Due to the current COVID19 situation, we’re available for telephone enquiries only until further notice. Therefore, in the meantime, we’ve created some useful tips to support you with your orthodontic care.
Keep up-to-date with the latest information from ORTHO about COVID-19.
Elastics (rubber bands) for fixed braces
Continue to wear your elastic bands as prescribed until the top front teeth are about 2mm in front of the bottom teeth. Once this is achieved, wear them at night-time only to maintain the position of your teeth. Make sure you’re biting together normally on your back teeth.
If you aren’t sure whether your teeth are in the correct position, take a portrait picture on your phone and send it to your local practice. We’ll contact you to let you know what to do.
Continue to wear your Invisalign aligners as discussed with your orthodontist. If you come to the end of your last aligner, wear your last aligner at night-time only until we can see you.
Functional appliances (twin block braces)
If you wear twin block braces, keep them in, but you should stop turning the screw until you can get a routine appointment with your dentist or orthodontist who can advise you on next steps.
Continue to wear your twin block braces for nine months from when the brace was fitted. For example, if it was fitted six months ago, carry on wearing it for another three months.
Wearing and looking after your retainers
If you’re wearing a retainer following orthodontic treatment, you must continue to wear this as directed by your orthodontist, otherwise your teeth will move back to their pre-treatment position, or even worse. Even leaving your retainer out for one or two days can result in your teeth moving.
- If you’ve finished your orthodontic treatment in the last year: Make sure you continue to wear your retainer every night. If you miss a night, make up for this by wearing them the following day.
- If you finished your orthodontic treatment over 12 months ago: You can start to reduce the amount of time you wear your retainer, once you’ve had your retainers for a year. Start by wearing them on alternate nights, but if the retainers feel tighter than usual or you feel that the position of your teeth is changing, then increase the amount of wear. We advise you wear the retainers for a minimum of every other night.
- If you wear a fixed (bonded) retainer: Continue to brush your teeth as normal and wear your removable retainers at night-time as usual.
Remember to clean your removable retainer in cold water and liquid soap, or Retainer Brite.
Broken or lost retainers
If you’ve lost or broken your retainer, or you’re worried your teeth are moving, then contact your local practice immediately.
If a fixed retainer comes off completely, continue to wear your removable retainer at night. If it has partly come off, meaning your removable retainer doesn’t fit, contact your local practice or your own dentist immediately.
Wires from braces digging in
If wires from your braces are digging in, it might be possible for you or a family member to use tweezers to replace the wire in the tube/band or use a nail clipper or scissors to shorten the long end.
- For thin wires: It may be that a thin wire is the correct size but may have rotated around the teeth so that it’s short on one side and long on the other. Using tweezers, a pencil with a rubber on the end or a teaspoon, it may be possible to push the wire back round to prevent the long end digging in.
- For thick wires: If the wire is very thick and stiff it may not be possible to cut the wire with home instruments. If this is the case, it may be necessary to cover the wire to prevent it from digging in. The best thing to use is orthodontic wax, which you can buy online, or we can send to you if necessary. Failing that, using a wax covering from hard cheese such as a Babybel, using Blu-Tack or even chewing gum may help.
Looking after your oral hygiene and diet
We can’t overemphasise the importance of thoroughly brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and being careful with what you eat, especially for brace wearers. Try to avoid:
- Sweets, sugary and acidic drinks: This includes diet drinks, fizzy water, squash, flavoured water and smoothies which all contain acid. These drinks can cause permanent marks or decay on the teeth.
- Hard sticky foods: Stay away from hard and sticky foods like sweets and toffees which increase the risk of broken braces, which might not be able to be repaired for some time.
It’s important to stick to these tips as your orthodontist is currently unable to supervise your treatment.
The health, wellbeing and safety of our patients, their families and our people remain our top priority in ORTHO. We’d like to thank our patients for their understanding during the COVID-19 situation.
Once it is safe for our practices to re-open we encourage you to get in touch and book an appointment. The latest status of our practices can be found at: COVID-19 Notice. If you are experiencing an orthodontic emergency, contact your local ORTHO practice.