Brace Yourself

Welcome to the world of orthodontics with the office of Brent J. Porter, D.D.S. You will be surprised at how little time it takes to adapt to your braces. Here are some suggestions and information on braces and what to expect.

During the initial adjustment period, patients may experience symptoms such as:

  • Discomfort can be expected during the first week of having your braces and after your regular adjustments. Your teeth will become sore, especially when you bite down. Common pain relievers - such as aspirin, Tylenol, or Advil - will help, along with eating softer foods until the discomfort subsides.
  • Irritations that feel sharp can occasionally occur, even though we take every precaution to avoid it. If something feels like it is poking you, cover it with wax to make a smooth surface. We don’t want you to be uncomfortable.
  • Mouth sores occasionally develop as your mouth is adjusting to your braces. Rinsing with warm salt water will be soothing until these areas "toughen up."
  • Your teeth may sometimes feel "loose" and mobile as they begin to move. It is a normal but strange sensation; in fact, you may feel your teeth becoming mobile off and on throughout treatment.

Proper care of your teeth while in braces include:

  • Regular dental checkups must be maintained DURING our treatment. Regular cleanings are especially important while wearing braces. Generally, we encourage 4-month checkups in order to prevent periodontal (gum) problems.
  • A fluoride mouth rinse should be used every day for extra protection against permanent marks (decalcifications).
  • Brushing and flossing will take extra time at the beginning to keep your teeth, braces, and gums clean and healthy. Brushing after every meal and snacks is the only way to prevent plaque build-up and decay. Another handy device is an oral irrigator (waterpik), which is a recommended addition to good brushing.

Avoid breakage by watching your diet:

  • Avoid hard, sticky foods that may damage the appliances or bend the wires. For example: ice, gum, caramel, hard candy, popcorn, corn nuts, pretzels, toasted bagels and French bread. Cut up some foods into bite-size pieces before eating, such as: hard crusts (pizza, bread, bagels), apples, carrots, celery, and steak. Also see handout included on "Dietary Control."
  • Avoid habits that will break the appliances: nail biting, chewing on pencils or pens, pulling or picking on your appliances.
  • If a band comes loose, a bracket comes off, or a wire breaks, call us as soon as possible, even if you are already scheduled. Unless we are aware of the issue, in advance, we won’t be able to add extra time to your already existing appointment to address the problem. This hinders treatment and delays progress. It is the patient’s/parent's responsibility to call us when an appliance comes loose or is broken!

For more information please contact the office of Brent J. Porter D.D.S., Santa Cruz Children's Dentist (831) 459-9802