Learn About Braces

boy smiling with braces

Braces are an ideal method for straightening and aligning the teeth and bite but they require patience and understanding in order for them to work most effectively. Here are some things you'll want to know before you and your child gets their braces.

Metal braces, made of stainless steel or titanium, are known as "traditional braces" because the first orthodontic braces were made of metal. They still continue to be the most commonly-used type of braces today. Luckily, today's braces are smaller, flatter and more comfortable than braces of the past.

Metal braces have three parts to them. The brackets are cemented directly to the surface of the teeth. An arch wire is placed in the brackets, linking them together. It is the arch wire that is adjusted to apply pressure to the teeth. Elastic ties are what hold the arch wire in the brackets. Fresh ones are placed each time a patient comes in for the arch wire to be adjusted. The elastic ties usually come in a variety of colors.

Braces are skillfully tightened and adjusted in order to shift teeth into a straightened position. Rubber bands or other appliances are used in conjunction with braces for a thorough adjustment of the entire mouth.

There are certain foods that can cause damage to your braces and should be avoided. On the other hand, there is a plethora of foods that are safe for consumption.

Foods to avoid:

  • Chewy foods: bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods: gum, caramel, some candies
  • Hard foods: nuts, hard candies
  • Foods bitten into with the front teeth: apples, carrots, corn on the cob

Foods that are safe:

  • Dairy
  • Soft breads
  • Grains
  • Soft meats/poultry
  • Seafood
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Soft treats and candies

Your mouth and teeth may feel a little sore when you first get your braces. This is normal and will go away soon! Rinsing your mouth with salt water or taking a pain reliever can help ease the pain. If you continue to have severe pain, give our office a call so we can determine how to solve the problem.

Loose tooth
Because braces are constantly working to move your teeth into the proper position, there may be times when your teeth feel a little loose. Don't be alarmed! This is normal. As your teeth settle into their proper spot, the loose feeling will go away.

Loose wires and bands
If you notice that a wire or band becomes loose, contact us for an appointment to repair your braces. In the meantime, it may be possible to gently push the wire back into place. Wax or a wet cotton ball can also be applied to areas where a wire may be poking out of place and irritating your cheek or gums.

It's safe to play sports while wearing braces, although we do recommend you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth. Give us a call if you need help finding a mouthguard that provides comfortable protection.

Proper Care
The more careful you are about taking care of your braces, the faster your treatment will be. When braces are damaged, they are not able to function properly, delaying the progress of your teeth movement. Please contact us immediately to schedule an appointment if your braces become damaged.

Why Choose Dr. Matsumoto
Dr. Todd Matsumoto received his advanced training certificate in Orthodontics from USC School of Dentistry. He has been practicing in the dental field for over 18 years and believes in treating all patients like his own family. He is committed to delivering the best care possible with a kind, gentle approach and will ensure that you and your child receives the best care possible. Your family will be in excellent hands.

Learn More About Our Dental Philosophy.