It’s back to school season, and although they may love school, we know it won’t be long before students start looking forward to the day they get out for their first holiday break.
We see similar anticipation here in our office when it comes to braces. If you were to ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky the most frequently asked question when patients begin treatment, he would say it’s this: “When do I get my braces off?”
Treatment length varies according to your specific teeth alignment and bite issues. As you anticipate the day your braces come off and your improved smile is revealed in all its glory, here are five things you can do regardless of your treatment needs that will help ensure treatment goes as smoothly and wraps up as quickly as possible.
1. Floss your teeth.
Besides removing bits of food that get lodged between teeth and appliances, flossing reduces gum inflammation. Additionally, it removes bacteria that live beneath the gums and interfere with the bone reformation process.
“If those toxins are in the midst of the bony system, they disrupt the bone remodeling process,” says Buffalo Grove orthodontist Dr. Razdolsky.
Successful orthodontic movement hinges on the bone remodeling process.
2. Brush your teeth.
Brushing after meals stimulates blood flow to carry away the byproducts of developing cells and to bring in new nutrients. This promotes overall oral health.
3. Maintain orthodontic adjustments at regular intervals.
In modern orthodontics, we try to use the lightest force we possibly can because the body responds better to lighter forces. People often think the greater the force applied in treatment, the faster the move. It’s just the opposite, Dr. Razdolsky says. You can’t deliver a small enough force to ensure the fastest movement. We use light nickel titanium arch wires for long-acting, low grade force that helps the bones and the ligaments remodel better as your teeth are shifted into proper alignment.
We schedule adjustments in six- to eight-week intervals so we can have the greatest amount of force and time to exert the most positive influence. Want your braces off on time? Keep your appointments.
4. Wear your elastic bands as prescribed.
If you consider the arch wires to be a track and the braces to be a train car, the elastics add extra force so we can move teeth along the track in a way that can improve the bite. Changing elastics a few times each day means that you maintain a reasonably even, low and light force so your teeth can move the way we want.
5. Drink water.
People often become dehydrated whether they realize it or not. If your body is dehydrated, your mouth is dehydrated. This promotes the overgrowth of bad bacteria, and that takes us back to our first tip about flossing regularly.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and realize you’ll need to drink even more if you play after-school sports or participate in other extracurricular activities.
When you’re properly hydrated, the lips and cheeks are properly lubricated by your saliva so they’re not irritated by your braces.
We hope you have found these tips helpful. We raise our glass (of water) to your speedy, successful orthodontic treatment!