Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in the design, application, and control of corrective appliances to bring teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment and to achieve facial balance. Straight teeth function better, are easier to clean, and are more likely to last you a lifetime.

An orthodontist can improve most tooth and jaw alignment problems at any age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist no later than age seven.

At our specialty office, Rane’s Dental Aesthetics (609-750-1666), our orthodontist, Dr. Anna Morrison, DMD, MS, has been treating children and adults for many years and has changed some difficult cases into beautifully functioning smiles. For those who qualify for the clear braces alternative, more popularly known as Invisalign, Dr. Janhavi Rane, DDS, Dr. Pradeep Sukumar, DDS, & Dr. Anna Morrison, DMD also treat those patients, teens and adults, at our parent office, Rane’s Exclusively Yours Dental (609-275-1777).

Children and parents are involved in their treatments so that they are aware of the changes going on with their teeth and also how they should be caring for their teeth during orthodontic treatment.

The best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile is brushing and flossing. Food particles can accumulate on teeth and in braces and turn into plaque. The bacteria that results from this accumulation can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and even root canal treatment. To avoid these problems while you are in orthodontic treatment, take special care of your braces, teeth, and gums to ensure you will have the best possible result.

Brushing: Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside, and chewing surface of your front and back teeth and your tongue. When in orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces; after breakfast, after lunch or right after school, after supper, and at bedtime.

You also need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your appliances. It may be difficult for your toothbrush to reach some areas under your archwire, so you should floss, use an antibacterial mouthwash, and get fluoride treatment often during and after braces.

Flossing: Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day. Use the reusable floss threader provided by our office to floss under your archwire daily. Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. A Waterpik is also a great adjunct for tough-to-reach areas. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let your dentist know.

Foods to Avoid: For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods (ice, nuts, corn on the cob, apples and carrots unless cut into small pieces, bagels, jolly ranchers, pizza crust, etc.), sticky foods (gum, licorice, toffee, caramels, Starburst, etc.) and foods high in sugar (cake, ice cream, soda, cookies, candy, etc.) must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing, and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided as they tend to break fixed appliances.

In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately to arrange an appointment and keep any loose parts out of your mouth if possible, but bring them to the appointment.

We recommend all our patients have at least two or three cleanings with our hygienist per year especially when in braces. It is very important to follow these tips for hygiene during orthodontic treatment otherwise when the braces come off you will have straight teeth but they may be full of cavities needing fillings, root canals, and more.

Hopefully these tips will help those of you in or going to get braces.

Rane’s Exclusively Yours Dental (Main Office Providing All Phases Of Dentistry For Children and Adults), Plainsboro Shopping Center (Besides Powerhouse Gym), 10 Schalks Crossing Road, Plainsboro. 609-275-1777. www.ranesdental.com

Rane’s Dental Aesthetics (A Dental Specialty Extension for Orthodontics and Periodontics), New Plainsboro Village Center (Beside 1st Constitution Bank), 11 Schalks Crossing Road, Plainsboro. 609-750-1666.

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