying to floss in straight lines.
  • Rinse frequently. Water will help get any loose food particles out of your mouth.

If you have further questions about how to brush and floss with braces, be sure to ask at your next appointment.

Common Braces Issues

Broken Brackets

Your brackets may break within a couple of hours of getting your braces. This usually means the glue did not stick well. If this occurs, give us a call, and we will repair the bracket. If a bracket breaks after a week or so, it is usually the result of poor appliance care, such as eating sticky and/or hard foods. If you think something may break a bracket, it most likely will! Remember, don’t eat anything hard, sticky, or chewy.

Poking Wires

Depending on the situation, wires can sometimes pop out of brackets during the early stages of treatment. This is a result of soft and/or light wires which are easily bendable. If the end of a wire is poking out, use wax to cover the sharp end of the wire. If a wire pops out of the back bracket, there are several options:

  • Replace the wire into the tube using tweezers.
  • Cut the wire and give us a call.
  • Cover the wire with wax and give us a call.

If the braces are scratching, the use of wax will usually help, and the scratching will subside within a few days.

Soreness from Braces

Soreness and discomfort are normal during the realignment process, especially during the first 4 to 5 days. Remember to stick to a soft diet to reduce soreness. You can manage this with ibuprofen; just be sure to use the appropriate dosage as prescribed for body weight and age.

More Questions? Call Us!

We hope this page helped you understand how to care for your braces. If you have any further questions, the team at Adirondack Orthodontics would be happy to help. Call us at any time if you need help with aftercare for braces or aftercare for Invisalign.

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