Care Guide & Emergencies

care guide
chicago orthodontist

Orthodontic Care Guide

Starting braces is an exciting time! While the process comes with fun colors for your bands and a beautiful new shape to your smile, there are also some important rules to follow. You’ll need to avoid certain foods that will damage your braces, and brushing and flossing are more important than ever! You may feel some tenderness during the beginning of the process, or after certain appointments, but don’t worry because this is completely normal. We’re here to help you every step of the way, starting with this orthodontic care guide! 

Still have questions? We’d love to help!


During your braces journey it’s important to protect your brackets and wires. Avoid foods that are too hard, chewy, or crunchy. It’s best to stay away from sticky caramels, gum, hard nuts or pretzels, and foods you need to bite into like corn on the cob and apples. Of course, you can still enjoy hard food like raw fruits and veggies, but they need to be cut into bite-size pieces first. If you ever need help coming up with braces-safe food ideas, give our office a call!  

Brushing and Flossing 

Proper oral hygiene is important during your braces journey. It is important to brush your teeth two times a day for two minutes each time. Flossing daily is important too, and using floss with a threader will help you navigate your brackets and wires. Taking good care of your smile while your teeth shift into their new positions will keep your gums and teeth healthy so you can enjoy your beautiful new smile without added dental work! 

How Braces Feel

It is possible you’ll feel mild discomfort several times throughout your braces process, specifically the first couple of days you have your braces as you get used to the new sensation in your mouth, and after certain appointments where your wires are changed or tightened. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about. Most discomfort can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water, mouthwash, or taking over-the-counter pain medication like aspirin. Once you get used to your braces, chances are you won’t even remember they’re there! If you are experiencing severe discomfort and wish to speak to one of our specialists, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to help. 

Wearing your Appliances

Orthodontics is a collaborative effort between you and your orthodontic team. During your treatment, you may be prescribed an appliance or rubber bands, and making sure you wear them as instructed will keep you on the right track with your treatment. The only way your teeth will move is if you are following all the instructions. If you don’t wear your appliance or rubber bands, it will lengthen your treatment time. 


Retention is an important phase of your orthodontic care. Retainers are used to hold your new smile in place and ensure it doesn’t shift back to its original shape. Consider retainers tooth pajamas! After treatment, you’ll wear them at nighttime for a lifetime, and that will keep your beautiful smile straight. 

It is important to clean your retainers, just as you do your teeth. They should be washed thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and warm water. Be sure to brush them gently and always put them back in their case when they aren’t in your mouth. If a retainer is lost or damaged, give us a call right away! 


You can still play sports with braces! We recommend wearing a mouthguard when playing most sports to protect your mouth in case of injury. If you do experience an accident, check on your brackets and wires to be sure everything is still tightly in place. If you notice any problems, please call our office and we will be happy to assist. 

Loose Wires or Bands

Sometimes your bands or wires come loose, and that’s normal. If the wire is irritating your gums or cheek, use a sanitized pair of nail clippers and carefully clip the excess wire. If that is not an option, use a clean, blunt tool to carefully push the wire under the archwire. If the piece that is bothering you is too small for either of those options, try using wax to cover the sharp part of the wire until your next appointment. 


If you notice something doesn’t seem right with your braces, Invisalign or appliances and don’t see the answer in this care guide – give us a call and we’ll be happy to help. Your comfort is our top priority!