Braces are made up of many small structural components that are put onto your teeth by an orthodontist to help straighten or realign your teeth. These components will be placed on the front, sometimes even the back, of your teeth and held in place by a cement bonding glue.
The components of most braces are:
Brackets - The pieces bonded directly to your teeth that the arch wire lays across
Arch Wire - The part of the braces that move your teeth into position
Hook - A bracket piece used to hold the elastics in place
Elastics - Necessary for coordinating the upper and lower jaw so that your bite aligns perfectly
O Rings - These are used to attach the arch wire to the brackets. These will be changed at each appointment to ensure the strength a functionality of the braces
Braces must be taken care of in order to hold structural integrity.
You will need to brush more frequently than when you had no braces. It is recommended that teeth are brushed 4 - 5 times a day. It is important to use toothpaste that contains fluoride in it, as well as a fluoride-based mouthwash.
Flossing is key but you cannot use typical dental floss. A special floss threader will allow you clean in between your teeth without tearing the floss or damaging your braces. When you have finished brushing, make sure there are no food particles on your brackets, archwire, or elastics.
Along with keeping your braces and teeth clean, it is important to make sure your elastics are in good condition. It is recommended to change the elastics 1 - 2 times every day to ensure your teeth or gums do not become sore. You will be wearing your elastics all day so try to keep your mouth comfortable.
A proper diet must be taken into consideration in order to keep your braces in fine condition. You must avoid sticky foods (Gum, candy, toffee, caramel), tough foods (Hard Candy, bagels, crusts), and try to cut larger food into smaller pieces (pizza, chicken wings, apples). The last thing anyone wants is gum being entangled in their braces the entire day.