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Frequently Asked Questions



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PLEASE NOTE: If something is loose or broken, please call us during office hours to determine if an earlier appointment would be needed. Place any piece that comes off into an envelope and bring it in with you to your next scheduled appointment. In the unlikely event that you experience abnormal or unmanageable discomfort, not remedied by Tylenol or Motrin, please call us immediately.


Q: Can I floss with braces?

A: Yes! Follow these easy steps:

  1. Insert floss behind archwire

  2. Gently clean sides of teeth and under gums with an up-and-down

  3. Floss between all teeth once a day

Q: How do I brush my teeth with braces?

A: Follow these easy steps:

  1. Use a soft toothbrush

  2. Start brushing on the upper right

  3. Brush above and below the braces using a small circular motion

  4. Slowly work your brush toward the front teeth and over to the let

  5. Then brush the insides and biting surfaces. Take your time

  6. Starting on the right side brush the outside of the lower teeth

  7. Using the circular brushing motion brush above and below the
    braces until the teeth and braces are sparking clean

  8. Move the brush slowly toward the front and left side

  9. Then brush the insides and tops of teeth

Q: How can I prevent problems with my braces?

A: These are some common behaviors that can affect the quality of your braces:

Biting Ice causes loose brackets

Chewing caramel causes loose bands

Biting whole apples causes displaced brackets

Chewing pens or pencils causes bent archwires and/or loose brackets

Q: What foods and drinks should I avoid?

A: These foods can break your braces:

  • Nuts

  • Popcorn

  • Hard candy

  • Picking

  • Crunchy Foods

  • Gum

Drinking sodas, while you have braces, may cause permanent damage to your teeth.

Q: Is there anything I can do to shorten my treatment time?

A: Follow these four steps:

  1. ​Keeping your appointment and being on time. Each missed appointment can lengthen treatment time by about month.

  2. Not breaking your appliances. Broken appliances can stop or reverse the treatment progress. Please be sure to wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth and braces when participating in contact sports. Extensive repairs may require an appointment during school or work hours.

  3. Wearing Your Elastics and Appliances as Instructed. Your smile will not improve if instructions are not followed.

  4. Keeping Your Teeth and Braces Clean. Your efforts should be focused on designing your new smile, not on unhealthy teeth and gums. Clean teeth and healthy gums adjust to treatment faster.

Q: I have a loose bracket, what do I do?

A: If the bracket or band is still attached to wire, leave it in place. If uncomfortable, cover with wax. If it comes out completely, bring it with you to the next appointment. Call for an appointment. DO NOT CONNECT HEADGEAR OR ELASTICS TO A LOOSE BAND.

Q: I have a loose band or a lost tie or elastic wire, what do I do?

A: Please call us to ask if an appointment is necessary. Notify the assistant at your next appointment.

Q: My headgear or appliance doesn't fit, what do I do?

A: Call for an appointment.

Q: I'm experiencing soreness from my braces, what do I do?

A: Rinse the month with warm salt water. If necessary take the pain reliever that you would use for a headache or similar discomfort.

Q: The wire is out of the tube, what do I do?

A: Try to place wire back into tube with tweezers. Place wax if uncomfortable, call for an appointment.

Q: The archwire has rotated, what do I do?

A: Try to slide wire back around to the other side. If unsuccessful, place wax on wire and call for an appointment.

Q: The tire wire is poking, what do I do?

A: Bend wire back with a spoon or pencil eraser. If unsuccessful, cover with wax and call for an appointment.

Q: The arch is poking, what do I do?

A: Cover with wax or wet cotton. Call for an appointment.

Q: I've been involved in an accident involving my teeth, what do I do?

A: Call your dentist or orthodontist immediately.



PLEASE NOTE: In the unlikely event that you experience abnormal or unmanageable discomfort, not remedied by Tylenol or Motrin, please call us immediately.

Q: Are there any dietary restrictions with Invisalign?

A: Nope! Continue to enjoy all of your favorite foods and drinks, as long as you take your aligners out first. However, drinking hot beverages while wearing your Invisalign may cause deformities to the aligners.

Q: How can I keep my trays clean?

A: Rinse your aligners every night and brush them gently with your toothbrush.

Q: How often do I need new trays?

A: Each set of aligners are to be worn for 1-2 weeks. Check up appointments are to be scheduled every 6-8 weeks. Some discomfort or pressure experienced within the first few days is normal. For severe pain, call for an appoitment.

Q: How can I track the progress of my Invisalign?

A: Invisalign has a mobile app, My Invisalign, where you can see what your new smile could look like, learn more about Invisalign, use the appointment tracker, receive reminders, and view and share.


Post-Treatment Retainers

CONGRATULATIONS! You did the work and earned your beautiful smile; here's what to do to keep it for life!

Q: What type of retainers are available?

A: All retainers are custom made and can be removed or fixed if needed. We work with every patient to ensure they are choosing the retainer that best fits them. Here are the options:

Q: How long do I have to wear my retainers for?

A: We recommend continuous night time wear, every night, to prevent displacement of teeth. Teeth have the tendency to revert back to their previous conditions without the assistance of retainers. Frequent retainer check appointments are highly recommended as well as consistent wearing to keep your teeth in their new position.

Q: How do I take care of my retainers?

A: For removable retainers, always take your retainer out of your mouth before cleaning. To keep your retainer fresh, brush gently with cold water and toothpaste. Hot water will distort it. About once a week, soak it in denture cleaner.

For fixed retainers, brush around or gently over with cold water. Always floss around the retainer.


The best way to not lose or break your retainer is by keeping it in your mouth or case. If your retainer does get lost, broken, or does not fit anymore, please schedule an appointment.

Hawley Retainer

Hawley (Traditional)

  • Metal wire, surrounding the front teeth, that is attached to an acrylic arch where it sits on the roof of the mouth and can be removed

  • The wire allows the retainer to be adjusted as needed

Essex Aligner style retainer

Essix (Aligner-Style)

  • A clear alternative to wire retainers

  • Can be removed

Bonded retainer

Banded Bar (Fixed)

  • Wires bonded to the top and/or bottom teeth that are kept in for years

  • Immediately make an appointment to get your fixed retainers repaired if they become detached or broken

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