Whether you’ve had orthodontic treatment or not, you’ve seen people wearing elastics or rubber bands as part of the process. But do you know what they’re used for? To help give you a better idea of why rubber bands are used with metal or clear braces, we’ll explain what they are, why they’re used, and how to take care of them during treatment.
What are Rubber Bands?
In short, rubber bands are used to help move your teeth along the archwire to aid in tooth movement for your particular treatment plan. There are many different ways to wear rubber bands and how long you wear them is determined by your orthodontist. Dr. Kevin Theroux and Dr. Brooks Barefoot at Total Orthodontics will instruct you on exactly how to wear your rubber bands and when and how often to change them based on your personalized treatment plan. Since your rubber bands lose their elasticity with use, patients are normally instructed to replace them at least once a day, especially after eating and brushing.
You’re in between meals and craving something sweet, but you just started orthodontic treatment and know that many of your favorite foods should now be avoided. Is there anything sweet you can eat? The short answer is yes! Dr. Kevin Theroux and Dr. Brooks and the staff at Total Orthodonticsare here to explain the truth about sugar and how to satisfy your sweet tooth without damaging your braces.
The Truth About Sugar
Sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay and is off-limits during orthodontic treatment to keep the teeth healthy and strong. Whether you’re in braces or not, it is important to note that candy made of lots of sugar should always be avoided, especially during orthodontic treatment. Failure to do so could mean more dental work after your braces come off.
There is a common misconception that the type of sugar that you consume makes a difference in the overall effect on the teeth. This idea is false – texture and concentration matter immensely. The stickier the candy the more minutes it sits on your teeth the more likely the teeth are to decay or decal off, causing permanent stains. If eating a high sugar content food, the faster they are cleaned off the teeth by saliva, water or a toothbrush, the less risk there is. Once braces are on, sugar has many places to hide and the longer it’s left to sit on the teeth and braces, the more damage it causes.
Getting braces doesn’t mean giving up the sports you love! Luckily, braces will not keep you from any sport or physical activity. However, the price you pay for a beautiful smile is taking a little extra care of your mouth while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Play Safe, Play All Season
In general, it is not uncommon for an athlete to experience injuries to the mouth and jaw area. Ever taken a soccer ball to the face? A fixed orthodontic appliance, such as braces, does increase your risk of oral injuries. Common oral injuries include lacerations to the cheeks, lips, and tongue, chipped or broken teeth, TMJ, and root fractures.
Have no fear, you can easily protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports by investing in a mouthguard. While it is suggested that braces patients invest in an orthodontic model, a basic mouthguard will provide more protection than nothing at all.
Anyone participating in a sport should wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth. This is especially important for anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment. Braces and wires can damage the mouth if you receive a ball to the face.
Many people ask whether it is necessary to invest in a custom-fit mouthguard or will an over-the-counter one work just as well. To help you make the best decision for your situation, Dr. Kevin Theroux and Dr. Brooks Barefoot at Total Orthodonticshave information about each mouthguard.
These mouthguards are the more affordable option and can be purchased at a local sports store. They are fitted using the “boil and bite” method. This method consists of boiling water at home and then biting into the warm mouthguard so that the plastic can mold to the shape of your teeth. In general, these mouthguards will cost you anywhere from $15 to $35.
When you think of braces, who do you picture wearing them? If you’re like most Americans, children and teens come to mind. If you’re unhappy with your smile, you probably think you missed your chance for straight teeth, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Thanks to advances in technology, orthodontic treatment for adults has become more common while producing excellent results. So much so, The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) found that one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 18.
With Age Comes New Changes
As we age, our bodies change. This is especially true for our teeth. For a variety of reasons, including injury, tooth loss, teeth grinding, loss of enamel, or natural growth, our teeth begin to shift towards the front of our mouths as we age. As a result, our teeth can become crooked and overcrowded. In some cases, patients may experience jaw pain or have difficulty properly cleaning their teeth.
Although diabetes has become a fairly common disease in recent years, it is still very serious and should be managed properly to avoid damaging effects to the body. These damaging effects include threats to your oral health that can greatly influence your orthodontic treatment.
Diabetes and Gum Disease
The connection between diabetes and periodontal disease is closer than most people think. Did you know that those with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease? For this reason, it is important for people with diabetes to understand its effects and practice good oral hygiene before, during and after orthodontic treatment.
Simply put, gum disease (periodontal disease) is an infection of the soft tissue that holds the teeth in place. It is caused by a buildup of bacteria not removed with regular brushing and flossing. While diabetes can increase the chances of getting gum disease, it can also be affected by gum disease itself. Gum disease in those with diabetes raise their risk for developing things like kidney disease, heart disease and stroke.