Posts for category: Orthodontic Treatments
Learn how to properly care for your braces so you won’t have to deal with broken wires or fallen-off brackets.
Once you get your braces, you finally realize why it’s so important to care for them. Even though they may look rough and tough, metal braces can still become broken or damaged. Damaged braces aren’t effective, which may lengthen your treatment. From the office of our Portage, MI orthodontist, Dr. Thomas Kwong, here are some useful tips for how to care for your braces and maintain good oral health.
If You’ve Just Gotten Braces…
It will take time for your mouth to adjust to your braces so you may feel a bit sore for the first few days. Take it easy and adopt a soft-food diets until the discomfort subsides. Cut food into easy-to-chew pieces and stick to foods that are easy to eat.
What You Can and Can’t Eat
Even once the discomfort of just getting braces goes away you will have some dietary restrictions for the length of your treatment. This is because there are certain foods that can bend wires, break brackets and even loosen the cement that attaches brackets to teeth. Stay away from foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky, chewy or that contain a lot of sugar. Foods to avoid are:
- Corn on the cob
- Pizza crust
- Hard breads
- Carrots, whole apples or raw vegetables (cut into smaller pieces)
- Hard pretzels
- Hard taco shells
- Hard candies
- Chewing gum
- Gummy candies
- Caramels and taffy
Avoid Bad Habits
If you are an avid pen cap chewer or you bite your nails these are all habits that you will need to be aware of and prevent if you want to protect your braces. Talk to our orthodontic dentist in Portage about ways to break these habits.
Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
While everyone should brush twice a day it’s important that you brush even more often when you have braces. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush, which will be gentle enough on your braces, and brush your teeth immediately after every meal. Bring a travel toothbrush with you if you are heading to school or work to make it easier for you to brush on the go.
Make sure you are also flossing every day. Use a threader floss to help get in between teeth while wearing braces so you can remove plaque and food particles and prevent decay.
If you have questions about how to care for your braces don’t hesitate to call Kwong Orthodontics in Portage, MI. Dr. Kwong is happy to answer any and all questions regarding braces, whether you are considering getting braces or you are currently wearing them.
Not sure what to do if your Invisalign aligner tray cracks? Thomas Kwong, D.D.S., your Portage, MI, orthodontist, explains how to handle the situation.
What should I do if my Invisalign tray cracks?
Depending on the timing and severity of the crack, your orthodontist may recommend one of these options:
Continue wearing the tray
If the crack isn't severe, you may be able to continue wearing the tray without a problem. In some cases, your orthodontist may even be able to repair the crack.
Wear the next tray in the set
If the crack occurs on day 8 or later, your Portage, MI orthodontist may suggest that you begin wearing your next Invisalign aligner tray a little earlier. Should a severe crack occur soon after you begin wearing a new set of trays, you may be advised to wear the previous tray until a new tray can be created for you.
How can I avoid cracks?
Reduce your risk of a cracked Invisalign aligner tray by following these tips:
- Don't chew on your aligner tray. Although the resin used to make the Invisalign aligners is strong, the tray can still crack if you bite or chew on it.
- Vary your removal technique. Removing your aligner tray by pulling on the same place every time can stress the resin and cause cracks.
- Always take your Invisalign aligner trays out before you eat. The trays are not designed to handle the extreme pressure involved in chewing.
- Use your case every time you remove your trays. Prevent damage to your aligner trays by using the provided trays, even if you don't plan to leave your trays out for a long time. It only takes a few seconds for your dog to decide that the tray will make a good toy or for the tray to fall to the floor.
If you crack your Invisalign aligner tray, let Thomas Kwong, D.D.S., your Portage, MI, orthodontist, know by calling (269) 327-4459 during regular office hours. Protect the investment you've made in your smile by checking your aligner trays daily for signs of cracking or damage.
Don't let the prospect of braces get you down. Let your true colors shine through with Wild Smiles!
If your Portage orthodontist has recommended braces to straighten your teeth, you might not be looking forward to the months of metallic wires on your teeth. However, Dr. Thomas Kwong of Kwong Orthodontics in Portage, Michigan offers his patients the opportunity to illuminate their new orthodontics with Wild Smiles brackets, a fun new way to wear braces.
What are Wild Smiles braces?
Wild Smiles are patented bracket designs that are placed on the front teeth by your Portage orthodontist Dr. Kwong. Instead of the traditional square brackets, they come in a variety of shapes: circles, flowers, hearts, footballs, stars and diamonds. Different-colored rubber bands can be placed around each bracket. Each patient can decide which Wild Smiles shapes and colors they want to fully customize their braces, making the experience more fun and personalized.
How do Wild Smiles work?
The Wild Smiles brackets are designed to work the same way as regular brackets do: they are cemented to the teeth by Dr. Kwong, your Portage orthodontist. The fixtures in the back of the mouth remain the same. The wires that connect everything together are periodically tightened to encourage the teeth to move into the proper position in the mouth. The only difference is that Wild Smiles offer a cool, interesting alternative to the traditional square or rectangular-shaped brackets. Not all orthodontists have Wild Smiles available; Dr. Kwong's priority has always been his patients' comfort and satisfaction, so he's proud to offer Wild Smiles.
You can choose one shape or several and as many colors as you'd like - with Wild Smiles, the possibilities are endless. If you'd like more information about this fun way to enhance the look of orthodontic braces, call and make an appointment with Dr. Thomas Kwong, your orthodontist in Portage, Michigan.
While getting braces from Kwong Orthodontics is a very effective way to move your teeth into proper alignment, the results do not last a lifetime. This is why, once you visit your orthodontist in Portage, MI to have your braces removed, your orthodontist will want you to wear a retainer.
What is a Permanent Retainer?
There are two types of retainers: permanent and removable. Permanent retainers are attached to the back of your lower front teeth to guard your teeth against shifting 24 hours a day. Removable retainers are only effective when they are worn--typically only at night. Your Portage, MI orthodontist will have experience with both types and will be able to recommend the right type for you.
Why Would Someone Choose a Permanent Retainer?
Permanent retainers are the perfect option for individuals who often lose or forget to wear their retainers, individuals who don't always wear their retainers like they should, and individuals who wear other dental devices. Permanent retainers are the most reliable option, both in terms of performance and likelihood that they will be used as directed.
Permanent retainers may not be right for people who won't commit to excellent oral hygiene, however since they are more difficult to clean around. They may also not be right for people who aren't at a high risk for their teeth shifting.
How Do I Care for My Permanent Retainer?
The most important aspect of caring for your permanent retainers is simply being very thorough with your oral hygiene. Permanent retainers make brushing and flossing more difficult, but they also come with an increased risk of cavities and gum disease if you don't take care of them properly. You will need to brush and rinse frequently and use a floss threader or Super Floss to get into all of the small spaces.
Continue to avoid the same foods you weren't allowed to eat with braces: foods that are hard, sticky or overly sweetened. These types of foods can increase your chances of cavities and of having your permanent retainer break. Call Dr. Kwong right away if a wire does break or if your permanent retainer isn't fitting properly anymore.
How Long Will I Have to Wear A Permanent Retainer?
Despite its name, you may not have to wear your permanent retainer forever. While you should expect to wear some type of retainer for pretty much the rest of your life, your dentist may recommend removing your permanent retainer and replacing it with a removable retainer at some point. This is generally done to protect your oral health, as cleaning around permanent retainers is more difficult.
When it comes time to get your braces off, speak to Dr. Kwong, your trusted Portage, MI orthodontist at Kwong Orthodontics, to see which type of retainer may be right for you.
Find out why it’s so important to wear your retainer after orthodontic treatment in Portage.
If you’ve just gotten your braces off then congratulations! You probably couldn’t be happier to have a straighter smile and to finally say goodbye to your braces; however, you may be a little less than thrilled to find out you have to wear your retainer, but this is a crucial step to maintaining that beautiful new smile that you worked so hard to get.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve worn traditional metal braces or Invisalign, when anyone opts for orthodontic treatment they must wear retainers even after their treatment is over. The purpose of wearing braces is to shift your teeth into their proper alignment; however, as we age our teeth begin to move forward and inward. This means that unless we have something like a retainer to keep teeth in place, they will most likely shift right back to their original position after your braces are removed.
That’s why we may recommend that you wear your retainers for at least 12 hours a day immediately after having your braces removed; however, this will depend on the severity of your dental condition, you age and whether we need the retainers to help finalize your smile’s alignment or just maintain it.
After about six months, patients can switch to only wearing their retainers at night. Wearing your braces while you are sleeping is vitally important to maintaining your straight smile and we recommend you do this every night for the next year.
After you’ve worn your retainer for a full year, we will most likely tell you that you only have to wear it for a few nights each week (on average, most patients wear their retainer about three to five times a week).
While some patients are surprised to hear that they need to wear their retainers forever, we promise that orthodontics isn’t suppose to feel like punishment. If you want to have a beautiful and consistently straight smile then you need to wear your retainer. Luckily, nighttime wear isn’t a big deal and most patients find it easy to adjust to wearing their retainers while they sleep.
However, retainers don’t last forever. This means that you will need to get your retainers replaced at some point. Most last anywhere from two to 10 years depending on how well you care for them. When you come in for your routine dental visit, your Portage orthodontist can tell you if it’s time to get a new one.
If you have any questions about your retainer or your oral health post-braces, call your Portage orthodontist today. Also, you’ll want to still see your dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and exam to make sure your smile still looks its best. If it’s time to schedule your next visit with your Portage dentist, call our office today.