Your questions answered
Our team at Battersea Orthodontic Practice will be happy to answer any questions you have at your initial consultation and throughout the duration of your treatment but you may find some answers to your questions here.
Will it be painful?
It is likely to be uncomfortable for about 3 - 5 days each time after the brace is adjusted. If necessary, painkillers such as the ones you would normally take for a headache may help (please read the instructions on the packet). If there is an obvious area of soreness as a result of the brace, ring for an appointment as soon as is reasonably possible. If the brace is removable do not stop wearing the brace or else you will have to go through the 3 - 5 days of discomfort all over again when you start wearing it once more.
How else might the brace affect me?
Your speech will be different. Practice speaking with the brace in place e.g. read out aloud at home on your own, and in this way your speech will return to normal within a couple of days. You may also find yourself swallowing a lot to begin with. This is quite normal and will quickly pass.
Can I eat normally? (Fixed appliance – train tracks)
Yes you should be able to eat normally. Although it may be difficult at first, eating with the brace in place will become easier with time. For your orthodontic treatment to work well and in the shortest possible time it is important you take care of your teeth and brace. In order to avoid damage to both, you should:
Can I eat normally? (Removable appliance)
You will not be able to eat with your functional appliance in place. You will be advised about this. If you have been told to take it out for eating, make sure it is placed in a tough plastic box for safekeeping. A suitable box will be recommended to you. For your orthodontic treatment to work well and in the shortest possible time it is important you take care of your teeth and brace. In order to prevent damage to both, you should
What about toothbrushing?
It is important you brush well three times per day and use fluoride toothpaste. If possible carry a brush with you for use after lunch. You should also gently brush the brace, taking care not to damage the wires. A daily fluoride mouthrinse should also be used last thing at night, after toothbrushing. Failure to keep your teeth and brace clean will lead to permanent scarring of your teeth.
Can I remove the brace?
Yes but you should only remove it for eating, cleaning and sports. Do not repeatedly click the brace in and out with your tongue as this will break the wires and increase the length of time the treatment will take.
How long will treatment take?
It usually takes 9 - 24 months but will vary according to how severe your case is. Failed and cancelled appointments or repeated breakages of the brace will increase the length of time the treatment will take.
How often will I need an appointment?
You will need regular appointments during treatment for the brace to be adjusted, these appointments are usually between 6-12 weeks.
Do I still need to see my regular dentist?
Yes. It will be important you still have check-ups with your regular dentist throughout orthodontic treatment so that your teeth can be checked for decay.
What do I do if I play contact sports?
You should wear a gumshield/orthoguard (do not wear your removable appliance) when you play contact sports. This will also be the case if you enjoy riding a bicycle, roller-skating or skateboarding. You will be advised about this. When not in your mouth the brace should be in a protective box.
What if I play a musical instrument?
If you play a wind instrument, particularly the flute or a brass instrument, then you may be advised to remove the brace whilst playing. However, when the brace is not in your mouth it should be kept in a sturdy plastic box to prevent breakage.
What do I do if my brace breaks?
Ring up for an appointment as soon as is reasonably possible. Do not wait for your next routine appointment as the breakage may slow your treatment, or may result in damage to your teeth. If you repeatedly break your brace treatment may be stopped.
Will I need to wear another brace once my treatment has finished?
Once the active phase of your treatment has been finished, it will be necessary to wear a retaining brace. This may be removable or it may be fixed behind your front teeth. The length of time this has to be worn can vary.
Is an electric tooth brush better?
Using an electric toothbrush can be fun, but it will only work well if you use it properly. It is not a magic wand! Use the type of brush that works best for you.
Why should I avoid sugary foods and drinks between meals?
Every time you eat or drink something sugary, the bacteria in your mouth will produce acid. Acid attacks can last for up to an hour after eating or drinking. The more often you eat or drink something sugary, the more likely you are to cause tooth decay. Try to cut down the number of times you have sugary foods or drinks by keeping these to mealtimes. Avoid sugary snacks like cakes, sweets and biscuits between meals. Avoid sugary drinks like fruit squashes, natural fruit juices and milk shakes between meals.
What about acidic foods?
Fruit such as oranges and lemons also contain acids, which can dissolve your teeth if you eat a large amount every day.
Why are fizzy and acidic drinks bad for my teeth?
Fruit juices, sports drinks and fizzy drinks (even sugar-free ones) contain acids. These acids can dissolve the outer surface of the teeth (enamel). This is called erosion. The teeth become thinner and are more likely to chip. They may also become sensitive. The more often you drink fizzy or acidic drinks, the more likely you are to damage your teeth. So cut down on fizzy and acidic drinks.
What can I drink between meals?
Sugar free or low sugar foods are best. Suggestions include bread, cheese sandwiches, vegetables, nuts or fruit.
What else can I do to keep my teeth healthy?
Use dental floss or an interdental brush each day to remove plaque from between the teeth.
Can smoking and drinking alcohol affect my teeth and gums?
Smoking causes tooth staining, bad breath, gum disease, tooth loss and mouth cancer. Some alcoholic drinks are acidic and very sugary, also some mixer drinks contain acid, so these drinks can cause tooth decay or erosion if they are consumed often in large amounts.
What to do if I was referred to hospital?
Please follow the link here to see more information regarding hospital referrals.