Our orthodontist, Dr. Marc S. Wright, provides patients in Atlanta, Marietta, and the surrounding areas of Georgia with appliance instructions as part of their orthodontic treatments.
Why Do I Need Appliance Instructions?
Getting your braces placed on your teeth or receiving Invisalign® aligners is only a small part of successful orthodontic treatment. Each type of appliance must be used as directed to have the best possible outcomes. Dr. Wright provides appliance instructions during your appointment. Using your orthodontic appliances according to his instructions ensures that your teeth and jaw will reposition to the degree necessary and into the desired position.
How Do I Use Spacers and Separators?
Spacers and separators are small elastic rings that fit between your teeth. They are used before you have your braces installed. You may need spacers and separators if the space between your teeth is too small for braces. In most cases, spacers and separators are only needed for about seven days.
- When you first use your spacers and separators, it may feel as if you have food stuck between your teeth. This sensation will only last a few days.
- You cannot eat foods that may move or dislodge the spacers and separators. This includes chewy and sticky foods.
- Do not try to remove the spacers and separators. Only Dr. Wright should remove them once he determines that you have adequate space between your teeth.
- You can brush and floss as you normally do, but you should not floss between the teeth that have spacers and separators.
- Before you brush and floss your teeth, count the number of spacers and separators. We will tell you how many you have when they are first installed. If you noticed that one or more spacers and separators is missing, contact us to schedule an appointment.
How Do I Use a Palatal Expander?
If your child has an upper jaw that is too narrow, Dr. Wright may recommend a palatal expander.
- Foods that are sticky, chewy, or hard cannot be consumed while using a palatal expander.
- The expander needs to be turned one time each day. Dr. Wright recommends doing this at night after brushing and flossing. To turn it, place the key in the hole in the front of the palatal expander, pushing it toward the back of the mouth and turn it until it will not turn any further. The next hole in the series will appear at the front of the expander. Remove the key by pulling straight down rather than forward. If you are unable to find the hole for the key, contact our office for assistance.
- Your child may need some time to adjust to wearing the expander. We recommend that you do exercises with your child each day to help restore normal speech.
- The expander must be kept clean. You can use a soft toothbrush to clean the appliance. Be sure to include the area that goes across the palate.
- You may notice a gap develop between the front teeth while using the palatal expander. This is normal and indicates that the palate is being widened. The gap between the teeth will resolve over time.
- Patients with palatal expanders may experience some discomfort related to the changes in the upper palate. Over-the-counter pain medications can be used.
- From the time that the palatal expander is installed until your first follow-up appointment, the expander should be turned 21 times. This includes one turn per day for three weeks.
How Do I Use a Retainer?
Dr. Wright may recommend a retainer after your braces are removed to ensure that the teeth remain in the new position.
- You should wear your retainer at all times except for when you are eating and brushing/flossing your teeth. Continue to use the retainer as directed until otherwise instructed by Dr. Wright.
- Place the retainer in the case when you are not using it. This prevents the retainer from being lost or broken.
- Clean your retainer at least once per day with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste. After you clean your retainer, you can soak it in denture cleaner, but this should not replace brushing the retainer.
- Adjusting to a retainer can take some time. Practice talking with the retainer by singing, reading aloud, and speaking to your friends and family.
- If you break or lose your retainer, contact our office immediately.
- Bring your retainer to all your orthodontic appointments.
- If you go swimming, remove your retainer and place it in the case.
- Your retainer is made of plastic, so it can melt if it is left near a warm flame, in a hot car or in other areas where it is exposed to higher temperatures. The retainer will need to be replaced if it is deformed or damaged.
How Do I Use Positioners?
Positioners, also known as aligners, are used to straighten teeth. You wear them for about four to eight weeks as part of your overall orthodontic treatment plan.
How Do I Use Elastics (Rubber Bands)?
Elastics and rubber bands are used to guide the teeth into position and improve your bite. Your braces will have special hooks where you are to attach the elastics. You can remove the elastics when you eat and brush your teeth. Replace them with fresh elastics.
How Do I Use Headgear?
Headgear is an orthodontic appliance that attaches to tubes that are mounted on your braces.
Use the appliance as directed by Dr. Wright. The headgear may have an elastic band to control the amount of tension. You should not adjust this once Dr. Wright determines the right fit.
Appliance instructions provide people in Atlanta, Marietta, and the surrounding areas of Georgia with basic information about the appliances that may be used for their orthodontic treatments. To learn more about which treatments are right for you, contact Wright Orthodontics to schedule a free initial consultation.