Life with Braces

Life with Braces

It doesn’t mean things change completely!




Keeping your Smile Healthy with Braces

Appliances and braces create small edges, nooks, and crannies for food deposits and plaque buildup, which can lead to cavities and gum concerns. This makes brushing and flossing even more important while you are wearing braces or an orthodontic appliance. When you brush and floss, handle appliances carefully so you don’t break or loosen them.

Home Care Habits

Proper brushing cannot be achieved without a proper toothbrush! We recommend a soft, nylon brush with round bristle ends. The soft nature of the bristled ends coming into contact with the sharp edges of the brackets will cause the bristles to wear. Patients who undergo comprehensive treatment will receive an Oral-B Pro-Health toothbrush, to ensure you have the proper tools. We recommend brushing twice a day, and after every meal. You can see if you’ve done a good job by looking at your brackets! If the brackets are shiny, and you can see all of the bracket, you’ve brushed well. If the brackets look dull, or the brackets look fuzzy, more time may need to be spent with your toothbrush.

Most people prefer to use toothpaste while brushing their teeth. We recommend toothpaste; however, it is the time and technique that ensures your teeth are clean. Toothpaste applies fluoride to the enamel on teeth, making them stronger. When selecting a toothpaste, please choose one with fluoride that has been approved by the American Dental Association. Colgate, Crest, Aim, and Gleem are all good options for toothpaste.

33% of your teeth aren’t cleaned when you brush alone. We strongly recommend flossing to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Ask one of our dental assistants for floss threaders to floss with braces. They would love to give you a demonstration! We recommend flossing once a day.

 Bacterial plaque, which is always present in the mouth, works with the foods we eat to form acids. The acid works against the healthy tissues of the mouth, and can cause: dental decay, poor gum health, and permanent white “scarring” of the tooth surface called decalcification. We encourage brushing your teeth as soon as you’re finished eating. If you aren’t close to a toothbrush, swishing your mouth vigorously with water to remove larger food particles will slow down bacterial plaque formation.

Foods than cannot be cleaned off the braces may lead to discoloration and decay of your teeth. Even though our braces and wires are metal, they are fragile and are usually damaged by eating the wrong foods, thus taking us longer to finish treatment.

Life with braces doesn’t mean your diet has to change completely! Here is your guideline for what to look for.

Great snacks for those in orthodontic treatment include:

Thin  Chips
Tortilla Roll Ups
Fruit Sauces
Cucumber Slices
Cooked or Sliced Broccoli and Califlower

Absolutely No Gum, Sticky, or Hard Foods such as:

No Gum of any kind
Carmels or Sticky Candy
Carmeled Apples
Gummy Bears
Pizza Crusts
Hard Pretzels
Thick Cut and Tortilla Chips
Whole Apples (Cut or Cooked OK)
Carrots (Cut or Cooked OK)
Corn on the Cob (Cut off the Cob OK)
Beef Jerky


Minimize sugar from foods and drinks such as:

Ice Cream
Foods containing a lot of  Sugar
Energy Drinks
Drinks containing a lot of  Sugar



Please avoid chewing on pens, pencils & fingernails!

What should I do for….

After placement of your braces, you may experience soreness for one to three days after the appointment. This is a normal response, and may be a little uncomfortable. Taking a mild over-the-counter pain reliever will ease the soreness or pain. Call our office if you have any questions.

If you’re experiencing loose teeth with your appliance, this is part of the movement of the teeth, and slightly loose is a good thing! However, if teeth are excessively loose, call our office to discuss treatment options and further action.

If a band or a wire is popping loose, we recommend giving our office a call for further direction. While waiting for the appointment, use a blunt object such as a pencil top eraser or a Q-tip to push the wire back into place. Cover with orthodontic wax if it continues to irritate the tissue, and call our office with any questions, or tips to relieve discomfort.

When you’ve finished your treatment with braces, you will receive a retainer. Your retainer will hold your teeth in their new place, so it is important you wear them exactly as directed. Dr. Cermin will ask you to wear it full-time for the first year, and then nightly thereafter. If you don’t wear it, your teeth may start to move back to where there they were originally.

When you remove your retainer, rinse it and place it in its case. Never wrap it in a tissue, or a napkin. It may end up in the garbage by mistake.

Brush your retainer with toothpaste each time you brush your teeth. Then, rinse it in cold water. It is important to remember that retainers are plastic, and can crack, break and even melt.

The fee for your retainer is included in your orthodontic fee. There are additional charges for lost and broken retainers.

Call our office right away if you lose or break your retainer.