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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.  It may take up to a week for your gums and tongue to get comfortable with your new braces.  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**

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.

What happens if I break something?

Always call our office and keep us informed on how you and your braces are doing. We will let you know if you can wait until your next scheduled appointment or if you should come in sooner to have an adjustment made. Always place any pieces in an envelope and bring it in with you. Use the diagram below to help tell us what needs repair.

Broken bracket (use wax if uncomfortable)             Loose band


What can I do if my wire is poking me?

If the wire has come out of the last bracket, you can try to put it back into the tube by directing it with a tweezer.  If the archwire has slid around to one side try using a tweezer to slide it back to it’s original position.

If the wire just seems to be long, first try putting some of the orthodontic wax on it.  If that doesn’t work, you or a parent can cut the wire with a nail clipper at home.  Cut the wire as far back as you can.  If you can’t reach all the way to the back, cut in between two other brackets and pull the end piece of the wire out of the brackets.  We will fix your wire at your next appointment.

If a smaller wire is poking you (not the main archwire), push the end of the wire toward your teeth with either your finger or pencil eraser.  This will move the wire away from your lip or cheek.  You can also put wax over the wire as well.

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!