Living With Ortho

Oral Hygiene

Orthodontic appliances tend to trap bits of food. Cavities or decalcification (permanent white lines or spots on the teeth) can occur if patients do not brush thoroughly.

Gum tissue inflammation or loss of supporting bone can occur if plaque is not removed on a daily basis – slowing tooth movement. Alternatively, teeth respond more quickly to orthodontic forces if gum tissues are kept healthy. Please remember to maintain regular check-ups and cleanings with your family dentist during – and after – orthodontic treatment.


Always remember to brush after eating. If you cannot brush right away, rinse your mouth with water until you are able to brush. We recommend that you:

  • Brush at least 2 times per day
  • Floss daily
  • Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash

This will help keep your gum tissue and teeth healthy.


It is normal for your teeth to feel sore for a few days to a week while you are adjusting to your new braces. You may take an anti-inflammatory (Ibuprofen) as needed to help you adjust. Softer foods that are cut into small pieces will be the easiest to eat. Use the wax provided to cover any sharp surfaces and protect any irritated tissue against rubbing. Please contact our office should anything become bent, loose, breaks or lost.

Parts of Braces

Alastics are tiny rubber rings that fit around ‘fingers’ on the bracket. The Alastics hold the wire into the slot on each bracket. Alastics can be colored, silver or clear to match your brackets and are changed at each archwire adjustment appointment.

The main wires, referred to as the archwire, are fitted for the upper jaw and lower jaw. Some of the wires we use have a memory. They can be bent and twisted by your orthodontist to fit into the slot on the bracket. Over a period of time (6-10 weeks), as the wires return to their memory position, pressure moves the teeth along with it. Archwires progress from appointment to appointment and the next wire may be thicker and stronger, giving more pressure and moving teeth from where the last wire left off in movement. This gives the feeling of a ‘tightening’.

Rings of metal, which fit around the molars. The bands are custom fit to each patient and selected from a range of sizes, in order to find the tightest fitting band. The bands are sealed in position using dental cement that contains fluoride to prevent any decalcification during treatment.

The brackets may be glued (bonded) directly to each tooth or to a band. They hold the archwire against each tooth. The archwire fits into a slot on each bracket to hold it in place.

The coil spring slides over the archwire and fits between brackets. It is used to push two brackets apart, therefore creating space between two teeth in the same jaw.

Elastics are used to assist the archwire in closing spaces and bringing the upper jaw and lower jaw tight together. They are fitted by hooking onto a bracket hook in the upper jaw then stretched to fit onto a bracket hook in the lower jaw.

Forsus Springs are springs that are fitted on both the left and right side of the jaws. They connect the upper back molar to a lower side archwire, and are used to push the upper molars in a ‘backward’ movement.

Hooks are small attachments on selected brackets, upper or lower, used to attach elastics (rubber bands).

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