Andrews Orthodontics - Stephen W. Andrews, DMD MS

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Care For Your Braces

Parts of Braces


Bands are a ring of metal, which fit around the back teeth (molars and sometimes premolars). Each tooth has its own shape and size. The bands are selected from a range of sizes. The aim is to select the tightest fitting band. The bands are sealed in position using a dental cement (like glue) containing fluoride to prevent any decalcification during treatment.


The part that holds the archwire against each tooth. The archwire fits into a slot in the bracket. Brackets may be attached directly to each tooth or to a band.


Small brackets are usually bonded or glued on the front teeth and sometimes
the back teeth. During this procedure the lips are held out of the way with
plastic retractors similar to those used when the teeth were photographed.
During this procedure the teeth must be kept dry.


The main wires or arch wires are shaped specifically to fit around the arch
into the bracket slots. Teeth move from the pressure that is applied by the
braces. That pressure comes from the archwire, which guides the direction of
movement. Note that the archwire is held in place by a series of small rubber
rings that tie the archwire into the bracket.


A tiny rubber ring that ties the archwire into the bracket – or – LIGATURE
WIRE – A tiny wire that ties the archwire into the bracket.


Small attachments on the brackets used to attach elastics (rubber bands).

7.Coil Spring

This spring fits between brackets and over the archwire.

Care For Your Braces

Brushing & Flossing

Brush often and thoroughly using a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste.

Soft foods are better

Eat foods such as soups, pasta, stews, chicken, meatloaf, etc. Soft foods do not cause damage to your wires and braces.

Bite size is better

Cut all foods into bite size pieces, as this causes less wear on the braces and makes it easier to chew food.

Avoid sticky foods

Ice, popcorn, nuts, corn chips, jerky, hard candies, crusty bread, pretzels, carrots, etc.

Avoid sugary foods

Soft drinks, candy, cookies, pies, cakes, etc.

Keep everything except food out of your mouth

Solving problems "Before you panic"

Loose band or bracket

If intact, leave in place and use wax to avoid soreness. If not intact, save all parts for the doctor.

Loose wires

Try to nudge back in place with a blunt object. If wire is poking, try to bend with sturdy object such as a spoon or eraser. Cover with wax to avoid soreness and call the office.

Lost tie wire or elastic

This can be carried over until the next appointment.

General discomfort or soreness

Use warm salt water as a rinse & take ibuprofen or aspirin (or whatever you would take for a headache).

If pain of discomfort persists, call us as soon as possible

Please download and print a summary of this information and Instructions for your New Orthodontic Appliances.
Click here to download file


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