Life With Braces FAQ

Adjusting to a life with braces isn't as challenging as you may think! Before long, you'll forget you're even wearing braces.

We want you to be as informed and prepared as possible before, during and after your treatment process. Dr. Spillers and Dr. Gordon, along with our amazing team, are here to guide you through your orthodontic journey—every step of the way!

Take a look at these braces FAQs for answers to your questions. If you have any other questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to us at our Macon or Warner Robins office. We would love to hear from you!

No, you have options! We want you to have choices in orthodontic treatment, so we offer clear braces, self-ligating braces, and clear aligners—a form of invisible braces!

 

No matter your age or your orthodontic condition, we have a form of braces to suit your needs and preferences. We are proud to offer clear aligners to all of our patients! Dr. Spillers and Dr. Gordon’s expertise enables them to create treatment plans with clear aligners for any patient who prefers invisible braces.

 

Your choice of treatment is entirely up to you!

Dr. Spillers and Dr. Gordon recommend using a Sonicare toothbrush. Sonicare electric and battery-operated toothbrushes are available at most pharmacies. If you decide not to use a Sonicare, use a toothbrush with soft bristles.

 

When you begin treatment with braces, you’ll need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances. Choose soft foods to eat with braces at school, including any of the following:

  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake, Puff Corn

  • Knowing what to eat with braces the first week will take some of your own judgement. Try any (or all) of the foods above, and decide which ones work best for you. The first day of getting braces, you may prefer soft snacks like applesauce, bananas or fruit juice. By the second day, you may be ready for some pasta and chicken!
    It’s important to avoid foods that could result in broken brackets, loose wires or broken appliances. Examples of foods you should avoid:
  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

  • Patients sometimes question, “How long after getting braces can I eat normal foods?” We tell them that it’s best to avoid foods that can damage braces throughout your treatment period. If you just can’t say no to a certain food, eat with extreme caution!
    When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal, and we promise that your mouth won’t be sore forever. Your teeth and gums are going through a temporary adjustment period.

    To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes, several times per day (do not swallow the saltwater). If the pain does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever.

    It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. You may place some wax over your brackets to lessen the tenderness, but should not do this for a prolonged time. Before long, your lips, cheeks, and tongue will feel normal again.

    No matter how old you are, the answer is no! There is no braces age limit. We provide braces for children, teens and adults. Modern braces are more discreet, more comfortable and more effective than ever too.

    More adults are choosing orthodontic treatment now than ever before! It’s never too late to start experiencing your greatest quality of life.

     

    If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry! This is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will stabilize and no longer feel loose.

     

    If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to place it in a baggy and bring it to the office with you.

    You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.
    We have great news for athletes! Yes, you can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment. It’s highly recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Please let us know if you need a mouthguard!

    In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and appliance for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax and/or rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.
    Your treatment plan will be personalized to you, so there’s no fixed, one-size-fits-all treatment period with braces. Depending on your condition, the severity of your condition and your smile goals, our orthodontists will create a custom treatment plan to start you on the most effective and efficient track toward your new smile.
  • Treatment with traditional braces can take anywhere from 12 to 34 months.
  • Invisalign treatment generally ranges from 6 to 30 months.
  • Treatment with SO Clear Aligners can take 1 to 6 months.

  • When you come in for your free orthodontic exam at your first visit to our office, we’ll take x-rays, digital scan and photos to assess your condition. We’ll also use the following questions to determine the length of your treatment period:
  • Is there a condition that can be corrected with orthodontics?
  • Is treatment appropriate now, or should it be delayed until appropriate growth, tooth eruption, or other conditions have occurred?
  • What procedures will be used to correct the issue?
  • Do any teeth need to be removed?
  • When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be lodged under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, between braces and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth.

    Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth as well as the outside, inside and the chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.

    Especially during orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth four times daily, if possible, to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces. Brush in the morning after you eat breakfast, after lunch or right after school, and after dinner at bedtime.

    You will need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your appliances. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. It may be difficult for your toothbrush to reach some areas under your archwire. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing.
    For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you’re wearing braces, but it’s important to floss your teeth everyday.

    Use the reusable floss threader provided by our office to floss under your archwire daily. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. You will be able to feel when the tooth is clean and hear the squeak of the floss against your clean teeth. Use care around your archwire and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it. After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between your other teeth and gums.

    If you are flossing without the floss threader, pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.

    Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform one of our team members at your next appointment.

    Still have questions about life with braces?

    We want to hear from you! We have answers to all of your questions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at either of our locations in Macon or Warner Robins.

    Or if you’re ready to schedule your free orthodontic exam, let’s get started!