Frequently Asked Questions

On this page we have listed a number of commonly asked questions by our orthodontic patients.  If there is a question you still have, but do not see here, please feel free to call or email our offices and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible with answers!

  • What can I eat?

    Eating with braces will be an experience your child will adjust to.  It may not come naturally for the first week or so after getting braces.  It is natural and normal for your child to experience minor discomfort for the first week they have braces.  Their mouth is getting used to a new reality.  The orthodontic appliances are working and are applying gentle yet consistent pressure needed to help the teeth move into another position.

    Dr. Nakfoor recommends that soft foods be eaten and that hard foods (including tough meats, hard bread and raw vegetables) be avoided.  This is by no means a mandate to avoid vegetables!  As soon as your child adjusts, it is good to reintroduce foods.  However, they must learn to eat and protect their orthodontic appliances at the same time.

    We do recommend that certain categories of foods be eliminated while your child is in braces:

    • Chewy food: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
    • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
    • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
    • Hard foods: nuts, candy
    • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
    • Chewing on hard things: pens, pencils, fingernails.  These will damage braces which will require longer treatment.

    If you have any questions or anticipate any issues, please talk to Dr. Nakfoor or any staff member.  We will be happy to make recommendations about how you can help your child eat a fun, healthy and well balanced diet while in braces.

  • Can I play sports with braces?

    Dr. Nakfoor played sports and wore braces and fully understands the importance of protecting the mouth. If your child plays sports, it’s important that you consult him for special precautions.

    A protective mouthguard is advised for playing contact sports. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.

  • What is the best age for an orthodontic consultation?

    The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child get an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. While your child’s teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect. An orthodontist can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. That’s important, because some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they’re found early.

  • Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?

    Adults are the fastest growing population of patients seeking orthodontic care. In fact, about one in every five orthodontic patients today is over age 18. Adult treatment is very similar to standard adolescent treatment. With adult patients, we truly listen to the patient’s chief compliant and concentrate our efforts in addressing these main concerns. And advancements like clear/invisible braces and shorter treatment times makes orthodontics even more appealing now. It’s never too late to get a healthy, beautiful smile!

  • Should my teeth be cleaned before my initial orthodontic consultation?

    Yes. If you’ve been to your dentist for a cleaning within the last 6 months, we can go ahead and put your braces on. If you are due for a hygiene visit, please call your dentist to schedule a cleaning appointment.

  • Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?

    Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.

  • I just got my braces off and my teeth feel loose. Is it okay?

    The periodontal ligament, which helps to hold your teeth in place, is loosening up. This is perfectly normal. The teeth should stop feeling loose after a few weeks. If you’re very concerned, or if the teeth feel loose for months on end, talk to your dentist about it.

  • How long will braces cause pain or discomfort?

    When you first get braces on, your teeth will hurt or you may be in some amount of discomfort for several weeks. After about a month, it gets better. A few months later you may even forget that you’re wearing them.

  • What else can you use to ease irritations inside your mouth in the first weeks of braces?

    A warm salt water rinse several times a day can be very soothing.

  • How do you brush with braces on?

    First, rinse with warm water a couple of times to dislodge any food particles. You can also use a rubber-tipped gum massager to dislodge any particularly stubborn particles that are badly stuck in your brackets. Now you can use a small amount of toothpaste and brush your teeth.

    It is best to use circular, vibrating motions around the gum line. Angle your toothbrush above and below the brackets. Scrub the surface of each tooth with 10 strokes. This should take several minutes. Be as thorough as possible. Don’t forget to also clean the surfaces of your molars and to brush your tongue!

  • How do you floss with braces on?

    It’s a little tricky at first. You have to thread the floss under the arch wire between each tooth, floss under the gumline, then remove it. Repeat for each tooth. At first it will take about 15 minutes to floss between all of your teeth, but with practice you will get faster and more efficient. It is important to floss EVERY NIGHT. Even if you use a Waterpik device, you should still floss. Braces are notorious for hiding tiny pieces of food you could have sworn you brushed or rinsed away!

    You can use any type of floss that is comfortable. Most people attach the floss to a plastic needle called a Floss Threader, or use floss that has a stiff end, such as SturdyFloss or Glide Threader floss, as mentioned earlier. You can also purchase a Platypus Orthodontic Flosser from Dianne at the front desk. This particular tool makes it easy to keep your gums healthy.

  • Why do you need to use wax when you have braces?

    Wax creates a barrier between the bracket and the inside of your cheeks, and helps to prevent the bracket from irritating your cheeks and gums. At first you might use a lot of dental wax, but as you get used to your braces and the inside of your cheeks “toughen up,” you may wind up using less.

Orthodontic Procedure Definitions

Appliance

Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.

Archwire

The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.

Band

A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth, going completely around it. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.

Banding

The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.

Bond

The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.

Bracket

A metal or ceramic part cemented (“bonded”) to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.

Cephalometric X-ray

An x-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.

Coil Spring

A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.

Consultation

An x-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.

Debanding

The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.

Elastic Tie

The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.

Headgear

Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.

Headgear Tube

A round, hollow attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.

Hook

A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.

Impressions

The process of making a model of your teeth by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan.

Invisalign®

An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems.

Ligation

The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth.

Ligature (tie wire)

A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.

Lip Bumper

A lip bumper is an archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.

Mouth Guard

A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.

Palatial Expander

A device that makes your upper jaw wider.

Panoramic X-ray

An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.

Retainer

An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.

Rubber Bands (elastics)

A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.

Separator or Spacer

A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.

Wax

Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.