Having braces should not cause any major changes in your day-to-day activities. You can still dine out, sing, play a musical instrument, or have pictures taken. With proper care and maintenance, 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.

When making your dining choice, choose softer foods and avoid foods that are particularly hard, chewy, crunchy or sticky. Cut or tear pizza and sandwiches before eating them rather than trying to bite through them. Chopping up items like apples or carrots before eating them is a good idea. When your braces are adjusted, your teeth may be a little more sensitive, so choosing softer food like pasta, soups or a healthy smoothie can be a good choice. Please avoid chewing gum and chewing on ice.

Carefully follow all instructions you are given regarding your 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 idea to carry a travel toothbrush when you will be away from home. Before going to bed at night, be sure to brush thoroughly and floss carefully. It may take a little extra time but this is an important step in maintaining your oral hygiene on your way to a better smile and healthier teeth.

    1. Place your toothbrush above the braces and angle your toothbrush up toward the gum line.
      Use a circular motion and clean one tooth at a time.
    2. Keep your toothbrush above the braces, but tilt your toothbrush down. Clean the top of the braces one tooth at a time.
    3. Place your toothbrush under the braces and angle your toothbrush up. Clean under the braces with a circular motion. Clean one tooth at a time.
    4. Place your toothbrush against the inside of your teeth and angle your toothbrush toward the gum line. Start at the back and work forward using a circular motion.
    5. Hold your toothbrush vertically against the inside of your front teeth. Brush using an up and down motion.
    6. Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth using a back and forth motion
Flossing is an important part of good oral hygiene.  We provide all our patients with a Waterpik® Flosser at the beginning of treatment, which can be used instead of traditional floss and floss threaders. After you have properly brushed and flossed, your braces should look clean and shiny, making it easy to see the edges of the braces.


Power Flosser Demonstration


Position the flossing tip in the space between your teeth and gum line. Push and hold the ON button and move the flossing tip up and down against the surface of the teeth and below the gum line. Repeat for all teeth.

If you have a removable orthodontic appliance, it is important to clean it each night and morning to remove dental plaque. Remove the appliance and clean it with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Finally, 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 may get drier than during the day time when you can regularly hydrate.
Mouth guards are a great way to help prevent sports injuries.  If you need a mouth guard for any sports, just let us know and we will provide one for you. Please do not use a “heat-molded” mouth guard that you find in most sporting goods stores. These will damage your braces and slow your treatment. 

Keep these materials on hand to help with the most common orthodontic maintenance and minor emergencies:

Interdental or Proxabrushes fit between teeth and help patients to clean around wires without damaging them.

Non-medicated orthodontic relief wax can be placed over brackets or wires that may be irritating gum tissues.

Antibacterial Mouthwash can be used to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. For minor sores in the mouth, Peroxyl®, an antiseptic rinse containing hydrogen peroxide may be used up to 4 times per day after brushing. Refer to the product label for specific instructions.

Dental floss, an interproximal brush or a toothpick can be used for removing food that gets caught between teeth or 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 come loose and is irritating the cheeks or gums. 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 that we can set a time to have the wire adjusted and put back into 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 the temporary discomfort that sometimes occurs for the first day or two after an orthodontic adjustment.

Topical Anesthetic Treatments, such as Orabase® or Ora-Gel®, can be applied with with a Q-tip to any abrasions or sores in the mouth should they occur.



For your convenience we put together Home Care Instruction sheets on the different appliances we use in our office. Feel free to click on any of the links below for detailed instructions on caring for your orthodontic appliance.

Congratulations on Getting Braces 
Aligner Chewies 
Aligner Mandibular (Phase 1) 
Aligner Mandibular 
Aligner Upper 
Bite Plate  
Braces Self Help Guidelines 
Braces Parts Reference Card 
Damon® Clear Braces 
Elastics-Anterior Box
Elastics-Anterior Cross
Elastics-Class II FULL
Elastics-Class II SHORT
Elastics-Class III FULL
Elastics-Class III SHORT
Habit Appliance 
Headgear (Reverse Pull) 
Herbst Appliance- AdvanSync 
Hyrax Self Help Guidelines
Invisalign® Guidelines
KD Appliance 
KD Appliance- Schwartz 
Mara Appliance 
MARA Appliance Parts Reference Card
Night Guard 
PhI Braces Parts Reference Card
Quad Self Help Guidelines
Quad Appliance Parts Reference Card 
Sagittal Upper 
Sagittal Lower 
Salt Water Rinse 
Soft Posterior Biteblock 
Space Maintainer- Upper 
Space Maintainer- Lower 
Swartz Appliance 
Swartz with Anterior Biteplate
TMJ Splint 
Tongue Thrust Exercises 
Twin Block 
Vacuform Invisible Retainer (Phase 1) 
Vacuform Invisible Retainer 
Vacuform Invisible Retainer- with Lingual Bar 
Instructions for Whitening and MI Paste for White Spots