About Braces

/About Braces
About Braces2019-01-16T06:25:21+00:00

Everything you need to know about your new braces.


Check your braces routinely for anything loose, bent, or sharp. If a bracket or band comes loose, please call our office so that we can arrange an appointment to repair it as quickly as possible. If you run out of rubber bands, call us so we can either mail you some, or drop by the office and we’ll have some ready.

Sore Teeth

After braces are placed in the mouth it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about 2 or 3 days. Tylenol or Advil will help relieve this discomfort. Some irritation to the cheeks and tongue is normal, but if you feel anything sharp is poking you or any sores are developing, please call our office at (404) 343-0677.


Elastics need to be worn all the time and changed 3-4 times everyday. Any time missed in wearing your elastics will make your treatment take longer, so remember:

  • You are responsible for placing the elastics on your braces between appointments. Make sure to wear them as instructed. Remove them only when brushing your teeth, gums and braces after meals, and replace them with new ones immediately.
  • Always carry a few elastics with you, so if one breaks you can replace it right away. If your supply is low, call the office and we will mail you some more.
  • If you forget to insert your elastics one day, don’t double up the next day – just follow your regular instructions.
  • Elastics become worn out. When they lose their elasticity, they don’t provide the proper pressure on your teeth and jaws. It is very important to change them as directed, even when they are not broken.

If your elastics break frequently, a wire or band loosens, or a hook breaks off – call our office immediately. Don’t wait until your next appointment. These problems need to be corrected as soon as possible in order to keep your treatment on schedule!

First Aid

A few helpful hints:

If a wire causes irritation, push the wire away from the area using the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-Tip. If the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax, a cotton ball, or a piece of sugarless gum until you can see Dr. Cox for an adjustment. If these attempts do not help, please call our office for an emergency phone number.

If the main wire has come out of the tube on your back tooth, try to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle-nosed pliers or tweezers. If the wire is not sticking you, just leave it alone until you can be seen at the office. If the wire is sticking you and wax does not help, call our office for an emergency phone number.

Should a blue rubber spacer fall out, take two pieces of dental floss and insert them through the spacer. Pull on both pieces of floss to stretch the spacer, then slide the spacer back and forth between the two teeth where it belongs. Once the bottom half of the spacer slips under the tight spot between the teeth, release and remove the floss and the spacer will fit back properly.

If a bracket breaks off of a tooth, it usually remains connected to the main wire. Please call us when the office reopens and we’ll schedule a repair appointment for you as soon as possible. Should the bracket come loose from the wire, please keep it in a ziploc bag and bring it with you.

If your bonded retainer suddenly feels loose or sharp, call our office during working hours so that we can repair or replace it for you before your teeth start to shift.

We recommend that you take Aleve, Advil, or Tylenol (unless allergic) if your teeth are sore after a visit. Chewing soft sugarfree gum can also help.

Rinsing your mouth with a cup of warm water and teaspoon of salt can also be soothing.

Home Care


You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food compacts in the brackets and between your teeth, and can only be removed by brushing and flossing. If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it will leave a permanent white scar on the surface. Brushing after meals should become part of your daily schedule. Use a soft toothbrush with firm pressure and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth and gum; brush in small circles above and below the brackets. Click here for visual instructions. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray.

A Waterpik can be a useful addition but it cannot remove the sticky plaque that adheres to the teeth. Sonicare toothbrushes are very helpful. Flossing is important and should be done every day.

Eating Habits

Please do not eat hard foods: nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spareribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating), and popcorn! These foods risk breaking brackets and wires. Also beware of nail biting and pen or pencil chewing habits, since these can damage your braces. Do not eat sticky foods: taffy, caramels, bubble gum, or sticky candy of any sort. Use common sense about most foods.

Absolutely No:

Gum (Sugarless or otherwise)
Sticky Foods:
Sugar Daddies
Caramel Apples
Sugar Babies
Tootsie Rolls
Now & Laters

Eat with Caution or Cut up:

Hard Foods:
Corn on the Cob
Pizza Crusts
Carrots (uncooked)

Eat much less:

Ice Cream
Cake, Cookies
Foods with Sugar

Drink much less:
Drinks with Sugar

Retainer Care

The retainer is carefully designed to hold your teeth in position. It is important for you to wear it nightly or as instructed to keep your teeth aligned. Be sure to keep it away from your pets and in the plastic box provided when in it is not in your mouth. Please be sure to bring it to every appointment.

Clean your retainer by brushing it daily with toothpaste. Denture cleaner can also be used for a more thorough cleaning. If you have a bonded wire retainer behind your front teeth, be extra careful to clean the wire and the area around it. Flossing should be done every day.

Never wrap your appliance in a paper napkin or tissue and set it down on the table. You or someone else may mistakenly throw it away. Don’t put it in your pocket when playing or you may break or lose it. When it is not in your mouth, it should be in its plastic appliance case.

Avoid storing them near any source of heat- especially in hot a hot car over long periods of time- they may warp. Do not boil your retainer to sterilize it!

– by Taylor C. (age 12)

I feel that its very important to wear a retainer. Why you might ask? Just think: you have braces. They are pretty with the brackets, but what happens when the brackets are all gone? Do your teeth stay straight, or do they look as they did before? Well, take this coming from a person who had braces and about every appliance there is. I had the prettiest teeth, and I did not wear my retainer. My teeth then looked as they did before and it was not good. It was like I wore braces and all those appliances for nothing. I feel so stupid, and I was scared to smile and talk to people because I had ugly teeth and I knew I could have fixed it. My mom was not happy with me. She paid all that money and my teeth were crooked like they were when I first started. I wanted to do it again, and I wanted my braces back. Teeth are a big part of life, so take care of them. I have my braces back on now, but it will be worth it. I know now how important it is to wear a retainer.

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