Getting Your Braces Off Faster
People with braces want to enjoy the benefits of their improved smile as soon as possible. Virtually no one wants to wear braces longer than needed. In fact, most patients would prefer to have their braces off as quickly as possible. Dr. Redford and Dr. Burke have a safe alternative known as accelerated orthodontics for their patients.
Treatment with braces usually takes between 18 and 24 months. Many factors—ranging from environmental to genetic—play a role in how quickly teeth move into the proper positions. However, the most significant factor is how complex the issues are that the orthodontist needs to correct. Individual biology is another determinant of how fast teeth will move. Some people’s teeth will naturally move faster than others.
Fortunately, there are several things that patients can do to speed up treatment time. In addition, there are different tools for accelerated orthodontics. Burke & Redford Orthodontists, located in Temecula and Lake Elsinore, offers two different devices that accelerate orthodontic treatment—the Propel Excellerator and AcceleDent.
The Propel Chairside Excellerator is a minimally invasive procedure that stimulates bone turnover around the teeth through a process called Micro-osteoperforation. As a result of this stimulation the teeth and surrounding structures respond faster to orthodontic treatment, and move more quickly into their ideal positions.
The procedure is performed in the orthodontist’s office and is relatively painless for patients. Treatment only takes a few minutes, but teeth in the treated area can move into place at a faster rate.
The bottom line is that the Propel System helps to make orthodontic treatment more efficient. This can be particularly useful with adult patients, whose teeth often move slower than adolescents. Most patients tolerate the procedure well. It can be used with all types of braces and Invisalign.
AcceleDent is another tool that can be useful in speeding up orthodontic treatment time. Unlike the Propel system, AcceleDent can be used at home. It is only available via prescription and we most commonly use it with Invisalign to help the aligners “seat” or adapt well to the teeth. Good adaptation of aligners improves treatment efficiency and makes for more precise tooth movement.
Patients use the device for 10 to 20 minutes every day. The mouthpiece fits over the teeth (while aligners are in place) and gently vibrates with micropulses. These vibrations “seat” the aligners into their ideal relationship to each tooth. This helps the teeth to move more quickly into place—thereby speeding up orthodontic treatment.
AcceleDent is FDA-approved and considered safe when used as directed. The device is hands-free, which leaves patients free to read, watch TV, or surf the Internet while using the device.
Aside from these two accelerated orthodontics devices, patients can speed up their orthodontic treatment with good cooperation wearing elastics/aligners, watching what they eat, and taking proper care of their braces.
Follow Dietary Restrictions
The suggestions below don’t apply to patients who wear Invisalign because the aligners are removable for eating. However, patients who wear braces can shorten their treatment time by following these dietary restrictions.
- Don’t eat hard or chewy foods. These types of foods can bend wires or snap brackets. When this happens, teeth are no longer moving into position—thereby slowing down treatment until the bracket or wire can be fixed. It is even possible that patients won’t know that a bracket or wire is broken until their next adjustment appointment—thereby losing even more time. Chewing on ice is one of the biggest causes of broken brackets.
- Cut food into small pieces. Eating bite-sized pieces of food puts less stress on wires and brackets—lessening the chances that they will get broken or bent. This is particularly important for harder foods such as apples, chewy bread, and meat. In addition to smaller pieces, patients should chew slowly and carefully.
- Avoid biting non-food items. Many people bite or chew on non-food items such as pen caps, pencils, or nails. As with eating hard foods, these habits can break brackets or bend wires. Patients that have difficulty quitting these habits might want to look into soft, chewable jewelry (“chewelry”).
Read more information from Dr. Redford about “Foods To Eat and Avoid With Braces” for more information, including recommended methods for preparing foods.
Take Care of Braces
Patients who take care of their teeth and follow their orthodontist’s recommendations will speed up their orthodontic treatment with accelerated orthodontics. Too often, patients slack off on wearing their elastics or skip an appointment or two. Both actions cause braces to be on longer.
To ensure that your orthodontic treatment is as short as possible, patients should be sure and do the following:
- Use elastics as directed. Wearing elastics (rubber bands) is a crucial part of wearing braces. The elastics help correct a patient’s bite. Wearing them as directed is an essential part of the treatment process. When patients forget to wear them or avoid using them, treatment is delayed. The only time elastics should be out of the mouth is when patients are eating or brushing their teeth.
- Follow good oral hygiene practices. Although it can be more challenging to brush and floss while wearing braces, good oral hygiene practices are more critical than ever. Ideally, patients will brush and floss after every meal. Careful tooth brushing is vital. Patients should spend four minutes brushing their teeth at least three times a day. The timer on an electric toothbrush can ensure you’ve brushed long enough. Using tools such as a proxy brush, floss threader, and water flosser will help keep braces clean of debris.
- Don’t miss appointments. Patients with braces visit the orthodontist regularly (usually every 8 weeks). This allows the orthodontists to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments. Appointment times are set up so teeth are continually moving into their ideal positions. If an appointment is missed or postponed, the teeth aren’t moving as they should be, thereby prolonging treatment.
- Wear aligners as directed. Wearing aligners 22 hours per day is critical to teeth moving efficiently. Invisalign should be worn at all times other than eating, drinking, or brushing.
If you have questions about accelerated orthodontics treatment (such as Propel or AcceleDent) or want more information on the proper care of braces, contact Burke & Redford Orthodontists in Temecula or Lake Elsinore at (951) 699-8011 or fill out the contact form on our website.