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Contents

  1. Use and Care of Your Retainer
  2. Fixed Orthodontic Appliances
  3. Removable Orthodontic Appliances
  4. Functional Orthodontic Appliances
  5. Headgear


Use and Care of Your Retainer

These are instructions about the use and care of your retainers that you will have fitted at the end of your course of orthodontic treatment.

Please read this carefully and if there is anything that you are unsure about, please ask, we are here to help you.

  • Your braces have moved your teeth into their straightened position by slowly moving them through the bone of your jaws. It will now take many months for the bone to remodel to this new position and during this time it is important to stop the teeth moving back towards their original position.
  • Your retainers are designed to hold your teeth in their straightened position and must be worn constantly for two days (with the exception of eating and cleaning your teeth) followed by wearing at night times only until you are at least early 20s in age. If you do not wear your retainers your teeth will move and re-treatment under an NHS contract will not be possible.
  • When your retainers are not being worn you must keep them in a rigid brace box to prevent them from being damaged.
  • Your retainers should be cleaned carefully with a toothbrush and soaked in a special cleaner such as 'Retainer Brite'. They should NOT be placed in hot water or disinfectant, nor cleaned with toothpaste.
  • Your retainers MUST be checked by Solihull Orthodontic Centre. It is important that you bring your retainers to all appointments.
  • If you lose or damage your retainers, you must contact the Practice immediately (during normal working hours). You may be charged for replacements.
  • Your orthodontic treatment has taken a considerable amount of both your and your Orthodontist's time and it is your responsibility to wear and take care of your retainers.

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Fixed Orthodontic Appliances

These are general guidelines for patients being treated with fixed orthodontic appliances.

If you have any queries please ask, we are here to help you.

  • Fixed appliances consist of metal or ceramic brackets glued to the front teeth and stainless steel bands cemented around the back teeth. These components are connected by a horseshoe-shaped archwire. The brackets and bands are not removed until the end of treatment, however, certain components of the appliance (such as the archwire) may be changed during treatment.
  • You may experience a small amount of discomfort when the appliance is first fitted and after each adjustment appointment. This will normally settle after a few days, but mild pain killers such as paracetamol may be helpful.
  • The metal attachments themselves can irritate the inside of the lips and cheeks and are particularly noticeable when first fitted. You may need to apply some soft wax over the surface of the brackets or bands to prevent discomfort.
  • It is essential that you keep your appliance and teeth clean. If plaque and food debris are allowed to collect around the appliance staining and discolouration of the enamel and tooth decay can occur. A diet high in sugar is likely to make this worse, therefore sweets and sugary drinks (such as cola and lemonade) should be avoided as much as possible.
  • Your appliance is very delicate and easily damaged. Hard or sticky food such as toffees and chewing gum must be avoided altogether. Any other foods which are part of your normal diet but which would require hard chewing should be cut into small, manageable pieces.
  • Breakages are less likely to happen if you follow the instructions above. If you break your appliance please telephone us during normal working hours so that arrangements can be made to repair it. When you attend for routine appointments, please tell us immediately if you suspect that part of your appliance has become loose or damaged.
  • In the later stages of treatment elastic bands may be placed on your appliances (usually connecting the upper and lower braces) to help move your teeth into the correct position. You will be shown how to place these yourself. Elastics are an essential part of treatment and must be worn as instructed. Normally this should be full time, although they must be taken off when cleaning your teeth. Once you have been given elastics to wear, assume that you will need to wear them until the end of treatment, or until you are instructed otherwise.
  • Normal sports mouthguards cannot be worn with fixed appliances, however, special mouthguards can be provided if you need them. Please ask for further details of cost.

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Removable Orthodontic Appliances

These are general guidelines for patients being treated with removable orthodontic appliances.

If you have any queries please ask, we are here to help you.

  • Removable appliances may be used by themselves, or in conjunction with other appliances (such as those fixed to the teeth) to assist with the progress of treatment.
  • You should normally wear your appliance full time (day and night) unless you are given specific instructions to the contrary.
  • You may find it difficult to speak clearly when you first start wearing your appliance. This is quite normal and you will find that you gradually become used to talking with your appliance in place.
  • It is best to become accustomed to eating with your appliance in position. Wearing your removable appliance during mealtimes is particularly important when you have a fixed appliance on your lower teeth. The removable appliance will prevent the fixed appliance from being damaged when you bite.
  • Do not eat sticky sweets such as toffees and chewing gum. These will damage the appliance.
  • It is important to keep both the appliance and your teeth thoroughly clean. The appliance itself does not damage the teeth, but if plaque and food debris is allowed to collect around it, decay may start. Too much sugar (especially in fizzy drinks) is likely to make this worse, therefore sugary foods and snacks should be avoided as much as possible.
  • The appliance should always be taken out for cleaning. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste but be careful not to bend any of the wires.
  • It is also advisable to remove your appliance for any sports or games (including swimming) where it may become dislodged accidentally. Put it somewhere safe (a rigid brace box is best).
  • Always insert and remove your appliance using your fingers. Never bite it into place as this is likely to break it. When it is in position, leave it there and do not be tempted to 'play' with it with your tongue, as this may also damage your appliance.
  • If you break your appliance please telephone us during normal working hours so that arrangements can be made to repair it. Appliances are repaired at a technical laboratory and this may take a little time. Patients must attend in person so that the fit of the appliance can be checked before and after the repair.

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Functional Orthodontic Appliances

These are general guidelines for patients being treated with functional orthodontic appliances.

If you have any queries please ask, we are here to help you.

  • Functional appliances are usually used when there is a large discrepancy between the position of the upper and lower jaws. When inserted, they reposition the lower jaw and rely on forces from muscle function (hence their name) to correct the positions of the teeth and jaws.
  • Sometimes, a functional appliance may be all that is required. In other cases, fixed appliances are needed to complete treatment.
  • There are different designs of functional appliance. Some are made in one piece, whilst others consist of two separate braces (twin block appliances) which fit upper and lower jaws independently and guide the jaws into the required position when they are brought together.
  • The more that the appliances are worn, the more effective they will be. Functional appliances should be worn all the time (day and night) with exceptions given below, unless you are given specific instructions to the contrary.
  • It usually takes time to get used to wearing the appliances but you must wear them full time from the day that they are fitted.
  • Most patients manage to eat with twin block appliances in place, but if this is difficult they can be removed for meal times. The appliances will also need to be removed when you brush your teeth. It is especially important to make sure that the teeth and the appliances are cleaned after meals, before the appliances are reinserted.
  • Do not eat sticky sweets such as toffees and chewing gum. These will damage the appliance.
  • Remove the appliances before you undertake any sports or games (including swimming) where they may become accidentally displaced. Put them somewhere safe (a rigid brace box is best).
  • At first, the appliances will make it difficult to speak clearly. Your speech should improve as you wear them more frequently. Practice speaking out aloud at home.
  • Sometimes areas of soreness may develop after you have worn the appliance for a while. If this happens, please telephone us during normal working hours so that arrangements can be made to see you and adjust the appliances before your next planned appointment. This avoids interrupting the progress of treatment. Any other problems, such as accidental breakages, should also be notified as soon as possible (during normal working hours). Appliances are repaired at a technical laboratory and this may take a little time. Patients must attend in person so that the fit of the appliances can be checked before and after the repair.

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Headgear

These are general guidelines for patients undergoing treatment with headgear.

If you have any queries, please ask, we are here to help you.

  • Remove the headgear before the inner bow. Never remove or fit the headgear in one piece by pulling the headgear over the face and head.
  • Do not wear headgear while playing sports or rough games.
  • At night always ensure that the safety mechanisms are in place to prevent accidental removal of the headgear and facebow.
  • If any part of the appliance becomes detached during sleep, stop wearing the headgear and contact the Practice during normal working hours.
  • If any eye injury associated with the headgear occurs, it must be treated as a medical emergency. Go to your local Accident and Emergency Department for an ophthalmic opinion as soon as possible.
  • Bring your headgear to each appointment and report any problems to Solihull Orthodontic Centre.
  • Wear your headgear for the number of hours recommended by your orthodontist each day.

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