Dentist Talks: Retainers and Braces Advice for your Patients
As dentists, your patients’ welfare is always top priority. At the end of the day, you want them to have beautiful and healthy smiles.
Sometimes, however, they’re the ones who compromise their own dental health.
Take dental appliances (e.g. braces, rubber bands, retainers, and springs) for example. You tell them to be mindful with what they eat or brush after every meal. In the end, they come back with broken bands, missing springs, or less-than-functional retainers. As a result, it prolongs or delays their dental treatment.
For OrthoDenco, an orthodontic lab, high quality orthodontic appliances and retainers are important in the effectiveness of your patient’s treatment or procedure. Having them break the appliance repeatedly compromises their oral health, but constant reminders always go a long way. As their dentist, it’s your responsibility to never tire of reminding them of the following:
Flossing and Brushing
The basic form of dental hygiene can sometimes compromise appliances. With regards flossing and brushing braces, recommend the following procedure: insert the short end of the floss in the space between the upper part of the tooth nearest the gum and the main arch wire. Using a gentle sawing action, work the floss on the sides of the teeth where the floss is sandwiched. Avoid exerting too much force when pulling around the arch wire.
Encourage patients to brush with a soft regular toothbrush. Brush from the top going down, then from the bottom going up on every tooth with braces. They can also brush their teeth using a proxabrush (also known as Christmas tree brush), which is designed specifically to clean in-between braces.
Types of Food to Avoid When Wearing Braces
Braces never stopped patients from eating what they want. They are free to do so, but carelessness will result in chipped braces and broken wires. Never stop reminding them of the food they can or cannot consume. Remind them that some food loosen or damage their orthodontic appliances. Give them a list of foods to stay away from, which should include:
- Corn on the cob
- Chewy food like caramel or taffy
- Hard to bite food like bagels or apples
- Hard food like pretzels, nuts, carrots, and popcorn
The Right Way to Care for Retainers
Some patients are still clueless when it comes to proper retainer care. Remind them that the simple brush and go isn’t enough; instead they should practice this routine:
Brush your retainers each time you brush your teeth, but without toothpaste. Disinfect your retainer daily or at least once every week. Soak it in a type of denture cleanser like Polident, Efferdent, or other similar solutions. Add the solution to one cup of warm water, not hot. Rise the retainer well with plain water before putting it back into your mouth.
You want only the best for your patients, even in terms of appliance care. Offer them the suggestions above repeatedly, making sure they’ll never forget so you won’t have to encounter broken appliances again.