Common Orthodontic Issues


Hopefully, before you ever received your braces, you were excellent at your oral hygiene. However, once you have braces, there are many more "nooks and crannies" in which food and plaque can accumulate. Extra care must be taken to keep your teeth and gums clean. Food that collects around your braces and wires can cause swollen gums, permanent stains and cavities. Use the following routine to keep your smile white and bright throughout your treatment:

  • Brush your teeth with a medium nylon toothbrush after you eat and before bed.
  • Brush, rinse, and look; if you find any areas that are not clean, brush them again.
  • Brush your gums as you brush your teeth (massages and stimulates).
  • If no toothpaste is available, brush without.
  • If you are unable to brush, rinse your mouth vigorously with water.
  • Replace your old toothbrush when it gets worn out (usually every 3 months).
  • It is absolutely essential that you continue regular visits to your family dentist for checkups and cleanings throughout your orthodontic treatment!


While we recognize that orthodontic "emergencies" are not lifeanddeath situations, we also understand that some situations may occur that cause discomfort. Perhaps a wire will break and begin to poke or you accidentally eat something thatcauses a problem. We have provided the information below to help you prevent those types of emergencies and also to answer some of the most common questions regarding these special situations.

If you are experiencing an orthodontic emergency that can’t wait for regular office hours, you may contact our oncall emergency staff at (480) 899.9423. Please follow the prompts given by our automated attendant so that you can be directed to the emergency call center. Teeth, when moving, can be really tender for about a week after the initial placement of the orthodontic appliances and also after each adjustment. Discomfort can be relieved by overthecounter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Motrin. Follow the dosage recommendations and any additional precautions as listed on the bottle. Some patients find it helpful to take the first dose at the appointment time to help prevent some of the discomfort to come when the teeth start to move.

Additionally, many times, a small stick of sugarless chewing gum can help sooth the ligaments surrounding your teeth and ease some discomfort. During the first two weeks, the inside of your cheeks will be tender because they are not used to the braces. As time goes by, the inside of the cheeks will toughen up and adjust to the braces. While the cheeks are still overly sensitive, using wax on the rough spots can be very helpful. Also helpful are warm saltwater rinses which soothe the cheek lining (see instructions below).

Some inconveniences while going through treatment are normal. Many times repairs can be put off until your next regular appointment. Of course, we are here to serve you and encourage you to call any time you have a question.

Download Information About Handling Orthodontic Emergencies

Foods to Avoid

After your orthodontic appliance has been placed, the teeth will be tender to biting pressure for 5 to 10 days. Of course this can vary with different patients. During this period of tenderness, softer foods are recommended, such as soups, macaroni, spaghetti, fish, eggs, yogurt, Jello, fish, milkshakes, etc. Tylenol or Advil, as well as a small piece of sugarless chewing gum, will help relieve any discomfort. Warm saltwater rinses are also helpful. Use the soft white wax where it is needed. Hard and sticky foods will break off brackets, bend wires, and loosen bands, which will extend your total treatment time. Foods high in sugar can cause cavities, calculus buildup, and ugly stains on your teeth. So, what can you do? You must limit your diet to softer healthy foods. There are certain types of foods that must be avoided during orthodontic treatment:


Ice, nuts, popcorn, peanut brittle, rock candy, apples & carrots (unless cut into pieces), corn on the cob, hard pretzels, hard rolls, bagels, hard tacos, corn chips.


Jolly Ranches, caramels, bubble gum, taffy, suckers, Starburst candy, Dots / jelly candies.


Pizza crust, crusty breads, beef jerky, gummy bears, avoid chewing on pens and pencils.


Cake, ice cream, cookies, pie, candy, soda pop, drinks with sugar.
What to Expect On Your First Visit