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Orthodontist FAQ’s

What is orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment involves wearing braces (removable & fixed). It may involve the extraction of that and very occasionally, jaw surgery.

What might I gain from orthodontic treatment?

The benefits of orthodontics treatment can include the following:

  • Correction of dental crowding and traightening of your teeth.
  • Correction of your bite so that the front and back teeth meet together evenly on closing.
  • Reducing the likelihood of damage to prominent teeth.
  • Improving your appearance, including your smile.

What types of braces are there?

  • Removable braces are those which can be removed for cleaning.
  • Fixed braces are ones glued unto teeth and they cannot be removed for cleaning

What are some things I should know about having braces?

  • Braces can be a bit uncomfortable at first, but you should get used to them within a few days.
  • You will need to brush and floss your teeth more often than usual to prevent cavities and gum disease.
  • You may need to avoid certain foods, such as hard, sticky, or chewy foods.
  • You will need to come in for regular checkups and adjustments.

When will the brace be fitted?

  • This depends on the correct number of adult teeth being present in your mouth and the stage of growth of your face and jaws. You need to be good at tooth brushing, keeping your teeth clean and be keen to have treatment.

What are some tips for taking care of my braces

  • Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss between your teeth and around your braces using a water flosser or interdental brush.
  • Avoid chewing on hard, sticky, or chewy foods.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your orthodontist.

What are some common problems with braces?

  • Soreness: It is normal to feel some soreness after getting braces. This usually goes away within a few days.
  • Loose brackets: If a bracket comes loose, you should see your orthodontist as soon as possible.
  • Food stuck in braces: This can be a nuisance, but it is usually easy to remove with floss or a water flosser.
  • Irritated gums: If your gums are irritated, you can use a warm salt water rinse to help soothe them.

How long will I have to wear braces?

  • The length of time you need to wear braces varies depending on the severity of your malocclusion. However, most people wear braces for 1-2 years.

What happens after I get my braces off?

  • After your braces are off, you will need to wear a retainer to keep your teeth in place. You will usually wear a retainer for 1-2 years, but sometimes longer.

If you don’t come in for regular adjustments, your teeth may not move as planned. This could lead to a number of problems, including:

  • Your teeth may not straighten as much as you hoped.
  • Your teeth may relapse and become crooked again.
  • You may experience pain or discomfort.
  • You may be more likely to develop cavities or gum disease.

In some cases, not coming in for regular adjustments could even lead to the need for more invasive orthodontic treatment, such as jaw surgery.

That’s why it’s so important to come in for your regular orthodontic appointments, even if you’re feeling fine. Your orthodontist will be able to monitor your progress and make sure that your treatment is on track.

Here are some tips to help you remember your appointments:

  • Set a reminder on your phone or calendar.
  • Ask a parent or friend to help you remember.
  • Put your appointment on your school or work calendar.

If you know that you’re going to miss an appointment, be sure to call your orthodontist as soon as possible to reschedule.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your orthodontic treatment is a success.

How long will treatment last?

The length of treatment is different for each patient because each patient has a unique problem. Your orthodontist will give you an estimated length of treatment.   Here are five tips to make your treatment go as quickly as possible:

  • Follow your orthodontist’s instructions on the frequency of brushing and flossing, and see your dentist for a professional cleaning at least every six months during orthodontic treatment, or more often if recommended.
  • Watch what you eat if you have braces. Stay away from hard, sticky, and crunchy foods. Opt for foods that are soft and easy to chew. If you have aligners, be sure to remove them before you eat or drink anything besides tap water, and put them back in after you’re done eating or drinking and you have thoroughly cleaned your teeth.
  • Beware of sugary, acidic soft drinks including regular and diet soda pop, fruit juices, fruit drinks and sports drinks. Tap water is recommended.
  • If prescribed, wear your elastics (rubber bands) as instructed.
  • Keep scheduled appointments with your orthodontist.

If teeth need to be extracted, who will do this?

  • Your own dentist usually does this.

Is it painful?

  • Having the braces fitted is not painful. However, it is common to have slightly sore teeth for 3 – 5 days after first fitting the brace and after each adjustment appointment.

How often will I need an appointment?

  • Once your brace has been fitted, you will need regular appointments for it to be adjusted.

Will the brace affect what I can eat?

  • In order to prevent damage to both your teeth and brace, you will need to:
  • Avoid sugary snacks/drinks between meals and at bedtime.
  • Avoid sticky, chewy or hard sweets, mints and sugared chewing gum.
  • Avoid fizzy drinks (including diet drinks) and large amounts of fruit juice.
  • Avoid hard or chewy foods – such as apples, carrots and crusty bread because these can damage your brace. Avoid them or cut them up 1st.

Will my braces set off the metal detectors in the airport?

  • You are cleared for takeoff – the lightweight materials used in braces will not affect metal detectors.
  • I lost my retainer. What should I do? Call your orthodontist right away to make arrangements for replacement retainers. Without retainers, there can be unwanted movement of teeth.

What should I do if I lose my elastics?

  • If you lose your elastics you should contact your orthodontist immediately. Do not wait until your next appointment. It’s important to consistently wear your elastics to get the results you want. A few days without elastics can set back your progress and prolong the entire process.
  • We also caution you against using any other non-prescribed rubber bands as a temporary solution. If they have not been approved by your orthodontist, they should not be put in your mouth.

Can I double up on elastics to get results faster?

  • Do not double up on elastics. We promise this will not move your teeth faster, in fact it may cause extreme discomfort and harm to your teeth and jaw. Each stage of your treatment has been precisely planned and designed specifically for you, to give you the best smile possible. Trust your orthodontist and the process.

Are elastics uncomfortable?

  • When you first start to wear elastics, you may experience some discomfort. This is normal, and should go away in a few days. Please do not remove the elastics to relieve the soreness, even for a short period of time. If elastics are not worn consistently, you will delay the treatment process and may prolong your discomfort. You can use over the counter pain relievers to help alleviate the soreness. 

How do I keep my retainer clean? 

  • If you’ve been fitted with a removable retainer, it’s easy to clean when you take it out. Your orthodontist will show you how. If your retainer is attached to your teeth, it’s important to brush thoroughly after meals and clean under the wire with dental floss at least once a day. Ask your orthodontist how to care for your fixed retainer. 

My retainer feels tight. Can I still wear it? 

  • As long as your retainer doesn’t hurt and still fits over your teeth, you can wear it – even if it feels tight. Your teeth may have slightly shifted, and you may need to wear your retainer longer each day to prevent your teeth from moving. 
  • Try wearing your retainer full-time for a few days to encourage your teeth to move back into their correct positions. If the retainer continues to feel uncomfortable, contact your orthodontist to determine the next steps.

How often should I wear my retainer?

  • Retainers are effective only if you faithfully follow your orthodontist’s instructions for wearing them. Wearing a retainer after your braces are removed is the best way to preserve that healthy, beautiful smile you worked so hard to get.

How often do I need to clean my mouthguard?

  • We recommend rinsing your mouth guard after use and storing it in a clean container. You should never toss your mouth guard loose in your gym bag with your dirty clothes and shoes. You should also make sure to deep clean it at least once a month.

Are mouthguards uncomfortable?

  • If you get a custom-fitted mouthguard, it should not be uncomfortable. Your orthodontist will make a mold of your teeth to ensure a snug fit. Store bought mouthguards are cheaper but can be very uncomfortable if they’re too big or too small for your mouth.

 Can you wear a mouthguard over braces?

  • Yes, in fact, we highly recommend that you wear a mouthguard over your braces. The mouthguard will be custom made to fit the mold of your braces for maximum comfort and protection. They are made of medical grade silicon and will adapt to changes in the mouth structure as teeth adjust, making them a worthwhile investment in your smile while wearing braces.

Will orthodontic treatment damage my teeth?

  • It is important that you brush your teeth well for at least 3 minutes, twice a day. Use a fluoride toothpaste. To further protect the teeth, use an alcohol free fluoride mouthrinse daily at a different time to when you brush your teeth. Avoid eating or rinsing for 20 minutes after using it

What about acidic foods?

  • Fruit such as oranges and lemons also contain acids, which can dissolve your teeth if you eat a large amount every day.

What can I drink between meals?

  • Plain still water and milk are best for your teeth.

What can I eat between meals?

  • Sugar free or low sugar foods are best. Suggestions include bread, cheese sandwiches, vegetables, nuts or fruit.

What else can I do to keep my teeth healthy?

  • Use dental floss or an interdental brush each day to remove plaque from between the teeth.
  • Using a fluoride alcohol-free mouth rinse can help reduce plaque, strengthen teeth and freshen breath.
  • Visit your dentist regularly to check that your teeth and gums are healthy.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum after meals reduces the risk of tooth decay

Can smoking and drinking alcohol affect my teeth and gums?

  • Smoking causes tooth staining, bad breath, gum disease, tooth loss and mouth cancer.
  • Some alcoholic drinks are acidic and very sugary, also some mixer drinks contain acid, so these drinks can cause tooth decay or erosion if they are consumed often in large amounts

Will I still need to see my regular dentists?

  • Yes. It will be important for you to continue to have check-ups with your regular dentist throughout orthodontic treatment so that your teeth can be checked for decay.

Will I still be able to play contact sports?

  • Yes, but it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard. This will also be the case if you take part in activities requiring a protective helmet e.g. roller-blading, skateboarding and horse riding. Ask your orthodontist about this. Further advice is available on the BOS website (

What if I play a musical instrument?

A fixed brace may make it more difficult for you to play your wind or brass instrument. You will need to discuss this with your music teacher and orthodontist. Further advice is available on the BOS website (

What if my brace breaks during treatment?

  • Contact your orthodontist for an appointment as soon as is reasonably possible. Repeated breakages will slow down the treatment and increase the overall treatment time. You may have topay for replacement braces and, if further breakages occur, then treatment might have to stop.

What happens at the end of treatment?

  • Your teeth might move back towards their original positions. In order to prevent prevent this, you will be fitted with retainers by your orthodontist will advise you on how long and how often you will need to wear them.

How successful is orthodontic treatment?

  • This very much depends on your commitment to the treatment. Patients who cooperate well with treatment and wear their retainers as advised, get good results, whilst those who do not, are not likely to get the result they wanted.


  • Brush your teeth for 2 minutes at least twice each day.
  • Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly.
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet and cut down on fizzy and acidic drinks.
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks between meals.
  • Visit your dentist regularly.

Any further questions? Please ask your dentist, orthodontist or hygienist.

Changes in the position of your teeth can continue throughout life. This is part of the normal process of getting older.

If you have any further questions, please write them down and bring them with
you to your next appointment or look at our website.
It is important that you fully understand what is involved in having orthodontic treatment before you decide to go ahead.