Chikes Orthodontics
150 W Fulton St, Ephrata, PA 17522
201 N Carpenter St, Schaefferstown, PA 17088
900 A Centerville Road, Lancaster, PA 17603

How Do I Care For My Braces?



Elasctic Braces - orthodontist in Lancaster, PA
Elastics or rubber bands provide an important force in moving your teeth into proper position. When they are not, no progress is made toward completion of treatment. Please follow the instructions below for maximum progress with elastics.
  • Elastics should be worn twenty four hours a day, unless you have been told otherwise.
  • Remove them only when you brush your teeth or eat meals, then put them back immediately.
  • Carry extra elastics with you all the time. If one breaks you can replace it immediately.
  • Should you lose them or run low, please stop by the office and pick up a new supply, or call and we can mail some.
  • Sometime teeth are sore when elastics are first begun, usually this soreness lasts only a few days. Wearing elastics irregularly increases soreness and makes teeth harder to move.
  • Elastics lose their strength the longer they are worn. Please put fresh elastics on each twelve hours
  • Your elastics may be difficult to place on your braces at first. Placing them will be easier after you practice for a few days.
  • If, for some reason, you cannot wear your elastics as you have been instructed, please call our office for an appointment in order that we might help you.



Normally your teeth will fit snugly, one against the other. We often find we have to move those teeth, particularly the back teeth (molars) apart, to make room for your braces. To make it easier for you, before placing your fixed appliances, we may have to make space between your back teeth so the bands are more easily placed around those teeth.

Small springs and little plastic modules, shaped like a small doughnut, are two types of separators we use. Once in place they gently move certain teeth slightly apart to allow us to accurately place bands at your next appointment.

Yes, we know this will cause you some temporary soreness but that goes away in a few days. Don't despair!
Rinsing with warm salt water can help relieve this soreness. Possibly the best relief comes from your normal chewing with these teeth. Chewing will speed your teeth to feeling normal again.

After a few days your teeth will feel comfortable again as they get accustomed to being slightly apart. That wee space means your bands can be fitted easily and in the place that best aids your future correction.

If you lose a separator, call us and come in so we can replace it. We need to hold that space we have created until your next appointment in order to place your bands in the most comfortable manner for you.

It's up to you! Please be sure that you:
  • Watch your eating habits
  • Inform us if you lose a separator so we can replace it quickly
  • Floss daily between all teeth except those where separators are placed.
  • Keep your appointments so progress is steady


Your Palatal Expander

You have been fitted with a special appliance to widen your upper jaw. When this appliance is turned each day, the two halves of your upper jaw gradually move apart. Listed below are some items of information, along with instructions that you will need while wearing this appliance.

  • The appliance is cemented to your teeth. Please don't eat ice and avoid hard, crunchy foods that will loosen or break this appliance. Cut back on soda's as the carbonation may break down the cement. Do not eat sticky, gooey foods that may get stuck in the appliance.
  • Your appliance will need to be turned once each morning as instructed by the Doctor.
  • Good vision and lighting is important. If necessary lie down with your chin elevated and mouth open. Use a flashlight for better vision. Insert the key and push back toward the throat until the key stops. You should see the next hole. Remove the key from the back.
  • In a few days, a space will develop between the two upper front teeth. This is normal and the space will close over the next few weeks.
  • Advil or Motrin are recommended as needed for the first few days.
  • Food may become stuck under the appliance. After meals, rinsing and excellent oral hygiene is very important.
  • The expansion is completed in about 3-4 weeks. However, the appliance does stay in your mouth for approximately 3-4 months. It is very important to keep regularly scheduled appointments, so we may check the appliance.
  • If you have any problems or complications with the appliance, discontinue turning and call our office for an appointment.


Your Mara Appliance

Young Lady Smiling - orthodontist in Lancaster, PA
  • You need to make a conscious effort to bite into a forward position with your lower jaw until your muscles become accustom to this new position.
  • At first you may bite your cheeks, this will lessen with time.
  • You may have difficulty eating for about 4-10 days, and you will need to bite on your front teeth. Cut all your food into small pieces at first, to keep chewing to a minimum.
  • At first you may have puffy looking cheeks, this will disappear over the next several weeks.
  • You may experience soreness in the cheek area, this will subside in a few days as the tissue toughens and forms a callous. (Orabase or Vitamin E is recommended for this type of problem).
  • The elbow on the top can become loose or come off. If this occurs, save it and bring it with you when you come to have it repaired.
  • It is important that you maintain exellent oral hygiene. You have to make sure your appliance is clear of all food and debris. A water pik may aid in this effort.

Head Gear

Headgear Wear
Headgear treatment is used for patients where the upper teeth or jaw are too far forward. Because the headgear tends to retard or hold back the upper jaw in its forward growth, it allows the lower jaw to catch up simply by developing at its natural rate during the period of active facial growth.

For patients who are not growing, the headgear is used to help hold the molars back as the front teeth are being pulled back. Please read the following instructions for wear of your headgear.

Headgear Instructions
You have now been fitted with your headgear, and this step begins an important part of your treatment. The headgear should be worn faithfully as instructed in order that we might achieve maximum correction of your teeth. Here is some information regarding your headgear:

  • When placing or removing the facebow (the wire part) use patience and gentle force. This will prevent loosening the cement and the band that is attached to your teeth.
  • Wear the headgear fourteen hours during each twenty four hour day unless you have been told otherwise. Wear the headgear all night and every night! If you must miss a night, you will be expected to make up those hours on the weekend.
  • Some temporary discomfort may be experienced during the first night or two. Molar teeth may become tender and even a little loose. Falling asleep may be difficult, so take two aspirin if you wish. Teeth will also be sore for a few minutes after removing the headgear in the morning.
  • Do not wear your headgear while engaging in ""rough-housing"" or active sports. Serious damage could result in your face and jaw.
  • Bring your headgear to every appointment, even emergency appointments, so that it can be adjusted.
  • Use the case provided to store your headgear and bring it to our office.
  • Please write your name, address, and phone number on your case so that it can be returned to you if lost.
  • The headgear straps are fitted at first with very light forces. If it is too loose and comes off, you may tighten it by wearing the strap on the righter notch.

Retainer Wear

Today, you have completed the active phase of your orthodontic treatment and you begin the phase of treatment called retention. To retain means to hold. The retention phase of orthodontic treatment iso ne of the most important parts of your treatment. Once your teeth have been placed where we want them, your retainer will hold them in their new position, allowing the tissues and bony support to return to a normal and stable condition. If your teeth were not retained following orthodontic movement, they would tend to move back to their normal positions. Much time and effort has gone into the correction of your malocclusion, in order to give you a healthy and attractive smile. It is now your responsibility to maintain this result. Only with proper patient cooperation can a treated malocclusion remain corrected.

  • Appliances of this nature are delicate and must be handled with extreme care.
  • It takes a little while to adjust to the appliance. At first it may be a little annoying. Do not become concerned. Everyone experiences the same thing. Just do your best.
  • All appliances should be worn 24 hours a day, unless specifically instructed to do otherwise. This means that the appliance should be worn while sleeping.
  • Get a book and read aloud for one half hour as soon as possible after receiving the appliance. If this is done conscientiously, there will be no difficulty as far as talking is concerned.
  • The appliance should be brushed with a tooth brush after eating with cold water and mild dish detergent. While washing the appliance, do not hold the wires on the appliance. Hold the plastic only.
  • Before returning the appliance to the mouth, place tooth paste on the thumb or forefinger and massage all of that part of the mouth upon which the appliance rests. Rinse the mouth and replace the wet appliance. Never place a dry appliance in the mouth.
  • If the appliance is worn as instructed, it will not break nor will you lose it. If it breaks beyond repair or is lost, you will be made a new one at an additional charge.
  • Retainers: The upper retainer is removable. The only reason it is removable is so you can thoroughly clean your teeth and retainer after meals. The only time your retainer ...
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