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Life With Braces

Your treatment at Carlson Orthodontics may only take half the time it would take at other orthodontic practices, but there are still a few things you should know about wearing braces. For the most part, wearing braces won’t change your daily life, but here are some helpful guidelines to help you make your time in braces the best it can be.


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

Brushing the brackets and wires can cause your toothbrush to wear more quickly than before braces. If you notice the bristles starting to bend or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste as you brush, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.


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.

Home Care

General Soreness:

Sometimes you’ll feel some soreness as your teeth move - especially right after an orthodontic appointment.Some Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen will do the trick. You can also get some relief by having a cold drink. As a matter of fact, this is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a milkshake and tell ‘em Dr. Carlson and Dr. Hammer said so:-).

Broken Bracket:

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.

Loose Wire:

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.