Every patient’s treatment will be different and treatment times may vary. There are, however, several things you can do to help keep your orthodontic treatment on track. In addition to the care recommendations below, it’s important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately to arrange an appointment for repair.

Emergency Care

If you have a situation you cannot resolve on your own, call us for a repair appointment. After hours, there is always someone on call. In the meantime, minor problems may be resolved by the information listed below:

Discomfort with Orthodontic Treatment
During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.

Wire Irritations
Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser. If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax. If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.

Loose Brackets or Bands
Call our office for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible. Please call our office the next business day, so that we may schedule an appointment for you.

Lost Separators
Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.

Links to Videos for Common Orthodontic Problems

Foods to Avoid

For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing, and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.

Hard Foods – can break or damage wires and brackets

Examples to Avoid:
  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • French bread crust/rolls
  • Bagels
  • Pizza crust
  • Corn-on-the-cob
  • Apples *
  • Uncooked carrots *
  • Hard taco shells
  • Chips
  • Jolly Ranchers

* unless cut into small pieces

Sticky Foods – can get caught between brackets and wires and pull parts loose

Examples to Avoid:
  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)
  • Licorice
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Starburst

Sugary Foods – can cause tooth decay and related problems

Examples to Minimize:
  • Cake
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Candy

Brushing & Flossing

The best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile is brushing and flossing. Food particles can accumulate on teeth and in braces, and over time, turn into plaque. The bacteria that results from this accumulation can lead to gum disease and/or tooth decay. To avoid these problems while you are in orthodontic treatment, take special care of your braces, teeth, and gums to ensure you will have the best possible result.


  • Video on brushing with braces
  • Use toothbrush with soft bristles and small strip of fluoride toothpaste
  • Brush in slow, small, circular motions on teeth to reach food particles under gum line and between teeth and braces
  • Brush tongue and roof of mouth
  • Brushing will take several minutes
  • Brush teeth four times daily, after all meals and before bedtime
  • A Proxabrush is a small triangular shaped bristle that you should use to clean underneath and around your wires and braces. Use the Proxabrush gently to avoid damaging your wires. Video on using a Proxabrush.


  • Video on flossing with braces
  • Use floss threader (provided the day you got your braces) and length of floss
  • Floss teeth once daily, before bedtime
  • When beginning to floss with braces, gums may bleed a little. If bleeding does not go away after a few days, let us know at your next appointment.