Orthodontic Treatment Instructions

BRUSHING: It is acceptable to use either a manual or electric toothbrush. While in treatment you should brush at least twice, but ideally, three times a day. You should brush for 2 minutes. Particular attention should be paid to gently brushing near the gum-line, as this is where most plaque accumulates. Improper brushing can lead to decalcification (white spots), cavities and gum disease.

FLUORIDE RINSE: A fluoride (anti-cavity) rinse, such as A.C.T., should be used every night after brushing. Rinse for 1 minute and spit out. Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after.

WAX: A small piece of wax can be used to cover any part of the braces or wire which is causing irritation. Try to remember to remember to remove it before you eat. Don’t worry if it is swallowed. It will not harm you.

DISCOMFORT: It is not unusual for teeth to be tender to biting pressure 24-72 hours after each appointment. You will want to eat a softer diet and may take whatever you take for aches and pains or headaches (Tylenol or ibuprofen) to reduce any tenderness.

DIET RESTRICTIONS: You cannot eat anything hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy (example: Tootsie rolls, Starburst, taffy). Hard, sticky foods can break braces or distort your wires, which will prolong your time in treatment. One should use caution with other foods that are tough (pizza crust, hard bagels). It is best to avoid these foods or cut them up into smaller pieces before eating them. Apples need to be cut into slices and corn should be cut off the cob. Only soft, sugar-free gum is allowed (no gumballs!)

DIFFICULTY EATING: It will take a few days to adjust to eating with the expander. Food will tend to get caught in the expander. It can take a week or two to adjust to this sensation and learn how to clear food from underneath the expander. Start with easy foods to swallow, such as soups, yogurts and of course—ice cream!!!

DIFFICULTY SWALLOWING: It will take a week or two for you to adjust to swallowing. Be patient. Your tongue will learn how to adapt and it will get easier.

DIFFICULTY SPEAKING: Studies show that it can take up to two weeks to resume normal speech after placement of an expander. It will get better! The more you talk, the faster you will adapt to speaking with the expander.

EXTRA SALIVA: It is normal to experience extra saliva and slurping the first few days. We have just put a foreign object in your mouth that your body is treating like food. Eventually your mind will make the connection that you are not trying to eat your expander!

DISCOMFORT: Some discomfort is normal. If the teeth are tender, you should take whatever you take for headaches. It should never be extremely painful.

SEPERATION OF FRONT TEETH: A gap will usually develop between the upper front teeth. This is a good sign. It usually closes after the appliance is no longer activated.

CLEANING THE APPLIANCE: Brush normally and be sure to brush the expander as well. We recommend a waterpick to flush under the appliance where a toothbrush cannot reach.

IF FOOD GETS STUCK: If food is stuck try swishing with water to loosen the item and use the small proxy brush that we gave you to remove the item. A waterpick is helpful for flushing under your expander to remove plaque and food.

Orthodontic retainers are just as important as the orthodontic treatment you received to straighten your teeth! Retainers are what maintain your correction and prevent your teeth from shifting back to their original position.

HOW LONG ARE RETAINERS WORN? You may stop wearing your retainers when you no longer want straight teeth. Lifetime retainer wear will ensure that your teeth do not move (as studies have shown they do in those patients who do not wear their retainers).

The first three months you need to wear your retainers full-­time. This means you should wear them approximately 22 hours/day, taking them out only when you eat, or brush your teeth. You should sleep with them.


The first three months you need to wear your retainers full-time.  This means you should wear them approximately 22 hours/day, taking them out only when you eat, or brush your teeth.  After three months of excellent retainer wear we will instruct you to wear them every night while sleeping.


  • If you lose or break your retainer, please call our office immediately so that we can replace it as soon as possible so that the teeth do not shift.
  • Please notify our office right away if your retainers do not fit or do not feel right. If you were given retainers, you must call us within 48 hours of getting your retainers for it to be our responsibility. If you notify us after 48 hours it will be your financial responsibility if your retainers need to be re-
  • If you take your retainers out to eat, put them in their retainer case!
  • Keep your retainers clean. In the morning and at bedtime, gently brush your teeth and your retainers with toothbrush and toothpaste. Rinse with cool water only.
  • Efferdent or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used once a week to keep your retainers fresh, but should not be used in place of brushing them daily.
  • Keep your retainers out of the reach of you cat or dog. They make excellent chew toys!
  • When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in your retainer case. Storing them in your pocket, purse, or backpack is the most common way they are broken.
  • Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. This will get better in about a week. Be patient.
  • Do not put your retainers in the dishwasher, hot water or any hot surface.
  • No chewing gum while wearing retainers.
  • ALWAYS bring your retainers to your appointments.


Bonded retainers place on the top teeth require that you do not bite directly into hard or crunchy foods.  Bagels, pizza crust and very stick foods may cause the retainer to break.

It is extremely important that you wear the clear Invisalign-type retainers that we gave you at night to maintain your dental arch form and to protect your bonded retainer. 

Your family dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings if he/she decides that you need increased help in cleaning around your retainer.

If the retainer becomes loose or breaks, call our office immediately.   If the retainer is broken, then it is not holding the teeth in place and your teeth may shift.  The clear Invisalign-type retainer we gave you to wear at night will keep your teeth from shifting in the interim until you can get into the office to have the retainer fixed.  So wear it!

Elastics or orthodontic rubber bands are used to correct your bite. Your braces will not be removed until your bite is corrected, so your cooperation is needed in order for you to complete your treatment as soon as possible.

When elastics are worn one day and left off the next, or for only part of the day, tooth movement does not continue as rapidly and often no change takes place. If you follow the instructions exactly, you will get better, faster and more comfortable results. This leads to the removal of your braces in a shorter period of time.

There is often some initial discomfort when elastics are first worn, but this discomfort disappears after two or three days. If you stop wearing the elastics during the periods of discomfort, slower tooth movement results, and the discomfort will return when the elastics are replaced. So it is better to work through the initial discomfort rather than taking a break from your rubber bands.

Soreness in the jaw joint area, however is abnormal. Problems can include pain, clicking or grating sensation, and the inability to open or close the mouth. In case of problems in the jaw joint region, discontinue elastic wear and call our office immediately.

New elastics should be used each day, as the old elastics tend to lose their elasticity with time. It is not necessary to change the elastics more than once a day. Unless otherwise directed, wear your elastics 24 hours a day. The elastics should be removed to brush your teeth, and can be removed when eating, if necessary. In these cases, the same elastics should be replaced immediately.

You should call the office if you are having trouble getting the elastics hooked properly on the orthodontic appliances, if you run out of elastics, or if there is any reason you cannot wear your elastics as directed. Do NOT wait for your next appointment! This can delay your treatment progress! At each appointment, check with us to see if should continue to wear your elastics, (and grab a back-up supply if needed).

Invisalign should be worn 22 hours a day unless instructed otherwise by Dr. Fodero. If you should lose your aligner please call our office right away and we will recommend the next course of action (whether we will order a replacement or if we will have you advance to the next aligner). Please take your aligners out to eat. Do not drink hot beverages with them in your mouth. We recommend drinking water only when they are in your mouth. Beverages with coloring will gradually stain the aligner. Your aligners should be cleaned daily simply by brushing them with toothpaste and rinsing with cold water.

Treatment Instructions