With Braces | Orthodontist in Louisville, KY | Mattingly & Howell Orthodontics

Living with braces

Living with braces can be easy, as long as you commit to being careful during your orthodontic treatment.

Oral hygiene

You already know that maintaining good oral hygiene is important for everyone — but when you're having orthodontic treatment, it's even more critical. While the appliances (such as braces or clear aligners) you wear during treatment are very effective in correcting misaligned teeth, they can also trap food particles easily. 

Living with braces

Brushing your teeth with
braces

  1. Use a dry brush with a small amount of
    toothpaste. Place bristles where gums and
    teeth meet.
  2. Use circular, vibrating motions around the gum lines, 10 seconds on each tooth.
  3. Brush slowly, each arch separately.
  4. Brush the lower teeth up and the upper teeth down.
  5. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth too!

IMPORTANT: Use tooth brush with soft bristles only.

Living with braces

Flossing your teeth with braces

  1. Carefully pull unwaxed floss between wire and braces. A floss threader is highly recommended.
  2. Floss carefully around the braces.
  3. Floss carefully around the gum area.
  4. Floss carefully around each tooth.

TIP: Special brushes can be used for hard-to-clean places.

Living with braces

Foods to avoid

A careful orthodontic patient can probably eat almost any food and do no damage to his or her braces. However, these types of food may cause trouble, as may other foods. Use common sense, or if you are in doubt, ask us about a particular food you enjoy eating.

Avoid eating

  • Hard foods may do damage by bending wires, loosening cement under the bands or breaking brackets and tubes attached.
  • Sticky and/or chewy foods damage braces by bending wires and pulling cement loose.
  • Food high in sugar content should be avoided whenever possible. If you eat any of them, brush your teeth immediately. If it's not convenient to brush, always rinse your mouth with clear water after eating very sweet food such as cake or pie.

*Always be sure to check with your doctor if you have any questions about what foods to eat.

Living with braces

Orthodontic emergencies

Orthodontic treatment is relatively pain free. You may experience some discomfort at certain times throughout treatment, usually when your braces have been tightened or you have been issued with a new set of Invisalign aligners, but this can usually be treated with over-the-counter pain relief.

However, true orthodontic emergencies can occur, although they are very rare. There are only a few true orthodontic (or dental) emergencies. They include:

  • Trauma or injury to the teeth, face or mouth
  • Infection or swelling of the gums, mouth or face
  • Severe, unmanageable discomfort or pain in these areas

In any of these situations, you should seek help as soon as possible — go to an emergency room, if that's your best option. Generally, however, the place to start is with your regular dentist. 

Living with braces

Minor orthodontic issues

If you suffer from any of the following problems with your braces, these solutions may help you to temporarily relieve the discomfort.

  • Loose band or bracket
    The seal created by the cement (glue) has been broken. Call our office and schedule an appointment. If band and bracket detaches from wire, save it and bring it with you to your next appointment. 
  • Poking wire
    Often referred to as a ‘sticker,’ a poking wire is the term for a wire that sticks out and causes irritation. Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or, after drying it with a napkin, place orthodontic wax on it to alleviate discomfort. 
  • Broken archwire or headgear, lost ligature or hook
    These problems could cause the teeth to shift in the wrong direction and must be corrected as soon as possible. Call our office to schedule an appointment. 

Living with braces

  • Loose appliance
    If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the affected part of your appliance. 
  • General soreness
    When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender when biting for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. If the tenderness is severe, take Advil or Tylenol as directed.

    The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how. 

Call us

If any of the above issues happen to your braces, call and book a consultation with us – even if you manage to fix the problem yourself. It's important for our specialists to check that your braces are still working as they should.

Living with braces

2317 Stony Brook Dr.
Louisville
KY, 40220

502-895-3473 Directions & Opening Times

7206 Dixie Highway
Louisville
KY, 40258

502-933-2323 Directions & Opening Times

313 Guthrie St.
Louisville
KY, 40202

502-890-6508 Directions & Opening Times

208 N. Second St.
Bardstown
KY, 40004

502-349-6300 Directions & Opening Times

219 W. Main St.
Lebanon
KY, 40033

270-984-8515 Directions & Opening Times