You are on your way to making an informed decision about the right orthodontic solution for you! Remember, every orthodontic case is unique, just like every patient is unique. Use the options below to learn more about answers to common questions regarding braces and orthodontic solutions.
- First Days With Braces
- Eating With Braces
- Brushing Teeth With Braces
- Oral Hygiene and Braces
- Flossing With Braces
- Common Problems (Non-Emergencies)
First Days With Braces
You are one step closer to a beautiful smile! We’ve developed this page as a resource to help you get adjusted to life with braces. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us.
Immediately after your bonding appointment, when we initially glue the brackets onto your teeth, we recommend that you start taking over-the-counter analgesics (i.e. Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen) and follow the dosing instructions on the bottle. Research studies show that you will likely experience a minor, dull, or achy discomfort a few hours after your appointment. This minor discomfort peaks at about a day after the appointment and gradually decreases over the next few days. During this time we recommend that you eat soft foods. Your teeth should feel completely normal about a week after your bonding appointment.
Some other things to expect during your initial days with braces:
It is not uncommon for some teeth to feel loose once they start to move. They will go back to normal once they have reached their intended position.
The braces and wire may rub against your lips and cheeks causing some irritation. Use the wax we provided and/or rinse with warm salt water. After a few days your cheeks will get used to the braces and wires and you will no longer experience irritation.
A bracket or two may come off after the initial bonding or during treatment. It is almost always not an emergency and can generally wait to be fixed. Use wax for temporary relief and give us a call to let us know.
Sometimes we glue material onto your teeth to change your bite slightly when the braces come on. Also, once your teeth start moving your bite may feel a bit different. This is completely normal and part of treatment.
Eating With Braces
Yes, you may eat during orthodontic treatment! It may surprise you that most foods can still be eaten after braces are placed on your teeth.
The wrong types of food or eating the right kinds of food improperly can cause food to get caught in your braces, stick to braces, loosen braces, or bend wires.
Refrain from eating hard, chewy, or sticky foods. The following is a list of the most common foods to avoid:
- Corn on the cob
- Hard carrots
- Biting meat off ribs or bones (cut meat off instead)
- Cereals with nuts/granola
- Any type of nut (other than thinly sliced)
- Popcorn (because unpopped kernels and husks stick in gums)
- Candy (hard chocolate, chewy gummy bears, etc.)
- Any whole hard fruit (cut them into pieces instead)
- Large pieces of any meat (cut into small slices)
- Hard crusty bread, including pizza crusts
- Most hard cookies
- Chewing on pencils
- “Nutty” peanut butter
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Brushing Teeth With Braces
Oral Hygiene and Braces
Maintaining good oral hygiene without braces is no easy task and requires a lot of diligence. It is important to clean inside your mouth for two main reasons:
- To protect your teeth against cavities, and
- To protect your gums against gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis)
Once braces are glued to the teeth, the task becomes more challenging since the braces tend to accumulate food and plaque. More dedication to oral hygiene is required than before.
We inspect your teeth and gums at every appointment. Healthy gums appear pink and symmetrical. Unhealthy gums appear red, swollen, and irregular. Clean teeth are free of debris whereas teeth not properly cleaned have visible plaque formation. If plaque is left on a tooth long enough it may cause a white opaque discolouration on the tooth, which is the start of a cavity.
Tips for Achieving and Maintaining a Clean Mouth with Braces
- Bring a pocket toothbrush with you wherever you go so that you can brush your teeth after every meal.
- If you cannot brush your teeth after a meal, make sure you remove debris by swishing with water.
- Use a waterpik to help remove debris and irrigate your gums. It is not a substitute for flossing, but definitely helps.
- If you have problems using the floss threaders, we suggest using the Platypus Orthodontic Flossers. We have given you a sample of these in your oral hygiene kit.
- GUM® Soft-Picks® are also very helpful to clean between your teeth, especially those at the back.
- If your gums show signs of puffiness, rinse with warm salt-water twice daily (one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water).
- Fluoride rinses used once daily are very helpful in protecting against cavities.
- Use the instructions on this website as a resource. If something is unclear, please ask us. We are here to help.
Flossing With Braces
Using a toothbrush and Waterpik® can clean most, but not all, of your tooth surfaces. Accessing the entire side surfaces of your teeth is generally only possible with dental floss. Since the archwire blocks a piece of floss from gaining access between the teeth, a threader is often required to loop the floss around the wire.
It is important to floss at least once daily. The ideal time to floss is at night before going to bed. Flossing is time consuming but it becomes easy and routine once you get the hang of it. If you are struggling to find time for flossing, we recommend that you pair it with an activity such as watching TV or listening to music.
Sometimes brackets can become loose during treatment. It should not hurt but may feel a little ‘different’ than normal as the bracket will just be sitting on the wire. Usually there is no immediate rush to fix a broken bracket, and can often be fixed at your next appointment. You should always advise us prior to your appointment if you have a broken bracket so we are prepared and allot enough time for the repair.
When teeth are moving along the wire and we are closing a significant amount of space between your teeth, the wire sometimes seems to “grow,” and can poke your cheek in the back of your mouth. While we do our best to bend the wire to avoid such poking, sometimes it does occur. You can try taking nail clippers (cleaned before putting them in your mouth!) and clipping the wire to save you a trip to our office, but if you are not comfortable doing so, please text us and we will bring you in to clip the wire as soon as we can. In the meantime, we recommend using the wax provided in your braces kit for temporary relief.
Sometimes appliances such as fixed expanders or space maintainers can become loose (or even fall out) after they are in the mouth for a prolonged period of time. If the appliance falls out leave it out of your mouth! Do NOT attempt to re-insert it. If you notice just one side is loose, leave it in place and don’t pull it out! Let us know, and we will schedule you in to recement the appliance.
It is not uncommon for teeth to feel loose once they begin to move. Teeth will settle and go back to normal once they have reached their intended position. This is not an emergency or a problem. If you have any concerns, you can text or email us.
Sore Lips and/or Cheeks
The braces and wire may rub against your lips and cheeks causing some irritation, especially at the beginning of treatment when your mouth is getting used to the brackets. Use the wax we provided in your braces kit, and rinse with warm salt water. After a few days your cheeks will get used to the braces and wires and you will no longer experience irritation. If it persists for more than a few days, please let us know.
Sometimes ‘Bite Turbos’ are glued to the biting surfaces of your teeth to prevent full closure of the teeth. This is to inhibit the top teeth from biting on the lower brackets. It changes your bite slightly and may make your bite may feel a little bit different. This is completely normal and part of treatment.
A true orthodontic emergency is very rare, but we are here to help you if you experience any problem with your braces.
The wax we provided you with at your initial bonding is a very important tool. Make sure you always have a good portion of it remaining. If you begin to run low, please let us know and we will give you more.
For more minor orthodontic problems (broken brackets, poking wires or loose appliances), please text our office at 289.205.4999 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org along with a picture of the problem, and we will schedule you accordingly
In the event that you are in significant pain outside of office hours and feel that you have an emergency involving swelling, bleeding or infection that can’t wait until our office is open, please contact an Emergency Dental Clinic
Please see our Common Problems tab for non-emergency information.
When considering orthodontic treatment, we want you to make an informed decision. Dr. Walt and our treatment coordinator will discuss the entire orthodontic process during your complimentary consultation, but feel free to peruse some educational content we have put together.