Maintenance of orthodontic appliances

Maintenance of orthodontic appliances

SEPARATORS (spacers)


Separators are small blue elastics inserted between your teeth to create small spaces.  This space is necessary in preparation for the next appointment.  The installation of the dental device will then be easier for the dentist and more comfortable for the patient.



You may feel pressure and discomfort for a duration of 2 days.  We advise you to avoid chewing gum and eating any sticky substance like jujubes and toffee.  Brush your teeth in the usual manner, but do not floss where there are separators.



Check every evening, when you are brushing your teeth, that the rubber bands are still in place.  If a separator has fallen, call us so that we can schedule a visit to replace it.  If a separator falls less than one day before your appointment, it will not be a problem and we will still be able to install your orthodontic device.



The palatal expander is used to create space for the eruption of the permanent teeth.  It also allows to adjust the width of the two dental arcades and to harmonize them.


How does it work?

The palatal expander is placed on the upper molars.  The expansion screw that is located in the middle must be enabled according to our specifications.

1 – Insert the key (a small wire) into the small hole in the screw of the expander.

2 – Push the key in the direction of the arrow until you feel a resistance.  You should see the second hole before removing the key.


When to activate it

You can enable it at the time of the day that suits you.  Just keep this sequence thereafter.  We recommend to activate it before bedtime, you will feel less discomfort during your sleep.



The pronunciation may be reduced for a period of a few days to a few weeks.  A little practice (reading aloud) should help you.  Excessive production of saliva is expected to decrease after a few days.  Practice to swallow with your lips closed and without making any noise.


Pain and discomfort

It is normal to feel a pressure at the nose and eye level when you activate the device.  Tooth sensitivity and discomfort can last a few hours.  You can slow down the activation sequence if the pain persists.

It is likely that a space will form between the anterior teeth.  This space will close during the treatment.  Apply a small piece of wax on the hooks if they irritate your cheeks.



Avoid biting into fruits and raw vegetables with your front teeth.  Cut any hard food in sticks or pieces. To avoid damage and cleaning problems, we recommend that you exclude hard and sticky foods such as jelly beans, chewing gum and caramels.



Remove your expander and rinse it under running water to remove food debris.  While you brush your teeth, you can soak your device.



Once you have obtained the desired width, it is necessary to stabilize the results for several months.  The device is used for retention, but it should still be kept in good condition.  If you think that your unit is broken or maladjusted, feel free to contact us.




We recommend that you exclude hard or sticky foods such as gum, taffy, caramel, jelly beans, nuts, almonds and popcorn.  These foods tend to deform the wires and damage the bands and brackets.  You can eat as much fruit and raw vegetables as you want, but cut them into pieces.



Your teeth can be sensitive and cause you discomfort for a period of 2 to 7 days after your appointment.  We recommend a soft diet during this period (oatmeal, omelet, soup, smoothie, yogurt, pasta).  Drinking very cold water can also help.  Anti-inflammatories (Ibuprofen/Advil) may also help to reduce the transitional pain.


Orthodontic wax

If your lips and cheeks are irritated by the brackets and wires, you can place orthodontic wax on the brackets that are causing discomfort.  The wax will decrease the friction between the bracket and your cheek.  Take a piece of wax about the size of a pea and press it onto the bracket.



Good dental hygiene is essential for the success of the treatment.  It is recommended that you brush your teeth after each meal and before bedtime.  We will review tooth brushing and flossing techniques that are specific to wearing braces.



Here is an overview of the most common problems that may occur during your treatment.  This list is intended to reassure you and help you if needed.


Bracket falling off: If a bracket placed between two others is falling out, it will be mobile but won’t cause discomfort.  Please contact us and we will evaluate if it is necessary to see you before your next appointment.

If a bracket is falling off at the end of a wire, the protruding wire may hurt your cheek.  Call us so that we can correct the problem.  Alternatively, you can cut excess wire with cutting pliers.


Wire that hurts: During treatment, the wire can slip or become too long or too short.  Contact us so that we can help relieving the pain.  Orthodontic wax can be a temporary solution to reduce friction.


A loose orthodontic band: A band is made of stainless steel metal and wraps around the tooth to anchor a fixed orthodontic appliance.  If you think that a band is loose or falling off, we will give you an appointment rapidly in order to cement it.  Do not remove anything.  Leave everything in place and call us as soon as you can.


Elastic bands: On occasion, we add rubber bands on the metal brackets to give them strength and to keep the archwire held into the slot on the bracket. There is no consequence if they fall off.


To avoid waiting unnecessarily at the clinic, we ask you to call us before showing up for any orthodontic emergency.  If the problem cannot be solved by phone, we will try to see you within a reasonable time to make sure that it does not impair your treatment.

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