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Frequently Asked Questions

DAY 1:
The placement of your braces takes about 1-2 hours.  Your braces will feel a little sharp against your lips and gums… kind of like a new pair of dress shoes.  It may take up to a week for your gums and tongue to get comfortable with your new braces.  Don’t worry, we will give you plenty of wax to help get you over the hump. It may also take about a week to learn to talk with them properly.  Singing in the car or the shower is a great way to practice!

The day after getting your braces is the WORST!!!  It only gets better from here I PROMISE!!! Your teeth will be sore as the braces slowly begin to move your teeth.  Tylenol or Advil is the best pain-relieving medicine for discomfort caused by the braces, although you may use any pain reliever to which you are accustomed.  Soft foods are recommended for the first couple of days after your braces are placed.  Remember to brush and floss as directed even though your teeth are sore!

Your teeth should not be as sore as they were initially, and they should start to feel a little loose.  This is an important time for you as a new orthodontic patient.  You must brush, and floss better than ever to keep your teeth and gums clean.  It is essential to establish good brushing habits early!  Remember, clean teeth look better and move faster than teeth with plaque and decay. 

You should notice minor movements and spaces beginning to appear between some of your teeth!  This is to be expected.  Your good brushing and flossing habits should be in full force and you should be getting ready for your first regular check-up.  Good luck and please do not hesitate to call with any questions or concerns!!

A careful orthodontic patient can eat almost any food without damaging his or her braces.  However, there are three types of food that typically cause problems for orthodontic patients and should be avoided. The general rule is to avoid foods that are:

  1. Sticky
  2. Hard
  3. High in Sugar

Sticky Foods:
Taffy, caramels, Jolly Ranchers, Starburst, gummy bears, gummy worms, (anything gummy!), bubblegum, and any additional foods that may be considered sticky or cause orthodontic breakage.

Hard Foods:
Popcorn, caramel, nuts, pretzels, peanut butter, ice, corn-on-the-cob, corn chips, Doritos, hard tacos, uncooked carrots, life-savers, hard candy, pizza crust, hard breads, and anything else that may be considered hard may break your braces.

     Remember: Chewing on pencils, pens, and fingernails can also damage your braces.

Hard Sugar Foods and Drinks:
High sugar foods and drinks like most desserts or soft drinks can cause decay and decalcification (white spots) around your braces.  Unless you can brush your teeth immediately after you have high sugar food and drink, avoid them.


**Remember you MUST continue to see your regular DENTIST for your check-ups and cleanings. We recommend that

you see your DENTIST every 4 months while in orthodontic treatment instead of the normal 6 month check-ups**

First, don’t panic. These materials are meant to be removable. It’s how we can leave you with a beautiful braces free smile at the end of treatment! Sometimes, appliances can break or fall out.

Always call our office to keep us informed of how you and your braces are doing. One of our staff members will be able to let you know if you can wait until your regularly scheduled appointment or if we need to move the appointment up sooner to make adjustments.

If anything breaks or falls out, place the appliance in a plastic sandwich bag or envelope to bring with you to your appointment.

Below is a diagram that will help you tell us what needs repair as well as some commonly seen situations.

        This video from Ortho2 is also a great introduction to orthodontic appliances


See common orthodontic concerns and fixes below (turn sideways if viewing on mobile):


Broken Bracket
Pokey Wire
Loose Band
Pokey Wire
Pokey Wire


Braces Q & A

How do I keep my braces clean?
It is very important to keep your teeth and gingiva (gums) clean during orthodontic treatment.  Bacteria (dental plaque) often sticks to our teeth (especially by the gum line and between the teeth).  Adding brackets to your teeth creates more surfaces that the bacteria can hang on to.  This is why it is so important to brush your teeth regularly and as often as possible after eating.

Make sure to brush along the gums, in addition to the top, side and bottom of the brackets.


What else can I use to keep my teeth clean?
Waterpiks are great products to help wash out food from around brackets. Think of them as small water guns to spray the food off your appliances.  Also proxy brushes are useful for getting food out from behind the wire and are easy to carry with you.  And lastly, flossing is important, and we recommend using orthodontic flossers to help you easily floss under the wires.

Do clean teeth really move faster?
We aren’t trying to trick you into cleaning your teeth (you should want to have nice fresh breath and clean shiny teeth!) but it is true that clean teeth move faster! Why? Plaque and bacteria cause gingival inflammation. Inflammation inhibits bone forming cells that are necessary for tooth movement. Inflammation also creates thicker and larger tissues that the tooth has to move through to straighten out. Inflammation can also cause recession and other periodontal problems that can require costly restorative work later.

I forgot how I'm supposed to wear my elastics
You’re not alone! We’ve complied a group of videos on our YouTube Channel that demonstrate how to wear different types of elastics.Follow the link here:

Also, listed below are some pictures of frequently used techniques. If you’re unsure what technique you should be using or which teeth the elastics need to go on, reach out to our office and we can tell you.

Class I

Class II

Class III

Triangle (Tri)

Crossbite (Xbite)

Do I need a MouthGuard?
MOUTHGUARDS are recommended for patients involved in contact sports.  We recommend Shock Doctor Double Braces Strapless Mouthguard (available at Amazon and other retailers)
How can I get my braces off sooner?
There are four main ways to help get your orthodontic treatment completed as efficiently as possible:

  1. Keeping your appointments and being on time.
  2. Not breaking your appliances. Make sure you are following all of Dr. Katie’s instructions on foods to avoid and how to take care of your braces.
  3. Wearing your elastics and appliances as instructed.
  4. Keeping your teeth and braces clean and healthy and seeing your general dentist for regular check-ups.


What are white spots?
Bacteria in your mouth is an irritant and they create acids that can break down the enamel of the teeth. This can create areas of demineralization (often around a bracket where the bacteria is sitting) which show up as white areas on the teeth.  Unfortunately, they can not be removed without costly restorations.

Full Service Orthodontic Practice

We are always available to talk with you and address your concerns. Please feel free to contact us during the following hours through our office
phone number or e-mail address. After hours, you may contact us through our answering service. Patient’s of record receive
Dr. Katie’s cell phone number and are WELCOME to call or text her with concerns as well!