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Here is some general information about orthodontic braces and retainers that we hope you’ll find useful.

Fixed Braces

Fixed metal braces today are unobtrusive and comfortable to wear. They can achieve excellent alignment of teeth in relatively short periods of time. They are a very reliable way to improve your smile.

When your brace first goes on

The new brace will take a few days to get used to. You may experience a little discomfort during this time. This is quite normal and you can take some painkillers if you feel it necessary. We also recommend you purchase an Orthodontic Pack at reception, which is full of useful accessories to help you look after your brace.

What can I do if it rubs?

While your mouth is getting used to the brace it may irritate the lips or cheeks. In the care pack we’ll give you you’ll find a special gel to use. There is also wax in the pack and this can be used to cover any parts of the brace that are rubbing.

What foods should I avoid?

Don’t eat anything hard or sticky. Avoid sweets, chocolate, crisps, nuts, toffees, chewing gum, i.e. anything that may loosen or damage the brace. Please don’t eat crusty bread. All fizzy drinks must also be avoided since they can cause permanent damage to your teeth. Don’t bite your nails or pens and pencils.

Oral hygiene

Keep teeth, gums and braces really clean. Teeth move faster with clean braces. Brush your teeth regularly with a fluoride toothpaste, after every meal. Take a tooth brush and toothpaste with you to school, college or work, so that you get in the habit of brushing your teeth after lunch. Avoid snacking between meals.

Use a small interdental brush to access all areas missed by your large headed toothbrush. Disclosing tablets can help you clean properly too. Watch our Brace Care Videos to see how this is done.

Never smoke, it can permanently damage your gums.

Keeping appointments

Please don’t miss appointments as your treatment will go slower. Try to arrive on time. If you’re late everybody after you is kept waiting.

What if I have a problem with my brace?

If something goes wrong, phone us immediately for advice on 01992 560 456. Remember, a broken brace won’t straighten your teeth.

Removable Braces

Removable braces can be both simple appliances which carry out small tooth adjustments and also more complex appliances which correct various jaw position problems at a young age. Removable appliances are often worn as part of a longer orthodontic treatment plan.

Why does it feel strange at the beginning?

It is usual for your appliance to feel strange for the first few days. You will find that you speak with a lisp and that your mouth waters a little more than usual. Your speech will only return to normal if the appliance is worn continually. Some parts of your mouth may feel sore at first, but placing soft wax over irritating parts of the appliance will help. It is normal for your teeth to ache for a few days after the appliance has been adjusted.

When do I wear my removable brace?

Your appliance is removable but you must wear it all the time in order for it to work correctly. It should only be taken out to be cleaned You should wear your appliance when eating. Initially you may experience a little difficulty but this will pass after a few days. You must avoid sticky toffees and chewing gum etc., which are not only bad for your teeth but can easily damage the appliance.

How do I clean my removable brace?

Retainer Brite is an effective cleaner for all removable appliances. Before placing it back in your mouth, make sure your teeth are carefully brushed. Regular check-ups should be maintained with your usual dentist.

Looking after my removable brace

It is important that you do not play with your appliance; for example by clicking it in and out with your tongue. This will distort the appliance and break the metal parts.

What if I lose it?

Orthodontic appliances are very expensive to make and repair and a lost appliance may result in treatment being discontinued. If an appliance is replaced, the current NHS cost is about £80. If you have any problems please telephone the Practice on 01992 560 456.

Twin Blocks
Why have you put these lumps of plastic in my mouth?

They are called Twin Blocks and have been made specially for you. The aim is to encourage your lower jaw to come forward a little to improve your bite and your profile.

So how do they work?

When you bite in the forward position, you can feel the muscles stretching. The force of the muscles gently moves the teeth in a natural way.

Okay, I’ll take your word for it. When can I take them out?

You should wear them all the time, especially for eating. Just take them out for cleaning with your toothbrush or use ‘Retainer Brite’.

But what if they hurt?

They usually ache at first. Take a painkiller if you feel you need to while you get used to the twin blocks. If they are rubbing painfully somewhere, get on the phone fast. Don’t leave them out, get them adjusted!

What if I lose them or break them?

If they are left out they will lose their fit very quickly. If you break them or lose them and it’s your fault, the NHS replacement charge is about £140 for new ones.

Why have I been given retainers?

When the braces are removed, your teeth immediately start to move back to their original position.

When do I wear them?

Initially day and night 24/7, or in some cases just at night. Your orthodontist will advise you on this.

When can I take them out?

Take them out for eating and hot drinks or they will become damaged or distorted. But put them straight back in afterwards. If they are left out the teeth will move.

How do I clean them?

Regular toothbrush and water. Please do not use toothpaste or hot water as this will warp them. We recommend “Retainer Brite” as an effective cleaning agent.

What if I don’t wear my retainers?

If these retainer instructions are not followed, the teeth may move too much for the retainers to fit and then the only way to straighten the teeth again is to put the braces back on! Re-treatments are generally not possible on the NHS and may only be available privately.

If the retainers have not been worn for a few nights and then feel a little tight when you put them in, this is because the teeth have moved a little. It is best, therefore, to wear them more often.

If the retainers do not feel tight, having been left out for a few nights, you can assume the teeth have hardly moved. In this case you could try reducing the number of nights they are worn. Keeping to a regular pattern, such as one specific night a week, will help you to remember to wear them.

If the retainers are lost or damaged

Contact the surgery immediately. There is a NHS charge of about £80 each for replacements. Dogs love to chew retainers so please keep them in a box.

When do I need to come back?

Every 3 to 6 months or if you have any problems.

How long do I have to wear retainers?

For as long as you want straight teeth! They never become completely stable but continued wear will keep tooth movement to a minimum.

Retention long term

Though we initially supervise your retention, we would like to explain how you can take over this responsibility and look after the retainers yourself, long term.

The important thing to remember is that teeth move continually throughout life, so the only way to ensure that they remain straight is to wear the retainers indefinitely. Some patients have more stable teeth than others, but it is quite easy for you to monitor your own progress.