Frequently Asked Questions
The things you need to know. The things you want to know. The things you were too scared to ask.
Are braces hard to maintain?
Not at all! And with advances in the field like LightForce custom 3D braces, Invisalign aligners and heat-activated archwires, they’re only becoming simpler and more comfortable for patients of all ages. Still, we recommend patients brush and floss their teeth at least twice a day, and take care to remove any debris in their teeth or gums. An electric toothbrush is most effective in orthodontic and total oral care.
Is it normal for my teeth/mouth to feel sore or uncomfortable after an appointment?
Yes, usually after an appointment you might experience some discomfort or soreness. This is completely normal and usually resolves itself within 3-5 days after the appointment. We encourage you to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, if you are able, right before your scheduled adjustment or bonding appointment. Continue to take your recommended dosage every 4-6 hours for the next 24 hours to help with any discomfort. Eating softer foods (soup, noodles, mashed potatoes, yogurt, etc.) for a few days can help while you are adjusting.
I lost my retainer, what should I do now?
Call our office to see if we are able to order a new retainer from your last digital scan or to schedule a new scan. Scheduling right away and getting new retainers as soon as possible will prevent your teeth from shifting, moving or spaces opening.
Do I have to wear my elastic rubber bands?
Yes, wearing your elastic rubber bands in the pattern that was prescribed by Dr. Horton is especially important. Wearing your elastics help your jaws and teeth properly line up so your bite fits together. If prescribed for you, wearing elastics is an essential part of treatment that needs to be done to complete your orthodontic treatment.
What should I do if I have a poking wire?
As teeth move poking wires can happen. If you are experiencing a poking wire, try using wax. Roll a small piece of soft wax between your fingertips, slightly dry the area of the poking wire with a piece of cotton and place the wax directly over the area squishing it down and covering the pokey wire. Continuously apply the wax to the area as needed until the tissue heals. If the wire is too long and wax is not helping, call our office to schedule a comfort visit. If it is the weekend or we are out of the office for the day, you can try to use a sterile nail trimmer to clip the long piece of wire and carefully remove it from the mouth. If you are not comfortable trimming the wire with a nail trimmer you can try using a pencil eraser or cotton swab to push the wire away from the tissue. Just know, if you are experiencing any discomfort and you are unable to find relief with at home care solutions, let us know.
What should I do if I develop a sore/irritation?
If you develop a sore or irritated area in the mouth there are some things you can do at home to provide some comfort. Keeping your teeth and mouth clean and free from plaque will be extremely helpful because plaque is full of bacteria that can make a sore worse. Brush, floss, and rinse your mouth twice daily. Rinsing with an antiseptic mouth wash or warm salt water can also help reduce discomfort and help in the healing of sores. Give us a call if you continue to have issues after trying to use at home care recommendations.
Why are my gums puffy and red?
Make sure to brush and floss twice daily to remove the plaque and food that can build up throughout the day. Plaque is made up of bacteria which irritates the gum tissue causing inflammation and redness. Healthy tissue and teeth are important to the success of orthodontic treatment.
What do I do if have a loose bracket?
If the bracket is causing discomfort, you can use a toothpick to remove the tie around the bracket and carefully remove the bracket from the wire and the mouth using a clean tweezer. You can also try using wax to cover the bracket which will provide some relief from discomfort. To prevent brackets from breaking make sure to be careful with food choices. Check out our recommended food list. Call our office to see if you need to schedule another appointment or if we can wait until your next adjustment to make the repair.
An aligner attachment/ button came off, what should I do?
Unless you are in pain or discomfort this is not an orthodontic emergency. However, please let us know before your next appointment so we can plan to prepare for your aligner attachment or button.
What if I lose an aligner?
We recommend always saving the most previous aligner you wore, in the case of losing an aligner, you can go back to the previously worn aligner. If you were towards the end of your week on that aligner you can switch to the next aligner. Call if you have any questions or if your aligner is not fitting.
What if my aligner is not fitting?
To make sure aligners always fit, continued daily wear for at least 22-24 hours per day is critical to the success of aligner treatment. If your aligner is not sitting on the teeth all the way or seems to not be fitting properly, please call to schedule an appointment.