During Treatment

Having braces should not cause any major changes in your day-to-day activities. You can still dine out, play instruments & have fun pictures taken. With proper care and maitenance, you can promote your oral health while on your way to a more beautiful smile. 

If you play a wind instrument, several companies make mouth guards and lip protectors, although you may not need them.

For certain sports, it is a good idea to wear a mouth guard. Ask us about recommendations based on your specific needs when you come in for your next appointment.

Eating with Braces

Try to avoid foods that are particularly hard, chewy, crunchy or sticky. These types of foods can loose, bend or even break your brackets or appliances. 

Examples of foods to avoid:

  • popcorn
  • torilla chips, pretzels,
  • hard candies
  • chewing gum
  • nuts
  • granola bars
  • raw veggies
  • whole fruits such as apples & pears
  • hard taco shells

Try to choose softer foods, and cut your foods into smaller pieces before eating rather than trying to bite through them. Chop whole fruits such as apples and pears into bite-sized pieces before eating, and please avoid chewing on gum and ice. 

After eating, always check your braces for any loose or broken appliances. If you find any problems, please give our office a call so that we can make any needed adjustments. 


Brushing & Flossing


Carefully follow all instructions you are given regarding dental care. Specific steps may vary depending on the type of braces you have. Be sure to brush thoroughly after any meal or snack. It is important to keep your teeth and braces as clean as possible to avoid potential problems. Also, rinse with water or mouthwash after brushing. It’s a good ideas to carry a travel toothbrush when you will be away from home. Before going to bed, be sure to brush thoroughly and floss carefully. It make take a little extra time but this is an important step in maintaining oral hygiene on your way to a better smile and healthier teeth. 

Use a soft rounded bristle toothbrush that is in good condition. Toothbrushes will wear out faster and need to be replaced more often when wearing braces, so be sure to keep some spare toothbrushes on hand. When brushing you should also brush your tongue and rinse thoroughly when done.


Flossing is an important part of good oral hygiene. With braces it may take a little more time and practice, and a floss threader may be necessary to get the floss under the arch wire. Make sure you clean alone and under the gum lines with floss each night before going to bed. After you have properly brushed and flossed, your braces should looks clean and shiny, making it easy to see the edge of the braces. 

Removable Appliance Rules & Tips

Please wear your appliance at all times, even when sleeping, or as instructed by your doctor. Doing so will help you reduce the treatment time and will also ensure the best possible results from your orthodontic treatment.

Be sure to bring your appliance to every orthodontic appointment.

Clean your removable appliance both morning and night to remove dental plaque. You can clean the appliance with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Please place your appliance in the case when not being worn.

If you have pets, do not place the appliance anywhere they can reach it. Pets are attracted to saliva and will enjoy chewing on your appliance!

Please do not place your appliance on a napkin or tissue, it may be accidentally thrown away!

You may remove your appliance while participating in physical activities, but be sure to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth, gums and lips.

Dental Wax

Dental wax can be very helpful with any areas that are irritating your mouth or gums. This can be especially helpful at night when sleeping, when your mouth gets drier than normal hydration during the day. 

Rubber Bands

During orthodontic treatment, the doctor may use elastics to assist your braces in making adjustments to your teeth and bite. Also known as ‘elastics’ they are typically attached to brackets on the upper and lower teeth and us tension to create changes in the teeth and bite.

You should always wear your elastics as directed. You may remove them when eating and brushing, but you should always replace them with new ones afterwards. Only wearing elastics occasionally will prolong treatment and also cause any tenderness to persist. 

You may experience some soreness when first wearing elastics, but it should subside after a few days. Over the counter medications like Ibuprofen should help, but if the tenderness continues more then a week, give us a call.

If an elastic breaks, please replace both the broken one, and adjacent rubber band to ensure the same amount of force is applied on each side. You should always carry and extra pack of elastics with you in case one breaks. If you think you may run out before your next appointment, please stop by our office for more elastics, or give a call and we can mail some to you.

Useful Items for Patients

Keep the materials on hand to help with most common orthodontic macitence & minor emergencies…

  • Interdental or Proxabrushes fit between teeth and help patients to clean around wires without causing damage.
  • Non-medicated dental waxen be placed over brackets or wires that may be irritable to gums.
  • Antibacterial mouthwash can be used to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. For minor sores in the mouth, Peroxyl, an antiseptic containing hydrogen peroxide, may be used up to 4 times a day after brushing. Refer to the product label for specific instructions.
  • Dental floss, an interproximal brush or a toothpick can be sued for removing food that gets caught between teeth and wires.
  • Sterile tweezers can be used to replace orthodontic rubber bands that have come off.
  • A q-tip or pencil eraser can be used to push a wire up against a tooth if it has become loose or is irritating the gum or cheeks. If it is not possible to reposition the wire so it is more comfortable, place wax over the end of the wire and call our office so we can have the wire adjusted and put back in place. 
  • Salt is used for warm salt-water rinses, which help heal sore gums and tissues in the mouth.
  • Non-prescription pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help with temporary discomfort that sometimes occurs for the first day or two after an orthodontic adjustment. 
  • Topical anesthetic treatments, such as Orabase or Oral-gel, can be applied with a q-tip to any abrasions or sores in the mouth should they occur.

Invisalign Care


  •  Use your fingers to put your aligners in place. First place the aligners over your front teeth, and then use your fingers to push the aligner down gently over your molars. When aligners are correctly inserted, they will fit all the way down on the teeth, with no space in between. Aligners will fit tightly at first but should fit well at the end of the two week period.
  • Keep aligners in except when eating, brushing and flossing. It’s also best to remove aligners when drinking warm beverages like coffee and tea. 
  • Remove the aligner by pulling it off both sides of your back teeth simultaneously then lifting it off your front teeth. Place your aligners in the case we provide anytime they are not being worn. 
  • Clean aligners with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Wear each set of aligners for 2 weeks unless our office directs you to vary from that schedule.
  • Wear aligners in the correct numerical order. (Each aligner is labeled by number and with a U or L to designate upper or lower.)
  • Keep all your old aligners and bring them to your orthodontic appointments.


  • Don’t place your aligners in or on napkin, it might be accidental thrown away. 
  • Don’t use your teeth to ‘bite’ your aligners into place. 
  • Do not use Denture cleaner, alcohol, or bleach to clean your aligners. 
  • Do not use boiling or warm water on your aligners. 
  • Do not chew gum with aligners in.
  • It would be best not to smoke while wearing aligners. The smoke can stain the aligners and your teeth.

Just in Case

  • If you lose the tab attached to your tooth, that helps the aligner snap on, please call our office as soon as possible so we can determine if you need to come in before your next scheduled appointment. 
  • If you lose one of your aligner trays, please wear the next tray if you have it. If you do not have the next tray, wear the previous tray. It is extremely important to use a tray to keep teeth from shifting. Call our office to let us know which tray was lost so that we can determine if a replacement is needed. There will be a fee if replacement trays are required. 

Still have questions? Contact us.

As always, we are here to assist you in any way we can. 

Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you have further questions on at home care with braces or Invisalign.