braces care


braces faq

Will Braces Hurt?

Braces do not hurt when they are bonded to the teeth, so there is no need to be nervous about the placement appointment. We will walk you through each step of the process!

There will be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the newly placed brackets, which may last for a few days to a week. Most patients experience some discomfort the first 4 days to a week after their braces, expanders, and/or wires are placed and after a wire adjustment and/or an activation appointment. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth. Over the counter pain relievers normally taken for headaches, like Advil and Tylenol, can be used to greatly ease the discomfort.

How Often Do I Brush/Floss My Braces?

Keeping your braces clean is one of the most important things you can do during your orthodontic treatment to make sure that you get the healthiest smile when it is time to remove the braces at the end of treatment! Dr. Hammer recommends brushing your braces at least twice a day. When you are brushing, make sure to give yourself enough time as food and plaque can get trapped between and around your braces. Dr. Hammer recommends brushing for at least 2 minutes every time you brush. Set a timer or play a song on your phone to make sure that you are brushing long enough!

To learn more, watch this video. Brushing Your Braces

Flossing is another very important step in keeping your smile healthy throughout your orthodontic journey. Dr. Hammer recommends flossing at least once a day with floss and floss threaders. If you would rather use a Waterpik, you can! A Waterpik is a great investment for your family and is something you can use even after braces are removed to ensure lifelong gum health.

Take your time when you are first learning to floss with the floss threaders. It can be very difficult when you are first learning, but the more you practice, the better you will get!

To learn more, watch this video. Flossing Braces

What Will Happen To My Teeth If I Don’t Brush/Floss?

If you are not flossing/brushing your teeth as Dr. Hammer recommends, there is a chance that you could cause permanent damage to your teeth. If plaque is left around your brackets and next to your gums for too long, it can start to break down the enamel around your braces leaving white marks called decalcification.

If this is left untreated, cavities can form around your braces. Some things you can do to help prevent this is brush three times a day, floss or use a Waterpik at least once a day, limit acidic drinks and beverages, use a fluoride mouth rinse and toothpaste and make sure to visit your dentist for your regular cleanings!

To learn more, watch this video. Decalcification Due to Poor Brushing

Will You Check My Brushing At My Appointments?

At every visit you will be given a grade on your brushing. If there are areas that are missed or need improvement, the True North team will review this with you and help you to improve your brushing/flossing techniques. We will help in any way possible to keep your teeth clean. Please feel free to ask if you have questions about your brushing or flossing. We are always happy to help and want you to succeed.

What Shouldn’t I Eat With Braces?

Your braces are very strong. They are designed to stay on your teeth the entire time of your orthodontic treatment. By following some simple guidelines, you can minimize breakage and maximize treatment. For the first day or so, stick to soft foods until you get used to chewing with braces. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Even when you get completely used to chewing and eating with braces, you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for the duration of treatment. We ask that you avoid eating sticky or hard foods during your orthodontic treatment. Eating these foods can cause damage to the archwires, break brackets, and loosen the bands that hold your expanders and other appliances. Damaged or broken braces, wires and appliances will usually lead to a longer orthodontic treatment time.

Soft drinks, including regular and diet soda pop, fruit drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks weaken tooth enamel because they’re extremely acidic! It is recommended that you avoid soft drinks during your orthodontic treatment so that your teeth stay healthy and strong, and you finish your treatment with a good bite and a healthy, beautiful smile. Some foods you should avoid during your orthodontic treatment include ice, nuts, granola bars, crunchy chips (like corn chips, Doritos & Fritos), hard or sticky candy (taffy, caramels, suckers, Jolly Ranchers & gummy bears), whole apples/raw vegetables (should be cut into smaller bite-size pieces), popcorn, beef jerky, corn on the cob, chicken or meat on the bone and ribs. For whole apples and raw vegetables, cut these into smaller bite size pieces to enjoy. Corn on the cob should be cut off from the cob to eat. Ribs and other meats can be cut off the bone and into bite size pieces to enjoy.

Can I Use An Electric Toothbrush?

Yes, Dr. Hammer recommends using an electric toothbrush! Even though it is electric, you will still need to move the brush around the teeth, gums and braces to make sure that you are thoroughly removing all of the plaque!

How Long Will I Need Braces?

Dr. Hammer customizes every treatment plan based on your smile needs. Dr. Hammer will let you know when you come in for your initial consultation how long she is expecting your orthodontic treatment will take. Of course, this is just an estimate. Some things you can do to make your treatment go faster are keeping your teeth clean and healthy and be very careful to not break a bracket. Every broken bracket during your treatment could potentially add one extra month to your treatment time. Please make sure to come to your scheduled appointments. If you have to move or cancel your appointment and don’t get scheduled again for three months, you can expect your treatment to be about three months longer!

How Often Do I Come In For My Appointments?

We will need to schedule appointments at intervals anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks out, depending on what stage you are at in your orthodontic treatment. Always stop at the front desk after every visit to make a new appointment. Regular orthodontic appointments are necessary for archwire changes, to change the elastic color or metal ties around the braces, to make adjustments to the braces, and to monitor orthodontic treatment progress. Braces work by gradually moving the teeth into a new and proper alignment, so gentle activations may be applied during your regular adjustment visits. The first several days after an orthodontic adjustment may be slightly uncomfortable but remember that this discomfort will improve after a few days.

How Do I Wear A Mouthguard With My Braces?

We highly recommend wearing a mouthguard with your braces if you are in a contact sport or activity. Not only does it protect your braces from breaking off your teeth if you get hit, but it also protects your cheeks and lips from being injured by your braces. At True North Orthodontics we have complimentary Sisu mouthguards for you to have! Just let us know at your next appointment if you need one! Need help forming it around your braces? Watch this video below!

It is very important that if you purchase a mouthguard that it is labeled “for braces” or “for use with orthodontic appliances.”

What Do I Do If Something Breaks?

If your braces, wires or appliance break please text us or give us a call to let us know! Most orthodontic emergencies can be fixed at home with a fingernail clipper or wax! Please call the office if you or your child is in severe pain or cannot open and/or close their mouth.

Have an issue? Click this link to watch our “problem solved” videos!

Do I Still Need To See My Dentist After I Get My Braces?

You still need to see your dentist every 6 months for cleanings and dental exams even though you have your braces on. It is important to keep your teeth clean throughout your treatment.

How Do I Use Orthodontic Wax?

You may get a few sores on the inside of your cheeks throughout treatment. This is normal and you should expect this to happen until your mouth gets used to the braces. If a bracket is bothering you or if you have a poking wire, roll the wax into a pea-sized ball and push it over the wire or bracket. Doing this will create a protective barrier that will help your sore to heal. You can also rinse with warm salt water to help with the healing process.

To learn more, watch this video. Orthodontic Wax