Braces are hi-tech appliances that are temporarily attached to teeth. By attaching a modern wire to them, a force is applied in a controlled manner to move the teeth within the jaw bone. Thankfully modern-day braces are sleek and aesthetic.

WSO uses the latest technologies, including self-ligating brackets, heat-activated nickel-titanium wires, ceramic brackets, and digital 3-Dimensional virtual set-ups, to achieve the best possible treatment outcome as comfortably and quickly as possible.

Life is all about choice, and we offer our patients choices in their braces.  You can choose from silver, champagne, or clear ceramic braces, and can pick whether you want bright-coloured elastics or no visible colours.

We’ll review the different types of braces with you in more detail when you come in for your initial complimentary consultation at West Shore Orthodontics. We’re always proud to showcase the latest advancements in orthodontics to our patients!

Questions about braces;

Do braces hurt?

When you first get your braces, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for two to four days. Rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash can relieve this soreness. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously.

If your tenderness is severe, take an over the counter pain reliever in the recommended dosage every four to six hours. Your lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You may use wax on the braces to lessen this, and we’ll show you how.

A feeling of loose teeth is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry–this is normal. Your teeth must loosen first so they can move. Your teeth will become rigidly fixed in their new corrected positions.

Are there other types of braces besides metal ones?

While many of our patients prefer traditional metal braces, we also offer ceramic (or white) braces, as well as champagne-coloured braces.

For patients who want ceramic braces and still want to pop some awesome colours around the braces, we also have that option for you.

Will I be able to eat with braces?

For the first day or so, stick to soft foods, but moving your teeth frequently by chewing will reduce the degree of pain and its duration. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to bite a cucumber again. But you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces, which means you will need to avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, taffy, etc.).

During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, and can cause more plaque and potential cavities.

How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or aligners?
  • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and considering adding in an over the counter 0.05%NaF rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • When you take your aligners or retainers out to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep the appliances safe in their container.
  • Keep your appliances clean, too, by brushing them gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by our office. Do not put your appliances in boiling water, in the dishwasher or use strong chemicals.
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?

It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces so your teeth and gums stay healthy after orthodontic treatment With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces.

You should also floss daily to get between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Our staff at West Shore Orthodontics will show you how to brush and floss properly once your braces are placed.

Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to their dentist for a professional cleaning.

If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

Yes! In fact, it’s even more essential that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. We will work closely with your dentist to make sure your teeth stay clean and healthy while you’re wearing braces.

Will my braces interfere with sports, playing an instrument, or singing?

Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities.

If you play sports, it’s important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouth guard is advised for playing contact sports.

In case of an accident involving the face, check your mouth and appliances immediately. If your teeth are loosened or your appliances are damaged, call immediately to have a team member contact you. In the case of bleeding or trauma to the lip or face, stay calm, place ice to control bleeding/swelling area, and seek help from us or the Emergency Department of the hospital.

Watch how next-generation ceramic braces work;

Avoiding Problems

To prevent the need for emergency treatment, we recommend that patients in brackets and wires avoid foods that are sticky, crunchy and hard. It is also imperative that orthodontic patients practice excellent home care to avoid dental decay.

Top 10 foods to avoid with braces...
  1. popcorn – the husks and kernels can get wedged and potentially break brackets or wires
  2. nuts – can bend wires slowing down the treatment process
  3. chewing gum – can warp the wires and get stuck in all the metal
  4. hard or chewy candy – is off-limits due to the damage it causes
  5. hard rolls or bagels – biting into them can loosen brackets and wires
  6. pretzels, chips, and hard crackers – best to avoid them as much as possible
  7. pizza crust – when chewy, can get caught around the brackets and loosen the wires
  8. ice – when chewed, is one of the most common causes of damaged braces
  9. crunchy vegetables and fruits – like raw carrots or hard apples can lead to problems
  10. corn on the cob – can damage wires if not cut off the cob first

Remember, our goal is to make orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible. Please call us if you have any questions.

What modern ceramic brackets can look like;

Protocols For Ortho­dontic Emergencies

A true orthodontic emergency is rare however when they do occur, we are available to help you. If you experience severe, persistent pain or discomfort relating to your braces, aligners, or appliance, please call our office. We will either guide you over the phone on how to resolve the issue or we will schedule an office visit to assist you further.

You may be surprised and relieved to know many orthodontic problems can be resolved by you at home, at least temporarily until we can see you in our office. Your comfort is very important to us and managing that first and foremost is key. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important you call us as soon as possible to schedule an office visit to evaluate and resolve the issue. A disruption in treatment time may occur if your damaged braces/aligner/appliance are not resolved in a timely manner.

Major Problems

Major Orthodontic problems include;

    • Trauma or injury to the teeth, face, or mouth
    • Infection or swelling of the gums, mouth, or face
    • Severe, persistent, unmanageable discomfort, pain, or bleeding in these areas

If any of these situations occur seek help as soon as possible! Please call our office or a general dentist. As a last resort, head to your nearest walk-in clinic or hospital emergency department.

Fortunately, most orthodontic problems are minor, though they may still cause significant discomfort or irritation to your gums, cheeks, lips, tongue and teeth. Here are a few of the more common orthodontic problems, along with some tips on how you can achieve relief at home. →

Handling Minor & Common Issues

Loose bracket or band

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and bring it to your next appointment.

Loose wire

If a wire is out of the bracket or band and is loose or bulging, use a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to put your wire back into place or in a more comfortable position (Clean and disinfect tweezers/pliers with rubbing alcohol, or 3% hydrogen peroxide or thoroughly wash with soap and water before placing in the mouth).

You can’t do anything we can’t undo. Your comfort is key. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position and covering the end with wax doesn’t help, as a last resort you can use a small disinfected fingernail clipper. Clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire where you trimmed is sharp, place wax on it. If one of the colored elastics is missing, you can use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place.

Poking wire

Using a pencil eraser or the back of a spoon, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.

Poking appliance

The lips, cheeks and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks after treatment begins as they adapt to the new changes and positions. If the appliance is poking, apply wax as necessary and call our office for further instruction.

Lost or broken appliance

If you have lost or broken your appliance, please call the office. We may want to see photos of the broken appliance to see if it can be repaired. If the appliance is lost, we will let you know what the next steps are to get you a replacement.

Lost or broken retainer or Invisalign aligner

If you have lost or broken your retainer, please call the office. If you have lost or broken your Invisalign Aligner, you have two options.

  1. You can try to move forward to the next aligner, it will probably be tight so consider 2-3 weeks wear of this stage.
  2. If it does not fit, please call the office to let us know and go back to your previous aligner until your new one arrives.
TMJ or jaw joint pain

If you suffer from pain in your jaw that you suspect is from your orthodontic treatment, we recommend over-the-counter analgesic medications as needed as well as a 20-minute warm compress alternating with a 20-minute cold compress. If you are in aligners and the discomfort does not subside, you can try to go to nighttime wear and when the jaw feels better, build back up to 22-hour-a-day wear.

Managing General Discomfort

Initially, when you begin with braces or when you get new wires placed, it is common to feel some general discomfort with your teeth, cheeks, tongue, and lips. Your mouth may feel achy, you may get headaches, and/or you may feel discomfort when biting down on anything hard.

Typically, these symptoms can last between 3 – 5 days. Using an analgesic (over-the-counter pain reliever) as recommended, following a soft diet and frequent use of warm salt water or hydrogen peroxide rinses can help to relieve your discomfort through this time.

📋 Warm Saltwater Rinse:

    • Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 cup (8 oz) of warm (not hot) water
    • Rinse and swish vigorously.
      Spit out the solution – do not swallow!
    • Can be used up to 4 times a day.
      Do not use for longer than 2 weeks or discontinue if greater irritation occurs

📋 3% Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse:

    • Use 3 percent (%) concentration (over the counter) of hydrogen peroxide.
    • Mix two parts water with one part hydrogen peroxide.
    • Gargle, swishing the solution all around the mouth.
    • Tilt the head back, continue gargling for 30 seconds then spit the solution out – do not swallow!
      Hydrogen peroxide may cause foaming in the mouth which is normal.