We may also prescribe you additional accessories in order to enhance your orthodontic care at our San Jose office, such as:
- Rubber bands, which help to accurately line up your upper and lower teeth with one another.
- Headgear, which is often used to correct overbites or underbites. It exerts a stronger pulling force on the teeth, correcting protrusion.
- Separators, which are small rubber pieces that we sometimes need to place between teeth in order to make space for braces.
- Retainers, which are used once your treatment with braces is complete. Retainers help you maintain the beautiful results you’ve achieved with braces.
There are special things to keep in mind when wearing each of these types of orthodontic appliances.
During the first few days of wearing spacers, you may feel som discomfort, but this usually subsides fairly quickly. If need be, you can use a common over-the-counter pain reliever to alleviate the problem. There's always a chance you could lose the spacers, so avoid sticky foods, don't floss between teeth where there are spacers, brush gently, and don't mess with them if they feel loose.
An expander is a removable appliance worn to widen your jaw. It must be regularly adjusted, and you will turn the screw once a week until treatment is complete. Follow these tips for effective expander treatment:
- Wear the expander for 14 hours a day, starting after school.
- In the morning, brush the expander with a toothbrush and cold water; never use hot water; place it in its case and put it somewhere safe.
- Bring the expander with you to appointments so we can monitor treatment.
- Always put the expander in its case when not being worn.
- Call us immediately if your expander is lost or doesn't fit. Teeth move fast, so waiting can disrupt your treatment.
If you're wearing a palatal expander, you may notice extra space between upper front teeth. This is temporary, so don't worry. You may also experience speech and swallowing problems, which are also temporary, and you can read aloud to overcome the speech problems.
When wearing a palatal expander, brush and floss teeth frequently, avoid sticky or hard foods, adjust the appliance very gently, and call us immediately if you experience loosening.
Headgear can either correct overbite or underbite, pushing or pulling the teeth into position. Headgear is effective when the jaw is still growing, so this appliance is usually only used before the age of 13. It is important to wear the appliance for the recommended amount of time -- 14 hours a day -- and you'll do this overnight. If you don't wear it every day, you'll lessen the effectiveness of your treatment, adding expense and time. You can ease into wearing the headgear for 14 hours. On the first day, you can wear it for two hours after school. Then, wear it for four hours the next day. Wear the headgear overnight for five days, and then begin putting on the headgear right after school and wearing it straight through the night.
If you can't wear it for a full 14 hours one day, make it up by wearing it longer the next day. We recommend that you keep track of the hours you spend wearing the headgear by writing them down.
If the headgear is attached to a retainer, never clean the retainer with hot water. Remember:
- Do not wear headgear while being physically active (swimming, running, playing sports)
- Don't play with your headgear
- If you experience tenderness at first, it will go away after a few days; call us if it doesn't
- Bring the headgear to every appointment so that we can make sure it is adjusted correctly and monitor treatment
Guidelines for Elastics
Because your elastics are helping to move your teeth into proper position, make sure you're wearing them as recommended. Don't be inconsistent with your elastics. In fact, if you wear elastics as directed, your treatment time will be shorter. If you run out of elastics, contact us immediately.
Here are some instructions for best retainer care:
- Wear your retainers for 14 hours a day for the first six months
- After that, wear your retainers when you sleep
- Brush your retainers with cold (never hot) water
- Children should never wear retainers at school, but adults should wear them at work
- Always put your retainer in its case to keep it from getting lost
- If you lose or break your retainer, call us immediately