Life With Braces

Is Much Easier Than You Think

So you have braces…what now? In the famous words of Douglas Adams in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”…DON’T PANIC! We have a page full of great information here. Read on and remember we are always here to answer your questions!

Brushing & Flossing

Is A Must


Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of enhanced fluoride toothpaste (use this at night to help fortify teeth, preventing cavities and “white spots” during your orthodontic treatment). When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, including between teeth, on the surface of each tooth and around each bracket and wires. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque:

  • In the morning after breakfast
  • After lunch or right after school
  • After dinner
  • At bedtime

Brushing the brackets and wires can cause your toothbrush to wear more quickly than before braces. If you notice the bristles starting to bend or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste as you brush, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.


Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss between your teeth every day. A floss threader which has a stiff end will help you push the floss under your archwire. Floss at night to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a staff member know at your next appointment.

What About Food?

Awareness Is The Key

For the most part, you’ll be able to eat many of the same foods you’ve eaten before. The general rule is to avoid things that are hard, sticky, gummy or chewy, to prevent breaking the bond that holds the brackets on the teeth. CLICK HERE for a more detailed list and general instructions that you can print.


Keeping That Awesome New Smile


When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. The retention phase includes the wearing of retainers and lasts for a minimum of 24 months. Your long-term orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far. Dr. Parker will instruct you as to the number of hours per day that retainers are to be worn to prevent your teeth from moving from their new positions. He uses clear slip-over retainers to accomplish this.

Remember to remove your retainers before brushing, and brush your retainers using a small drop of dish soap and cool water before placing them back in your mouth. Any time you remove your retainers, please put them in the case we provide to prevent loss or damage. Pets are responsible for ruining many retainers that have been left near the edge of a table or in a book bag on the floor. Even the most well-behaved dog loves to chew on a retainer that’s been left within reach, and many have been known to chew right through a retainer case!

After Hours Care

Tips and Tricks

If you have a true orthodontic emergency that can’t be handled with one of the below suggestions and it’s outside our regular office hours please call the office and follow the prompts so we can get back in touch with you. Dr. Parker or one of his team members will return your call as soon as possible.

Please don’t wait until you arrive for you next regularly scheduled appointment to let us know about something loose or broken. If we know ahead of time, we can often adjust the length of your appointment to make the repair.

Here are some tips for some of the more common problems:

Wire poking
Some wire ends can be tucked out of the way with a pencil eraser. Call the office the next business day and we’ll make arrangements for a repair if necessary. You can also use OrthoDots, (a sample of which was provided to you at the beginning of treatment), or a generously sized piece of wax to prevent irritation from wire poking.

Loose bracket or band
If the bracket or band is still attached to the wire, it is ok to leave it where it is. If it is irritating, cover it with wax. If you don’t have OrthoDots or wax, most grocery stores or pharmacies have wax for purchase in the dental section. You may also be able to find OrthoDots at the pharmacy as well. During regular business hours, please call us so that we can schedule time for a repair.

Wire out of molar tube
Try to put the wire back into the tube on the molar. Tweezers may be helpful. If you are uncomfortable, place wax over the area and call for an appointment.

Wire shifted or rotated
Try to slide the wire back around. If it continues to poke you, put some wax over it and call the office for an appointment.

Patient Instructional PDF’s

Specific To Your Needs

Please take a look at any of the forms we've provided below for specific instructions that pertain to you.

These forms require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. If you do not have Adobe Reader already installed on your computer, click the Adobe logo to download.