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Caring For Your Braces
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Caring For Your Braces 

Scope Orthodontics has a highly trained team to support and care for you during your journey with braces. Refer to the information below, to assist you during your early days  with braces and throughout the course of your treatment.

While braces are on your teeth it is critical that they are kept extremely clean. Your brackets are made of stainless steel or ceramic and will not damage your teeth.

However, there are many more places for bacteria and plaque to accumulate on the braces. It is essential that you brush your teeth at least two to three times a day and floss each day. Failing to do so can result in gum disease, bad breath or decalcification of the enamel and tooth decay.

It is very important to continue to see your general dentist every six months while your braces are on your teeth. This will help to ensure that your teeth and gums remain in the best condition possible during your treatment. Some adult patients may benefit from seeing their dentist even more frequently than this, or perhaps to see a periodontist who is a specialist in the area of gum disease.

It is normal to feel some minor discomfort for the first few days after your braces are initially placed. Modern brackets and wires mean that the forces exerted on the teeth to move them is lighter than they have ever been before, but it will still take some time for you to adjust. Your teeth will feel tender to bite on for a few days, and a soft diet is recommended. Pasta, eggs and fish are great foods to eat during this time. The brackets and wires may rub the inside of your lips and cheeks and this may also be uncomfortable. We will provide you with special orthodontic wax to help with this, and we also find that doing warm salty mouthrinses for a few days also really helps.

Your braces are glued to your teeth with a special type of adhesive. At the end of your treatment, we want to be able to remove your braces without damaging the enamel of the teeth. Because of this, the adhesive is of a medium strength. This means that if you eat the wrong foods it may be possible to break the brackets off your teeth. Breakages are something definitely best to be avoided. They will add time and possibly cost to your treatment. To prevent breakages, you will need to avoid hard, sticky or chewy foods. Some foods such as apples or carrots are best cut up before eating. We will advise you in more detail on what types of foods to avoid on the day that your braces are placed.

Broken brackets are not usually an emergency, but please contact us as soon as possible if this happens. A loose bracket will be able to move freely on the archwire, and will usually be quite obvious. If the bracket is at the very back of the mouth, it may be able to slide off the end of the archwire. Remove the bracket if possible, to avoid swallowing it, and call the practice on the next business day to schedule a repair.

Your orthodontic wires will be very thin and flexible for the first 6-9 months of your braces treatment. Occasionally the wires may move from one side to the other and become long on one side. These wires can then irritate the lips and cheeks. You may be able to reposition the wire with the eraser on the end of a pencil. Alternatively, use a piece of orthodontic wax over the long wire until you can schedule a visit to come and see us to have the wire repositioned.

Please do not try to cut the archwire yourself, as you may end up swallowing or inhaling the piece that is cut off.

Orthodontic bands are metal rings that are sometimes cemented over the molar (back) teeth. Bands may be used to anchor either your braces, or some types of cemented plates. If you eat hard, chewy or sticky foods then you may break the glue that affixes the band to the tooth, and it will become loose. Please contact us to have the band recemented.

Separators are small elastic bands that are placed between the back teeth for a week to enable orthodontic bands to be placed. Separators can sometimes work loose prior to your scheduled visit. If this happens, please contact us to determine if and when the separator needs to be replaced.

Leaving your orthodontic plate or retainer at a restaurant, or having it eaten by your dog are very common occurrences! Please be careful with your appliances. However, should you lose your plate or retainer contact us so that we can schedule a time to have the appliance remade where appropriate.

One of the most important aspects of your orthodontic treatment is your co-operation. Our Orthodontic Team will work with you from the beginning to the end of your treatment program to ensure that the best possible result is achieved.


  • Keep your regular scheduled appointments. Missing appointments will increase treatment time.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal to keep your teeth and appliances clean.
  • Do not play with your appliances as this may loosen the wires and break attachments. Loose wires can irritate the inside of your mouth and lips.
  • Avoid eating hard and chewy foods to prevent your appliances from breaking, bending or coming loose.
  • Co-operate by wearing your elastic bands as instructed by your orthodontist.

REMEMBER! We need to work together to get the best possible result for you.


Your braces are precise appliances designed for specific purposes and require particular care.

If you need to identify a concern with your braces, for example a breakage, please refer to the image below so you can accurately describe the problem when you call Scope Orthodontics.

Knowing Your Braces
1. Band A ring of metal that is glued onto the tooth.
2. Bracket A metal or ceramic attachment bonded to the tooth or welded to a band.
3. Archwire A length of removable wire that fits into the bracket slots around the dental arch.
4. Hooks These are used to attach elastics.

  1. Brush Braces Step
    An interproximal brush should be used to clean between the braces and under the archwires.
  2. Brush Braces
    Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Spend at least 10 seconds cleaning each tooth.
    Clean the gum line. Start brushing where the tooth meets the gum surface. With the bristles angled towards the gumline use a circular motion and work your way around the mouth from one side to the other.
    Healthy gums do not bleed. If you notice any bleeding concentrate on cleaning and flossing in that area.
  3. Clean Braces
    Clean your braces. Tilt the bristles upwards and then downwards so they can get into the area under the wire and between the braces. In a circular motion, be sure to brush each bracket on every tooth.
  4. Brushing With Braces
    Brush the chewing surfaces and the inside surfaces of all your teeth.

Flossing is the best method to prevent gum disease and decay between the teeth. Plaque is the major cause of gum disease and decay and it must be removed daily. Only floss can reach between the teeth to remove plaque. Flossing during orthodontic treatment is time consuming, but with practice it will become an easy routine.

Waxed floss or tape should be used. Unwaxed floss may shred on the metal edges of the bands and brackets. Use a piece about 45cm long.

  • Flossing With Braces
    Start by threading the floss under the archwire before it is passed between the teeth.
  • Flossing With Braces
    Ease the floss between your teeth with steady pressure. Do not force the floss hard into your gums. Rub the floss up and down against the tooth surface.
  • A pharmacy can provide a floss threading device to help pass the floss under the archwire, if required.

Each time you visit Scope Orthodontics we will evaluate your brushing and flossing. We will score your performance from 5 stars down to 1 star, so that you know how effective you are with your cleaning. To ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy throughout your treatment you will need to consistently score 4 or 5 stars.

Evaluation Orthodontics Fantastic! Couldn’t be better Teeth and gums in top condition.
Evaluation Orthodontics Very good Just missing a couple of tricky areas.
Evaluation Orthodontics Average You’re only cleaning the easy areas and plaque is building up.
Evaluation Orthodontics Definitely not good enough Much more effort required. The gums are now puffy and red. Your teeth are at risk of staining and decay.
Evaluation Orthodontics Disaster area You are developing gum disease, dental decay and staining on your teeth which will be with you for life – a critical time to get better with your cleaning – fast!

  • Brush your teeth and braces for 5 minutes at least 3 times a day immediately after eating – after breakfast, after lunch or after school and definitely after dinner.
  • If you cannot brush immediately after eating you need to thoroughly swish your mouth with water and then clean your teeth and braces as soon as you can.
  • After your evening meal floss carefully and then brush your teeth.
  • It is important to use fluoride toothpaste, as fluoride will help prevent staining and damage to your teeth.

The key to healthy teeth and gums during your orthodontic treatment is the complete removal of all plaque every day.

Plaque is the sticky colourless film of bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth. It is the main cause of gum disease and dental decay.

Preventing damage to your teeth and gums. Cleaning your teeth and gums is very important to avoid the following damage:

Poor Oral Hygiene
  1. Enamel decalcification - permanent white marks on teeth.
  2. Swollen, puffy gums.
  3. Bleeding gums.
  4. Tooth decay.


Disclosing solution is a pink dye which stains food and plaque on your teeth. Use it at least once a week after flossing and brushing to see the areas you have missed.

Using Disclosing Tablets
  • Swish the dye solution around your teeth and gums.
  • Rinse your mouth with water to remove the excess dye. The pink stains around your braces show where the plaque has been left.
  • Now brush and floss your teeth again. When all the pink areas are gone your mouth will be plaque free.



Your teeth will move best when all your body systems are healthy. A balanced diet is important, so choose foods from all food groups. In the first few days and after adjustments your teeth may be tender to pressure, so it’s best to eat softer foods.

Don’t eat hard, chewy food or place hard objects in your mouth. They loosen, break and bend wires, brackets and bands. You must avoid:

  • Hard crusts from bread and pizza.
  • Tough meat or chewing meat off the bone (chicken and chops).
  • Carrots – unless cooked or grated.
  • Raw celery.
  • Apples – must be cut up first.
  • Hard biscuits.
  • Sucking and chewing ice blocks.
  • Corn chips, popcorn, nuts.
  • Toasted muesli or hard cereals.
  • Chewing on pens, bottle tops, fingernails.

Don’t eat hard, sticky or sweet foods. They cause damage to the teeth and gums as well as the braces. For example:

  • Lollies – hard and soft.
  • Chocolates.
  • Chewing gum, bubble gum.
  • Muesli or fruit bars.


Sugar is dangerous to your teeth. Don’t forget the hidden sugar and acids in dried fruit, sports drinks, soft drinks, cordials, sugared cereal, honey and jam. Too much sugar causes acid attack which leads to staining, enamel damage and decay of your teeth.

REMEMBER! When you are thirsty, tap water is best. It contains fluoride and it also substitutes for sugary drinks.


In almost all cases damage to your braces is caused by eating hard or brittle foods or chewing on pens or other hard objects.


  • It will be painful if a wire catches on your cheek or lip.
  • It will be inconvenient for you. An appointment will be taken up repairing damage rather than progressing with your treatment. This means your braces will be on for a longer time.
  • Damaged orthodontic appliances often cannot be repaired, and are costly to replace. Please understand that frequent damage may result in additional cost to you.


We recommend you wear a mouthguard if you are playing contact sports or any other activity where your teeth are at risk of trauma.

We can use specialist orthodontic technicians to make a personalised mouthguard which will provide you with significant protection from trauma.

You may choose to use a non-personalised mouthguard from a pharmacy. This will not provide the same level of protection as a personalised mouthguard, but does have the advantage of being able to be remoulded a few times as the teeth move. We are happy to mould your mouthguard for you, if you are not confident to do it yourself.

  • Sore and tender gums and teeth.
    Remember some soreness is normal, especially after an adjustment. Use warm salty mouth rinses and eat a soft diet to relieve discomfort. If necessary, use the same pain reliever as you would for a headache.
  • Irritated cheeks, lips and tongue.
    Try to see what is causing the problem. If a wire has moved out of place try to move it back into place by using a cotton wool bud or the end of a match stick. If that does not work, cover the area with wax or cotton wool and contact us for an appointment.
  • Broken Archwire.
    Stop wearing any elastics and contact us. Remove any loose wire and cover the irritating end with wax or cotton wool.
  • Broken Bracket.
    This is not an emergency, however please advise Scope Orthodontics as it may need to be attended to before your next appointment.
  • Loose band on a back tooth.
    It is important for us to re-cement any loose bands. Please call Scope Orthodontics for an appointment as soon as possible.
For any of the above problems, please contact us