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Now that I have braces... Although you see us every month, we do not provide the important services that your general dentist does for you. It is imperative that you continue to see your dentist at least every 6 months throughout treatment.

Brushing Instructions

Brushing with braces is more difficult than brushing before you had braces.  It takes a little more time to do it, and you have to do it more often.  In order to have a beautiful, healthy smile when you get your braces off, it is very important to remove all the food and plaque from your teeth.
Brush at least twice per day and always be sure to use a soft toothbrush.  Electric or rotary toothbrushes can also work very well.  Also, please be sure that your toothpaste is ADA approved.

Start on your top teeth, in the back, on one side.  Hold the brush so that it is angled between your gums and the braces.  Brush each tooth in a circular motion for 5 seconds before moving on to the next tooth.  Continue this all the way around the top teeth. 

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Starting on the other side of your top teeth, angle your brush upwards so that the bristles go underneath the wire.  Brush each tooth in a circular motion for 5 seconds before moving on to the next one.  Continue this all the way around the top teeth.

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Follow the same instructions for all of the bottom teeth. First brush below the braces, and then brush above them.  Brush each tooth in a circular motion for 5 seconds before moving on to the next one.


Brush the inside and biting surfaces of ALL your teeth, spending 5 seconds on each tooth.



You can also use a Proxybrush to clean between your braces.

Brushing should take a total of 3 minutes.  Three minutes is the equivalent of one whole song on the radio or one segment of commercials on TV. 
Flossing Instructions

Flossing with braces will be a bit more challenging than flossing before you got them.  It is very important that you remove the food and plaque from between your teeth to prevent cavities and gum disease.   Floss your teeth at least once per day, and it is best that you do it before brushing.

First you must thread the floss underneath the wire that connects your braces.  You can do this using Floss Threaders (pictured on the left) or Superfloss (pictured on the right).

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Next, pull the floss between 2 teeth and move it along the sides of each tooth to remove food or plaque that is trapped there.  Be sure to clean both teeth each time you pull the floss between them.  Continue until you have flossed the sides of ALL of your teeth, top and bottom.

Diet Guidelines

While in braces, there are several foods that you must avoid in order to prevent breakage of appliances, discoloration, and tooth decay.  Even though our braces are wire and metal, they are fragile and can be damaged by eating the wrong foods, thus taking us longer to finish treatment.

  • Gum: sugarless or otherwise
  • Sticky foods: caramels, taffy, Sugar Daddies, Starbursts, caramel apples, Sugar Babies, licorice, toffee, Now & Laters, Tootsie Rolls and Gummy Bears or Worms
  • Hard foods: nuts, popcorn, hard candy, hard bagels, hard pizza crust, Doritos, ice, jerky, Slim Jims, hard pretzels, hard raw vegetables and apples (unless cooked or cut into small pieces)
  • Foods normally eaten with your front teeth (cut these foods up and eat them with your back teeth): corn-on-the-cob, apples, ribs and meat on the bone
  • Eat Much Less: candy, cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream, doughnuts, fruits, honey, sugar coated cereals, peanut butter, other foods with sugar
  • Drink Much Less: soda pop, sweet tea, fruit juice, lemonade, Kool Aid, other drinks with sugar

Orthodontic Problems and Solutions

Problem Solution
Loose band or bracket If the band or bracket is still attached to wire, leave it in place. If it is uncomfortable, place wax on it. If it comes out completely, wrap the band or bracket in tissue and bring it into the clinic.
Loose wire Try to carefully put the wire back in place with tweezers. If that is not possible, clip the wire with fingernail clippers behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If you attempt this, it is important to be careful not to cut the gums, cheeks, or lips. Also, be careful that the clipped wire is not swallowed. If there is any further discomfort, place wax on it. 
Poking wire Try to carefully push the wire that is poking down with a spoon or pencil eraser. Be careful that the pencil or spoon does not slip and cause injury to your child’s mouth. If that is not possible, place wax on it.
Lost tie wire or colored elastic tie Notify us at the next appointment.
Soreness Use warm salt water rinses and/or Tylenol or Ibuprofen (or any other over the counter pain reliever). Do not exceed recommended dosages!
Headgear does not fit This is sometimes caused by not wearing the headgear as prescribed. If the metal facebow is bent, discontinue wear and call the clinic at once.
Loose appliance If the appliance is sticking or poking, place wax on it.

*If you feel that you are unable to handle a problem on your own, please call us as soon as possible at (304) 293-5217
You may be able to solve many braces problems temporarily by yourself until you schedule a repair appointment in our clinic.  These problems need not cause delay in your treatment.

*Avoid chewing on pens, pencils, and fingernails! 

*Please use common sense.  Any foods similar to these also must be avoided
All of the items that we recommend to assist you in brushing and flossing with braces can be found at your local drugstore.