Care and Use of Your Appliances
There are many orthodontic appliances that may be used as part of your treatment. In this section, you will find care and use instructions for various orthodontic appliances. If you have questions, or to make an appointment with Dr. Phil Santucci, please contact Santucci Orthodontics at 480-948-8618.

Elastics move the teeth in a direction that cannot be accomplished with braces alone. Your teeth and jaws may be tender the first few days of wearing the elastics. This is normal and should begin to disappear within a week. If your soreness persists longer, please call our office. Rinsing with warm salt water will help take away the tenderness.

Attaching your elastics may seem hard initially. However, with a little time and patience, you will be able to accomplish your task easily.

Elastic wear must be constant to be effective – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless otherwise indicated. You may remove the elastics only when eating your meals or brushing your teeth. Leave them in during snacking. Be sure to replace the elastics immediately following mealtime and brushing. Part-time wear does NOT move teeth, but it does cause them to be constantly sore.

Change the elastics daily even if they are not broken. After a while, elastics lose their strength. Carry extra elastics with you at all times. If you don’t have enough elastics to last until your next appointment, please stop by our office and pick more up or call us and we can send more to you. We don’t want you to run out.

Elastic wear is an important key to the speed of your treatment and the final results we can achieve. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns.

Rapid Palatal Expander
Rapid Palatal Expansion (RPE) is for patients whose upper jaw is narrow. Your rapid palatal expander gently widens the upper arch (palate) by stretching the center palatal connective suture. Once widened, the suture knits together. The rapid palatal expander is prescribed only prior to completion of growth. A parent or the patient adjusts the rapid palatal expander daily as instructed, until the palate has been widened enough.

Before the rapid palatal expander feels comfortable, the patient may sense some initial pressure and expect:

  • To feel a tingling or itch under the expander
  • To feel a tingling sensation across the bridge of the nose
  • To feel pressure in the cheek area

A special key is used to activate the rapid palatal expander:

  • Insert the key into the key slot; the key will not touch the roof of the mouth
  • Push the key all the way from front to back. Look for the next hole to rotate forward enough so you will be able to place the key into the next hole to turn your rapid palatal expander
  • Turn as you have been instructed
  • Remove the key

Remember, when brushing:

  • Use a regular toothbrush
  • Brush as usual
  • Use a water rinse to flush under the expander
  • The use of a Waterpik is helpful to dislodge food that can become caught in the expander.

Removing braces signals the start of the retention and observation period of your orthodontic care. Please remember that this part of your orthodontic treatment is just as important as the active movement phase in determining the ultimate success of your treatment. Once the teeth have been moved into their desired positions, a period of time is needed to stabilize the teeth so that the surrounding bone and soft tissue can conform to your new dental alignment. When braces are removed, it is a good time to review several important aspects of care.

Patients in the retention phase are seen periodically in our office during the first year after braces

are removed. Patients will continue to see the orthodontist until he feels they can be dismissed from treatment. It is then the patient’s responsibility to wear a retainer as prescribed. Please call our office if you have any concerns regarding your retainer.

Typically, retainers are worn 12 hours daily for the first three months, thereafter while sleeping. A bonded retainer may be used on the inside of the lower front teeth and in some cases on the inside of the upper front teeth. This bonded retainer will be worn indefinitely as long as there are no problems with oral hygiene. If a decision to remove your bonded retainer is made, a removable retainer may be fabricated and will be worn while sleeping.

For lasting success from orthodontic treatment:

  • Wear your retainer as prescribed.
  • Don’t let your retainer get bent or otherwise damaged.
  • Call for a repair appointment if your retainer is damaged or loosened.
  • Keep your retainer clean. Effordent, Polydent or white vinegar soaks may help remove deposits
  • from the retainer.
  • Keep your retainer in its case when not being worn.
  • Be committed to maintaining your beautiful smile.

For more information about orthodontic appliances and to schedule your appointment with our board-certified orthodontist, please contact Santucci Orthodontics today.