Frequently Asked Questions
What should I eat while I have braces?
How can I keep my braces clean?
Life With Braces
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line and on your brackets and wires. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, including between teeth, on the surface of each tooth and around each bracket and wire. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After dinner
- At bedtime
It is very important to floss between your teeth every day. A floss threader with a stiff end will help you push the floss under your archwire. Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.
What to Eat:
For the most part, you’ll be able to eat many of the same foods you’ve eaten before. The general rule is to avoid things that are hard, sticky, gummy or chewy, to prevent breaking the bond that holds the brackets on the teeth.
Click HERE for a more detailed list that you can print.
If you break a bracket or bend/break your wire, place the bracket in an envelope so you can bring it to the office. In the event of a broken bracket, you should call the office to let us know and schedule an appointment for our next business day. If you have an appointment already scheduled, please call us anyway, as your appointment will need to be adjusted to make time for the repair.
For a poking wire, bend it carefully, moving it away from your cheek, and cover the end with some wax (which we’ll be happy to provide). Wax can also be purchased in the dental section of your local drug store.
First Few Days
- Soreness is common for the first few days
- Ibuprofen or Tylenol can help with relief - take as needed
- It will take about a week for your mouth to adjust and get use to the braces
Orthodontic Wax and Mouth Rinses
- You may develop irritation as you adjust to the braces
- Wax can be used to help make the brackets feel smooth or to cover a poking wire
- Wax is always available at our brushing stations
- Rincinol can be used to heal and soothe irritation
- Brush for at least 3 minutes, 3 times a day
- Brush after each meal if possible
- Massage gums in a gentle, circular motion
- Make sure to get all the angles around the brackets and teeth and along the gumline
- We recommend an electric toothbrush and waterpik
Plaque HD Toothpaste
- Place a small amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush - brush normally.
- Continue to look in the mirror as you are brushing, making sure to remove all traces of green/teal color.
- Once you've thoroughly brushed and rinsed, the color will be brushed away and so will the plaque!
- Smile and feel confident you have done a great job brushing!
- Thread the floss through the floss threader
- Use the threader to pull the floss behind the wire and between the teeth
- Floss between each tooth
- Flossing once a day, everyday will help keep gum tissues from swelling and reduce the risk of decalcification
Other Helpful Tools To Help With Oral Hygiene
- Proxy brushes are helpful for those “hard to reach” areas that your toothbrush can’t get to
- Disclosing tablets are helpful to see areas you may need to focus more on while brushing
- Fluoride helps prevent demineralization
- Rinse for 1 minute after brushing and flossing, 2 times a day
- Do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after rinsing to allow the fluoride to work
- This is PERMANENT tooth damage caused by poor oral hygiene, sugary foods, and drinking acidic beverages.
- Drinking too many acidic drinks or drinks with a lot of sugar in them can cause tooth decay and decalcification
What to Expect
- To get the correction desired, you will need to wear your aligners all day and all night
- Take them out to eat, drink and brush
- The only thing you should drink with your trays in is water
- Expect the trays to feel tight for the first few days when switching to a new tray
- You may experience some soreness initially- eating softer foods may help
- Take Tylenol or ibuprofen as needed
- Attachments - small tooth colored anchors designed to have more control on teeth for certain movement types
- IPR (Interproximal Reduction)- a type of polishing we do in office to help create extra room around specific teeth to allow for desired movement.
Inserting your Invisalign® Aligners
- When placing your aligners, start at the front and work your way back. Gently push your aligners down onto your teeth.
- Do not bite your aligners in place, this can cause your aligners to bend or break
- Use chewies to “seat” tray completely
- Use especially when switching to a new tray
- Place between teeth with trays in and hold for 10 seconds
- Move to a new location and hold
- Use 3-4 times a day until tray seats fully
- These are reusable
Removing Your Aligners
- Before removing trays please wash or sanitize hands!
- Begin at the back of your mouth. Use your fingernail on the inside of the tray (along the roof of your mouth) catch the top edge of tray and pull in a downward motion.
- This will release the tray. Do this on both sides and pull down and forward gently over each tooth and attachment.
- Clean your aligners on a daily basis using your toothbrush and water. You may also use the cleaning crystals that come with the Invisalign® start up kit.
- Always wash hands before removing trays
- Rinse your aligners with water as soon as they are removed throughout the day
- Please keep them safe in the case when they are not in your mouth
- If the doctor asks you to wear elastics please wear them as instructed - either all the time or just at night
- If you are not wearing them as instructed it may delay treatment
- If you break your elastic buttons or carriere appliance please stop wearing the rubber bands on both sides until we are able to repair
- Please call and let us know if it is broken so we can get it repaired!
- We can send you elastic in the mail anytime if you need more!
Lost/Broken Tray/Attachment Broke?
- If you break or lose current tray please move to next set of trays (example - lose tray 5 in the top, move to tray 6 in the top and bottom)
- If tray is not seating/fitting please call office for further instruction
- If an attachment breaks or comes off in tray please stay in current tray and let the office know. Do not keep advancing in trays until attachment is put back on. Please bring current tray to next appointment to fix attachment
- There will be 1 to 2 refinements through your treatment where you will wear the same trays for about 6 weeks before receiving your new ones
- We will remove attachments, take new pictures and a 3D scan so the doctors can design a new plan and new trays
When should a child have an orthodontic evaluation?
Why is it important to select an orthodontist?
What causes orthodontic problems?
Can adults benefit from orthodontic treatment?
Why is orthodontic treatment so important?
How long will orthodontic treatment take?
Eating with Braces
- Avoid sticky and chewy foods like Gummy Bears, Laffy Taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Caramels, etc.
- Avoid hard and crunchy foods like Jolly Ranchers, popcorn, ice
- Modify foods such as whole apples, raw vegetables, corn on the cob, jerky, etc.
- Avoid chewing on pens, pencils, and biting fingernails
At Home Care
- Broken brackets sometimes need to be fixed right away. Other times they can wait until your next visit. Call our office if a bracket comes loose and we will walk you through the necessary steps
- Most minor problems can be fixed at home. Our website has great tips to help if you aren’t able to call or get in right away
- Most things ARE NOT an Emergency - emergencies include not being able to open or close your mouth or extreme irritation due to braces
Your General Dentist
- It is important to wear a mouthguard when participating in sports
- We provide a special mouthguard that fits over the braces
- We don’t want you wearing a “form-fitted” mouthguard because of the movements that are going on while in braces
We understand emergencies come up. As a courtesy to all our patients, if you are late we can only see you for the amount of time left of your scheduled appointment.
You will lose points on your smile club card if you break more than 3 brackets during your treatment.
Please follow this link to check out your points on our rewards hub!
PT REWARDS HUB