Care & Use of Appliances
Please be sure to clean your bands and brackets as was explained to you in our office. Call our office if you have any irritations or loose or broken appliances.
Elastics move the teeth in a direction that cannot be accomplished with braces alone. Your teeth and jaws may be tender the first few days of wearing the elastics. This is normal and should begin to disappear within a week. If your soreness persists longer, please call our office. Attaching your elastics may seem hard initially. However, with a little time and patience, you will be able to accomplish your task easily. Elastic wear must be constant to be effective – 24 hours a day – 7 days a week, unless otherwise indicated. You may remove the elastics only when brushing your teeth. Be sure to replace the elastics with new ones immediately following mealtime and brushing. Part-time wear does NOT move teeth, but it does cause them to be constantly sore. Change the elastics routinely even if they are not broken. After a while, elastics lose their strength. Change them at least after each meal and before bedtime. If one elastic breaks, replace both sides. Carry extra elastics with you at all times. If you don’t have enough elastics to last until your next appointment, please stop by our office and pick more up or call us and we can send more to you. We don’t want you to run out. Elastic wear is an important key to the speed of your treatment and the final results we can achieve. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns. Good luck with your elastics!
This appliance is generally anchored to the patient's first molars with stainless steel crowns. Patients generally adjust to the Herbst in a few days with minimal soreness. The appliance may be advanced unilaterally or bilaterally and works well in skeletal midline asymmetry cases. Upper and lower archwire tubes are standard, allowing the orthodontist the option of using fixed mechanics (braces) during the therapy.
This appliance is generally anchored to the patient’s first molars with stainless steel crowns. The upper “elbows” may be removed, facilitating comfort and corrective adjustments. Patients generally adjust to the MARA in a few days with minimal soreness. The appliance may be advanced unilaterally or bilaterally and works well in skeletal midline asymmetry cases. Upper and lower archwire tubes are standard, allowing the orthodontist the option of using fixed mechanics (braces) during the therapy.
A Quad Helix is for patients whose upper back teeth, whether it be on one side or both sides, are narrower than the lower teeth (crossbite) or where one or more of the front teeth are biting inside of the lower teeth (underbite). This appliance is custom made for each patient. It gently helps widen the upper teeth so that they fit better with lower teeth. The Quad Helix is most often used for young patients who do not have all of their adult teeth. The Quad Helix is checked and expanded approximately once every six to eight weeks. After the expansion is complete, the Quad Helix will remain in the mouth until the expansion is stable. Patients may feel mild discomfort for a couple of days. The tongue and cheeks have to make adjustments to the new appliance. Speaking and eating will require patience and time getting used to your appliance. Avoid hard foods and sticky foods. You will be able to clean your teeth and Quad Helix with your regular toothbrush.
Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) is for patients whose upper jaw is too narrow. Your Rapid Palatal Expander gently widens the upper arch (palate) by stretching the center palatal connective suture. Once widened, the suture knits together. A parent or the patient adjusts the Rapid Palatal Expander daily as instructed, until the palate has been widened enough. Before the Rapid Palatal Expander feels comfortable, the patient may sense some initial pressure and expect:
- To feel a tingling or itch under the expander
- To feel a tingling sensation across the bridge of the nose
- To feel pressure in the cheek area
- To see a space appear between the upper two front teeth
- A hunger sensation
- Impaired speech, initially reading a book aloud will help
A special key is used to activate the Rapid Palatal Expander:
- Insert the key into the key slot; the key is bent, therefore it will not touch the roof of the mouth
- Push the key all the way from front to back. Look for the next hole to rotate forward enough so you will be able to place the key into the next hole to turn your Rapid Palatal Expander
- Remove the key towards the back of your mouth, do not pull it towards the front
Remember when brushing:
- Use a Proxy brush and a regular toothbrush
- Bush as you were instructed
- Use the palate cleaner given to you by Dr. Damas to clean under the expander
- The use of a waterpik is helpful to dislodge food particle that can become caught in the expander
Removing braces signals the start of the retention and observation period of your orthodontic care. Please remember that this part of your orthodontic treatment is just as important as the active movement phase in determining the ultimate success of your treatment. Once the teeth have been moved into their desired positions, a period of time is needed to stabilize the teeth so that the surrounding bone and soft tissue can conform to your new dental alignment. When braces are removed, it is a good time to review several important aspects of care. Patients in the retention phase are seen periodically in our office during the first year after braces are removed. Patients will continue to see Dr. Damas until he feels they can be dismissed from treatment. It is then the patient’s responsibility to wear a retainer as prescribed. Please call our office if you have any concerns regarding your retainer. Typically, a removable retainer is worn day and night for a period of 6 to 12 months, then only at night for several years. A bonded retainer may be used on the inside of the lower front teeth and in some cases on the inside of the upper front teeth. This bonded retainer will be worn indefinitely as long as there are no problems with oral hygiene. If a decision to remove your bonded retainer is made, a removable retainer may be fabricated and will be worn while sleeping. For lasting success from orthodontic treatment:
- Wear your retainer as prescribed.
- Don’t let your retainer get bent or otherwise damaged.
- Call for a repair appointment if your retainer is damaged or loosened.
- Keep your retainer clean, brush it regularly.
- Keep your retainer in its case when not being worn.
- Be committed to maintaining your beautiful smile.
Separators are usually placed between the molars one week prior to fitting braces. The separators may cause slight discomfort for a few hours. They gently wedge the back teeth apart to make it easier to cement the back bands. Do not eat any sticky foods or remove the separators. If one becomes loose and falls out, please call our office.