A library of information from Williamsburg Orthodontics

Getting Started with Braces

Brushing with Braces
  • Brush above and below every bracket using a small circular motion
  • Make sure to brush all your teeth: inside, outside, and biting surfaces!
  • Don’t forget to also brush along the gumline
  • Make sure to brush for 2-3 minutes at least 2 times a day
Flossing with Oral-B Superfloss
  • Thread the hard end of the Superfloss under the archwire
  • Now you can floss like normal
  • You will have to repeat this process for each tooth
  • Wax will help the inside of your lips and cheeks from rubbing against your braces and creating sores
  • Take a small piece of wax, roll it into a ball, and place on top of a dry brace (the drier the bracket the better the wax will stay in place)
Foods to Avoid
  • Avoid hard and sticky foods to prevent breaking any braces
  • Avoid biting on hard objects like pens and pencils
  • Remember to continue eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
Broken Brace/Bracket
  • If a brace or band has come off your tooth, please call our office so we can schedule you an appointment or adjust your next appointment as needed
  • If the brace is uncomfortable, try covering it with some wax
Oral Irrigation
  • Oral irrigation, such as a WaterPik, can be useful to help clean around the braces
  • Be sure to angle the WaterPik head above and below the braces as well as along the gum line and between the teeth


Separators / Spacers
  • Separators are used to create space around molars so that we can fit bands around these teeth
  • Moderate discomfort is typical. Feel free to take Tylenol or Advil as needed
  • Avoid any sticky foods
  • Brush normally but do not floss where the separators have been placed
  • If a separator falls out, please contact our office during business hours so we can determine if replacement is necessary
Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE)
  • An RPE is used when the upper jaw is more narrow than the lower jaw or when more room is needed to accommodate the upper teeth
  • The expander is cemented in place and activated by using a small key
  • The key is inserted into the small hole in the center of the expander and activated by pushing the key towards the back of the mouth
  • This will expose the next hole for future turns (make sure that you fully see the next hole)
  • Always pull the key out carefully without turning the screw backwards or undoing your previous turn
  • You may notice some space opening up between your front teeth. This is normal and will either close up slowly on its own or will get closed up during treatment
  • After turns are complete, the expander will stay in place for at least 6 months for new bone to form and stabilize expansion
  • Foods to Avoid: any sticky or hard foods
“Motion” Bite Correcting Appliance
  • This appliance is used to correct an overbite at the beginning of braces or Invisalign treatment
  • Rubber bands should be worn as close to 24 hours as possible from the motion appliance to a lower brace or button
  • If you are wearing a lower retainer with this appliance, be sure to always have your retainer in while wearing the rubber bands
Forsus Appliance
  • This is a special spring appliance installed onto your braces to help correct your bite
  • The Forsus appliance will accommodate normal mouth opening for eating and speaking, but try not to open your mouth extremely wide or the appliance may separate
  • Avoid hard or sticky foods
  • As with any orthodontic appliances, some discomfort or irritation may occur
Forsus Patient Repair
  • The rod and spring components of this appliance may separate from opening your mouth too wide
  • This can easily be fixed by placing the rod back into the spring
Rubber Bands/Elastics
  • Rubber bands are worn to help align or correct your bite
  • Rubber bands should only be worn in the pattern and duration instructed by the doctor
  • Change your bands at least four times a day
  • They can be taken out for meals but replace them after eating
  • Don’t forget to wear your rubber bands to bed!


Invisalign Care
  • Wear your aligners 20-22 hours a day
  • Always use your fingers to initially push down the trays (chewies can be used afterwards to seat trays further)
  • Remove aligners to eat, drink, and brush your teeth
  • You can remove the aligners by gently pulling both back sides off and then use a pinching motion to pull down the front
  • Never use hot water to clean your trays
  • Brush aligners frequently with a non-abrasive toothpaste or hand soap in cold water
  • Always put your aligners in a case when they are not in your mouth – especially around pets!
  • Tooth soreness is normal with each new aligner – take Tylenol or Advil as needed
Invisalign with Attachments
  • Tooth-colored attachments or bumps will be placed on your teeth to help with tooth movement
  • You can brush and floss normally with these attachments
  • Be careful with hard foods
  • These attachments are important for tooth movement so if one comes off, please call our office so that we can schedule you to get it replaced
Rubber Chewie
  • Rubber chewies have been given to you in your Invisalign start kit
  • Simply bite down on the chewie to help fully seat your aligner – this should only take a few seconds!
  • If you see a space between the edge of your tooth and the tray, use the chewie regularly to help the tray fit better
  • Chewies are reusable – just rinse with cold water and store them in your case


Clear Retainer Care
  • Wear your retainers at least 10 hours every day
  • Your teeth may be uncomfortable for a week. Take Tylenol or Advil as needed
  • Clean retainers every day with a toothbrush, cool water, and either non-abrasive toothpaste or hand soap
  • Retainers should always be kept in the case when not being worn
  • Pets will destroy retainers so keep them out of their reach!
  • Excessive heat will warp and ruin your retainers so don’t keep them in a hot car or place them on a hot surface
  • Bring your retainers to every retainer check appointment!
  • Call our office as soon as possible if your retainers are lost, broken, or do not fit
Permanent/Fixed Retainer
  • A permanent or fixed retainer may be cemented to the back of your teeth to keep them in proper alignment
  • Be careful when eating hard or sticky foods
  • Using floss made for braces (ie. Oral-B Superfloss, Glide Threader Floss) will make flossing around the permanent retainer easier
  • If your permanent retainer is loose or broken, save the retainer so we can recement it! Don’t forget to wear your clear retainer regularly until we can get your fixed retainer back on!

Helpful Handouts

Your Invisalign Treatment

Clear Retainers
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