Following our patient instructions will help you make the most out of your treatment. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (856) 429-1900 and we’ll be happy to offer guidance!
- Oral Hygiene
- Eating With Your Appliance
- Activating Your Palatal Expander
- Wearing Your Retainer
- Caring for Your Retainers or Aligners
Maintaining excellent oral hygiene will be a top priority during your braces or Invisalign® treatment. Teeth move most efficiently in a healthy mouth, and dental problems like cavities and gum disease could delay your treatment. Here’s how to keep your smile (and appliance) sparkling:
- Brush your teeth in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- If you have LightForce braces, pay extra attention to the areas around your brackets.
- Make sure your mouth is clean and rinse off your Invisalign aligners before putting them back in. This will prevent food, liquid, and bacteria from getting trapped between the aligners and your teeth.
- Floss once daily. If you have braces, you’ll want to use a floss threader, orthodontic flosser, or product like SuperFloss to more easily maneuver your floss under your wires.
- Extras like a water flosser and fluoride mouthwash aren’t mandatory but they are recommended.
- Continue to visit your general dentist for exams and cleanings at least once every six months throughout your orthodontic treatment.
Eating With Your Appliance
Eating With Invisalign
There are no food restrictions with Invisalign, but you should take your aligners out before eating or drinking anything aside from plain water. This will keep your aligners clear and free of stains. It also ensures liquid and food doesn’t get stuck under your aligners, which can increase your risk of tooth decay.
Eating With LightForce Braces
To prevent bracket breakage or damage to your archwires, do not eat really hard, chewy, or sticky foods during treatment. Nuts, popcorn, hard candy, beef jerky, licorice, hard bagels, pizza crust, gummy candy, caramel, and taffy are all good examples of foods to avoid with braces. We promise, it will be well worth it when you see your amazing results!
And never bite into food with your front teeth. Instead, break, cut, or tear food into small pieces and chew with your back teeth. See a more comprehensive list of what you can and can’t eat with braces here.
Eating With a Palatal Expander
If your child has a palate expander, have them avoid really sticky and hard foods just like they would with braces. Eating and swallowing might feel strange at first. Until your child is acclimated to their appliance, stick with liquids and soft foods. Cutting food into small pieces will make eating easier as well.
Activating Your Palatal Expander
Your palatal expander needs to be activated in order to do its job. We recommend activating it at night before bed so any pressure from the turn is gone by the time you wake up. If you forget to turn it one night, do NOT do double turns the next day. Instead, continue with one turn per day.
To active your palatal expander:
Insert the key that Dr. Piskai gave you into the hole of the appliance.
Push the key towards the back of the mouth, or the throat, until it stops and you can fully see the next hole.
Carefully remove the key. The new hole should be completely visible, letting you know that you completed the turn.
Wearing Your Retainer
Congratulations on finishing your orthodontic treatment! Lifelong retainer wear is essential for maintaining your results.
For the first month after treatment is complete, wear your clear retainers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except while eating or brushing your teeth.
After the first month, switch to nightly wear for life. This is the key to ensuring your teeth do not shift.
Caring for Your Retainers or Aligners
- Brush your Invisalign aligners or retainers daily with a clean toothbrush, mild, antibacterial hand soap or dish soap, and lukewarm water.
- For a deeper clean, you can purchase the Invisalign Cleaning System for your aligners or use Retainer Brite for your retainers.
- Avoid cleaning your aligners and retainers in mouthwash, as it can degrade the plastic.
- After cleaning your retainers or aligners, shake off any excess water and pat them dry with a paper towel before putting them in their case.
- Always place your retainers and aligners in their case when you’re not wearing them. Never wrap them in a napkin or tissue; many are accidentally thrown out this way!
- Do not expose aligners or retainers to extreme heat, such as boiling or hot water, and never leave them in the car. High temperatures can cause the plastic material to melt or distort.
- Don’t forget to bring your retainers with you to your retainer check appointments.
- Please call us right away if your retainer or Invisalign aligner is lost or broken!