Treatment Instructions | Orthodontic Arts
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Treatment Instructions

What is an expander?

Your new appliance is called a Palatal Expander. It is designed to widen your upper jaw (maxilla). This widening may be necessary to correct a cross-bite or to create enough space for your teeth.

What does my expander do?

The upper jaw is made up of two bones, right and left, separated by a suture down the middle of the palate. This suture is pliable in children and allows the upper jaw to widen.

How often should I turn my expander?

The amount of expansion required is different for every person. Your doctor will customize the amount of expansion that is best for you. Typically, it will take 2 to 3 weeks of turning the expander 2 or 3 times per day to achieve optimal results. It is important that you follow the doctor’s instructions and if you have any questions, please call the office.

What should I expect after I turn my expander?

Patients usually experience some pressure or tenderness near the bridge of the nose and out toward the cheekbones. This is very normal. Tylenol or Advil may be helpful for this. You will most likely notice a space developing between the upper front teeth. This also is normal and is a good sign that the palatal bones are widening. Some people only experience a small space, while others notice a significant space. Do not be alarmed. Once you have completed your expansion, the space will begin closing naturally.

What should I do if I miss my next appointment?

If you should have to change your first appointment after receiving your expander, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you STOP turning your expander. This will help prevent the chance that the upper jaw is widened too much. IF YOU SHOULD MISS YOUR NEXT APPOINTMENT, PLEASE STOP TURNING ON THAT DATE.

How long will I wear the expander?

Typically the expander is left in place for 4 to 6 months after adequate expansion is achieved. This allows the expander suture to fill in with bone and decreases the chance that the upper jaw will lose some of its expansion. Be sure to keep your expander very clean and avoid hard or sticky foods. Long, stringy foods such as spaghetti or roast beef will need to be cut into shorter lengths.

Stretched bands. Straightened teeth.
What do intraoral elastics do?

Elastic bands are attached to braces or Invisalign® to move teeth in a specific, planned direction.

How often should I wear the elastic bands?

Elastics are most effective when worn full time, 24 hours a day, unless otherwise instructed. We will provide you with the size of elastic bands and placement instructions best for your unique dental needs.

Do intraoral elastics hurt?

Wearing elastic bands may make your teeth feel sore, but the discomfort should resolve in a few days. Remember, you should wear your bands all the time, even when eating. If this isn't possible, replace your bands with new bands as soon as possible.

What else do I need to know?

Follow your doctor's instructions. Never switch the sizes of your bands or wear more than you are instructed to wear, as this could cause your teeth to move the wrong way. Always plan ahead: Take extra elastics to school, work or on vacation. If you run out of elastics before your next appointment, call our office, and we will mail you more. If your braces or Invisalign break or become loose from the elastics, make an appointment immediately.

You're almost to the finish line.
What do finishing elastics do?

Elastics have been placed on your braces to bring your teeth together into their final position. These elastics are to be worn as instructed. Your teeth will be sore for a few days until your teeth get used to the elastics. Similar to when a wire is changed and the braces are adjusted.

If the elastics are worn as instructed, then your teeth should be together and the braces can be removed.

It takes 10 hours to get teeth moving with elastics. If the elastics are off as little as 30 minutes, it will take 10 hours to start the progress again. It’s very important to have continuous elastic wear.

It is ok to eat with rubber bands on.
If you take the rubber bands off, put them back on as soon as you have finished eating.

Do finishing elastics hurt?

Your teeth may be sore for a few days after you get the finishing elastics placed, but this discomfort should subside after this time.

PLEASE CONTACT OUR OFFICE IF: 

You have any problems placing your elastics
You have problems wearing them all the time
Have noticed spacing
Something doesn’t look right

We want to remove your braces for you as soon as possible. Proper wearing of your elastics will allow us to remove your braces sooner.

Maintain your beautiful, healthy smile and prevent the return of misalignment.
What does my retainer do?

After your braces come off, your retainer helps keep your teeth in their correct positions. The bone surrounding the teeth is new and softer around you straight teeth. The retainer will hold teeth straight as the bone strengthens.

How often should I wear my retainer?

For the first six months, you will wear your retainer 24 hours a day except while eating. After six months, you will wear your retainer while sleeping. Most patients will wear their retainers no less than five nights a week indefinitely.

How should I care for my retainer?

Brush your retainer with toothpaste when you brush your teeth or use denture cleaners. Always use cold water to clean your retainer; do not expose your retainer to heat. Never Microwave or boil your retainer. Store your retainer in its proper case when you're not wearing it.

The area we have treated by laser for removal of excess gum tissue or heavy frenum attachment will appear yellow around the borders for two to three days.  This is the normal margin of where the laser removed the tissue. 

There may be a slight amount of bleeding in this area. 

The area will be sensitive to touch and feel similar to an area such as a surface burn from a hot piece of pizza. If you are experiencing pain, the use of Aleve, Tylenol, or Advil will usually be successful in controlling the discomfort.

You have been given a Vitamin E capsule to apply to the lasered area. This acts as a barrier and also aids healing. Poke a small hole in the end of the capsule and squeeze onto a q-tip to apply. Apply for the next few days as needed.

CLEANING:

It is very important to keep the area as clean as possible. Plaque or food on the teeth around the margins will increase irritation and inflammation and interfere with the healing process. Place your brush under running hot water to soften the bristles to allow for gentle brushing. Brush in small circular motions as close to the margin as you can tolerate comfortably. The use of a toothpick or perio-aid will also help clean around the edges.

AVOID ALL HARD, STICKY, GOOEY, & CHEWY FOODS SUCH AS:

ICE
HARD PIZZA CRUST
HARD PRETZELS
BAGELS
DORITOS, TOSTITOS, CHEETOS, FRITOS, TACO SHELLS
CARAMELS, HARD CANDY
BUBBLE GUM, SUCKERS
BEEF JERKY, NUTS
RIBS
POPCORN
RAW CARROTS
CHEWING ON PENS, PENCILS
SODAS, SPORTS DRINKS & FRUIT JUICES.
These drinks are both a source of sugar causing decay and very acidic - breaking down and dissolving the enamel surface

Eating these foods will loosen the braces, but you may not discover the problem until hours or days later... Surprise! Loose bands, broken wires and detached brackets cause a longer treatment time.

EXAMPLES OF SOME GOOD CHOICES WITH BRACES:

BANANAS
SLICED APPLES
SOFT CRUST PIZZA
THIN CHIPS SUCH AS PRINGLES
ICE CREAM OR SORBET
YOGURT
SOFTER NUTS SUCH AS CASHEWS, PECANS & WALNUTS
SOFT CHEESES
PASTA OR NOODLES
SUGARFREE GUM
SOFT ICE (SONIC)
SHREDDED CHICKEN
GRILLED CHEESE

Developing the habit of eating these types of foods will assure your treatment goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible.  If you have questions about appropriate food choices, please ask!

$100: Get a cleaning with your dentist
$100: Refer a new patient
$50: Give Orthodontic Arts a 5 star Google Review
$50: Take a picture with your Orthodontic Arts t-shirt and post it on social media
$50: Participate in a community service
$50: Show us how smart you are with straight A’s your report card
$50: Check into our office or tag us in a picture on social media
$10: Keep and arrive to your appointments on time
$10: Cooperation with wearing your rubber bands
$10: No loose brackets
$10: Wear your Orthodontic Arts t-shirt to your appointment
$10: Grade A on brushing and keeping your gums healthy

The separators placed today between your teeth will create space for bands or your appliance to be inserted next week.

  • Your teeth may get sore today or tomorrow
  • Warm saltwater rinses will help ease the soreness. (1 tsp of salt in a 8 oz. glass of warm water)
  • You may take Acetaminophen, Aleve, or Advil
  • Preparing softer foods that require less chewing pressure will make eating more manageable
  • Avoid eating anything hard or sticky that will make your separators come out
  • Brush normally
  • Do not floss between the teeth where the separators are located.

LOST SEPARATOR:  Please contact our office to schedule a time to replace any lost separators at least three days prior to your scheduled banding appointment.

Both cavities and gum disease are caused by the slimy film called plaque, which accumulates on the teeth and gums. Plaque is made of millions of germs called bacteria. The plaque must be removed every day to prevent cavities and white etching lines from developing around your braces. Also, acidic drinks, like sodas, greatly increase the chances of etching of the enamel surface.

Please read carefully the following recommendations to prevent cavities and enamel etching.

  • Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day.
    You must brush in the morning and before bed, but preferably brush after every meal.
  • We recommend a soft-bristle brush such as Oral-B.
    If you have a Sonicare or electric toothbrush, you can alternate with the electric toothbrush to get the hard to reach areas. Brushing first with water will allow better visibility, then add toothpaste for a fresher feel. Proper brushing should take 3-5 minutes, so don’t rush it! Always start on the upper left and work to the upper right, then the lower right and work to the lower left. The goal is to not miss any areas, so establish a pattern. Clean only 2 to 3 teeth at a time.
  • Place the bristles on the tooth between the braces and gums.
    Concentrate on cleaning the edges of the gums.
    This is the most important area to keep clean so you can avoid cavities and puffy gums.
  • Strong brushing pressures are necessary to properly clean the teeth around the braces.
    After cleaning the teeth, force the bristles of the brush between the wire and the braces. With a scrubbing motion, clean under the wire 1 to 2 teeth at a time.
    Now, thoroughly brush the chewing surfaces and tongue side of each tooth.
  • Brush your tongue!
    The plaque also collects on your tongue and is the major cause of bad breath.
    Brushing your tongue will give you fresher breath.
  • Flossing will remove the plaque that accumulates between your teeth.
    This takes considerable time and we want you first to master proper brushing. 
    Please ask us and we will show you how to floss when you are ready.
  • Before bed and after thorough brushing, you may use a fluoride rinse such as Fluorogard or ACT.
  • See your family dentist for regular check-ups.
    During your treatment, we recommend 4-month intervals for cleanings, but your dentist will discuss with you what he or she feels is best.
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