Having braces does not require highly noticeable metal brackets and wires. In fact, many of today's braces are made from either clear or natural tooth colored materials to provide patients with an attractive, less noticeable alternative to traditional braces.
What are the advantages of clear braces?
As with any orthodontic treatment, it is important to choose the right option for your needs and lifestyle. Clear braces are a great alternative to traditional metal braces, and Dr. Groves will help you determine whether they are the right treatment for you.
Advantages to clear braces:
- Appearance: Clear braces are much less noticeable than traditional metal braces. Clear braces offer an aesthetic alternative for patients seeking options other than traditional metal braces.
- Confidence: Many patients who choose clear braces feel more confident about their orthodontic treatment, especially knowing that people are focusing on their smiles rather than their braces.
Do clear braces cost more?
No, not at Groves Orthodontics! Dr. Groves wants his patients to have choices that are not driven by cost. We want your orthodontic experience to be exceptional, with every patient having aesthetic options, free from added expenses.
Types of Treatment
Clear braces are made of tooth colored material and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces.
Traditional metal braces are more comfortable today than ever before. Some patients like to use colored elastics for a more unique and colorful smile.
Invisalign® is a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable aligners that straighten your teeth like braces. Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable so you can eat and drink whatever you want while in treatment, and brushing and flossing are less of a hassle.
Types of Appliances
The palatal expander "expands" (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Dr. Groves will instruct you about how and when to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Wearing elastics (or rubber bands) improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth. Wear rubber bands as instructed, and remember that the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they are worn as prescribed.
Carriere® Distalizer™ Appliance
The Carriere® Distalizer is an orthodontic device developed to correct a bite without removing permanent teeth when teeth have erupted incorrectly. With an effect similar to a headgear, but without the use of a bulky appliance, the Carriere® Distalizer pushes upper teeth back to create a corrected bite prior to the addition of braces.
The Herbst® appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. This fixed appliance is used mostly for younger, growing children and is worn for about 12-15 months.
Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment.
Separators or Spacers
Separators are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss.
Life with Braces
Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It is important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.
Eating with Braces
Do not worry, you'll be eating popcorn and snacking on chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
- Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
- Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
- Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Foods you CAN eat with braces:
- Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
- Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
- Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
- Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
- Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
Soreness Caused from Braces and Appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever!
It is not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, do not worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.
Loose Wires and Bands
The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.
You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.
Take Care of your Appliances
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber band, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by Dr. Groves.
Playing Sports with Braces
Game, Set, Match — we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment. If you do play sports, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance.
In the event of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and appliance for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office.
- Wear your retainer as instructed by Dr. Groves.
- Take your retainer out when eating and always put it back in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
- Clean the retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
- When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
- Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
- Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
- Remove your retainer when you go swimming.
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.
True orthodontic emergencies are rare, but when they occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call our office when you experience severe pain or have a painful appliance problem you can't take care of yourself. We will schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to solve many problems yourself until you can get to our office. If there is something loose that you can remove, put it in a plastic bag or envelope and bring it with you to your next appointment. If your braces are poking you, put soft wax on the area.
After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in lengthening your treatment time.
When your appliances are initially placed, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Stay on a soft diet until your teeth do not hurt when chewing. If the tenderness is severe, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.
The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We will show you how!
If your brace or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. Please call our office for an appointment to repair the loose brace.
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.