Caring For Your Braces

Eating with Braces

Your eating habits might have to change once you get braces. Try to avoid hard, sticky, or sugary foods that might get stuck in your wires and brackets. Hard foods can break or bend your wires and potentially damage your brackets. 

Avoid nail biting and other habits like pen chewing. Your braces are strong but they can get damaged if you don’t care for them properly. Just remember that once your braces come off you will be able to eat whatever you want!

Sticky Foods to Avoid:

  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)
  • Sugary candy
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Starburst

Hard Foods to Avoid:

  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Corn on the cob
  • Whole apples
  • Bagels
  • Hard candy
  • Uncooked carrots 

Sugary Foods:

  • Cake
  • Ice Cream
  • Pie
  • Candy

Only Once a Day:

  • Soda
  • Gatorade
  • Kool-Aid
  • Drinks with sugar


After you get your braces your mouth will be sore for a week or so. Some routine adjustments will make your teeth especially sore as well. You will feel sore and sometimes it may even feel painful. A warm saltwater mouth rinse may ease some of the soreness. Acetaminophen or non-asprin pain relievers will also help to relieve the pain. You can also try a heating pad or warm washcloth.

If you have a wire that is irritating your cheek or gums, then try moving the wire out of place with a pencil eraser. If it won’t move, then use the provided wax to cover up the sharp wire. If the wire is still bothering you, then call us and we can take care of it. 

Loosening of Your Teeth

As your teeth move into their new position they will get slightly loose. Don’t worry! That’s normal! Your teeth are moving out of their stable position toward a new position, and that can make them feel loose. They will become firm again once they settle into their new space. 

Loose Wire, Bracket or Band

If you ever have a broken band, wire, or bracket, then please call our office. We will let you know if it is a situation that requires an emergency appointment or not. If it does need to be fixed right away, then we can fix it at night or over the weekend. In extreme cases, you may need to cut the wire yourself before you can make an appointment. Try not to cut it yourself unless absolutely necessary, but if you do need to, then use sterilized fingernail clippers. Call the next day to schedule an appointment with us. 


Every patient should brush their teeth twice a day, and floss once a day, even with braces. You should still visit the dentist for regular cleanings with braces.


It can be difficult to brush and floss around brackets and wires. If you don’t brush regularly, though, food can build-up and turn into plaque, which will decay your teeth and damage your gums. Your braces are there to make your teeth healthier and your smile even more radiant. Make sure you maintain your teeth so when your treatment is done you have perfectly healthy teeth and gums!

Appliance Compliance

Each patient’s treatment plan is individual. The length of treatment and the types of appliances used will be different for each patient. The condition being treated, appliances used, age, and patient compliance all determine the length of treatment. It’s essential that you follow the treatment plan that Dr. Hansen has given you to stay on track with your timeline and finances. 

On average, treatment lasts for 24 months. That varies and is dependent on patient compliance and cooperation. We will remind you throughout treatment, but please wear your bands, appliances, retainers, and aligners as prescribed. That makes the biggest difference. 

Retainer & Expander Instructions

Retainer Maintenance and Instructions

  • Clean your retainers daily with a toothbrush and water. Don’t use toothpaste to clean your retainer. Soak it in warm water or mouthwash if needed. This will keep it clean and smell-free.
  • Take your retainer out every time you eat.
  • Never leave your retainer on a lunch tray, table, napkin, or pocket. When it is not in your mouth please store it in a case.
  • Remember that retainers are fragile. They can break easily, so be careful with them.
  • Call us if you break your retainer or misplace it.
  • Bring your retainers to your appointments so we can make adjustments as needed.
  • Take your retainer our when swimming in chlorine pools. They can damage the material.
  • Don’t leave your retainer in a hot area or in hot water. It can melt.

Removable Expander Instructions

You should wear your expander all day and night and only remove it to brush and floss your teeth. When you brush your teeth, also brush your expander with toothpaste and water. 

You should even leave your expander in to eat and play sports. 

Fixed Expander (RPE) Instructions

You should turn your expander one time a day, or follow Dr. Hansen’s instructions if he tells you otherwise. He will tell you how many times to turn your RPE. Only turn it as many times as your orthodontist instructs. Don’t make up for a missed day by doubling up the next day. 

When you turn your expander, insert the key into the hole. An arrow should show you which direction to turn the key. Turn it until you can see a new hole.

Athletic Mouthguards

We can fit you with an athletic mouthguard that will protect your teeth while playing sports. Our mouthguards are custom fitted so they fit securely around your teeth.

We begin with an impression of your teeth. That tells us exactly what shape your mouth is, and serves as a guide for your mouthguard. We create your mouthguard using high-quality professional-grade materials that fit comfortably and snugly against your teeth. Professionally made mouthguards are slimmer and they make talking and breathing easier. They’ll help keep your teeth safe through all your games and practices!

Athletic Mouthguards w/ Braces

When each patient gets their braces, we can fit them with a mouthguard that protects their teeth and braces. Mouthguards that are fitted to work with braces are looser than regular mouth guards, but they still protect the teeth.