At Richard Chan Orthodontics, when my braces or Invisalign patients kick off treatment, I make sure to explain to them in detail how to care for their new appliances. However, with the holidays in full swing and lots of fun to be had, you could have forgotten some of the finer points on Invisalign and braces care. Well, let’s test your knowledge with a quiz that covers everything from how to brush your teeth with braces to how many hours a day you should wear your aligners. Write down your responses and check them against the answers at the end to see how well you did.
1. How many times a day should you brush your teeth with braces?
A. You don’t really need to brush your teeth with braces because the brackets protect you from plaque.
B. Brushing teeth with braces requires a little more diligence. Brush with fluoride toothpaste in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed?
C. There are no hard and fast rules on how to brush your teeth with braces. Usually brushing at the end of the day will suffice and get rid of any food and plaque.
2. Do you have to use a special floss for braces?
A. You can use regular old dental floss for braces. Use a floss threader with your floss to get under your wires and in between your teeth. However, there are also specialized orthodontic flossers that can make it even easier but they’re not a requirement.
B. Trick question! You can’t floss with braces because the brackets and wires get in the way.
C. It’s important to buy a top-of-the-line water flosser when you have braces.
3. Do you have to visit your regular dentist during your orthodontic treatment?
A. Nope. Dr. Chan and the team will check for tooth decay.
B. You only have to see your general dentist if you have a really obvious cavity that needs to be filled.
C. Yes. It’s essential to see your general dentist regularly throughout your orthodontic treatment for check-ups and cleanings. It’s typically recommended that you schedule dental visits twice a year.
4. Should you wear a mouthguard when playing sports with braces?
A. No, because the metal prevents a ball or an opponent’s elbow from hitting your teeth.
B. It depends. If your sport requires it, then you have to wear a mouthguard.
C. Yes. You should wear a mouthguard when playing a sport or doing any activity where you could sustain a blow to the mouth. This will protect your teeth and prevent your braces from being damaged.
5. Are there foods to avoid with braces?
A. Yes. You should stay away from really hard, sticky or chewy foods when you have braces, such as popcorn, nuts, caramel, whole, raw apples or carrots and pizza crust. Frequently damaging your braces by eating these foods can cause your treatment to go off track.
B. You can eat whatever you want. If you break a bracket, Dr. Chan can easily fix it anyway.
C. Yes. You should avoid gum but everything else is fair game.
6. How many hours per day should you wear your Invisalign or Invisalign Teen aligners?
A. You just need to wear them at night when you’re sleeping.
B. Wear your aligners for about 20 to 22 hours per day and take them out to eat and brush and floss your teeth.
C. Wearing your aligners for 12 hours a day is enough to see amazing results.
7. What should you do if your teeth are feeling sensitive after you get braces on, following an adjustment or when putting in a new set of Invisalign aligners?
A. Stop wearing your aligners or ask Dr. Chan to take your braces off.
B. Deal with it because it will make you a stronger person in the end!
C. Stick with soft foods and cold drinks for a few days after first starting treatment and whenever your teeth feel sensitive. You can also try swishing with a saltwater rinse (one teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water) or taking a non-aspirin, over-the-counter pain reliever.
8. How do you handle a broken braces bracket?
A. The wires are actually much more important than the brackets so you don’t have to do anything if a braces bracket comes loose or breaks.
B. Attempt use a piece of gum to hold it in place until your next appointment.
C. Call Richard Chan Orthodontics and let us know what’s going on so we can schedule you for a repair appointment. If the bracket has broken completely free and is in the back of your mouth, gently remove it from the wire and then cover the remaining wire in orthodontic relief wax or use sterilized nail clippers to very carefully clip the excess. If a braces brackets comes loose in the front of your mouth, dry it off with a piece of tissue or a cotton swab and then use wax to cover it so it doesn’t irritate your lips or cheeks.
9. Can you eat while you have your Invisalign aligners in your mouth?
A. No. Be sure to take your Invisalign or Invisalign Teen aligners out before you eat or drink anything besides water. It’s a good idea to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth out before putting them back in.
B. Yes. You only wear your aligners for a week or so and then you change them. That means if they get stained or warped, you can just put in new ones.
C. You only have to remove your aligners if you’re having hot foods. You can leave them in for cold treats.
10. What should you do if you get food stuck in your braces brackets?
A. Use whatever you have on hand to knock the food loose. Braces are strong so they can withstand some force.
B. Make up an excuse and then go home immediately to avoid embarrassment.
C. Brush your teeth if your toothbrush is nearby, use a proxy brush to poke the food free or gently dislodge it with a toothpick.
9-10 Questions Right – Invisalign and Braces Care Expert
Congratulations! You know your stuff when it comes to caring for your appliance and your teeth. You’re going to sail through treatment and see outstanding results before you know it!
7-8 Questions Right – Teeth-Straightening Newbie
We don’t expect our patients to know everything. It seems like you have the basics down. It wouldn’t hurt to check out our page on life with braces or read through our Invisalign FAQs to make sure you have all of the information you need to keep your smile healthy throughout treatment.
6 Questions or Less Right – We’ve Got You Covered
It’s okay to feel a little lost during orthodontic treatment but it’s really important to follow our instructions to get the best results and make sure you finish treatment on time. Let’s chat at your next appointment. Let us know you have some questions and we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know.
If you ever have a question about treatment, contact us and we’ll make sure you feel confident about caring for your braces or Invisalign. If you aren’t a patient yet but you’re ready to get your dream smile, book a free consultation at Richard Chan Orthodontics in Bothell, Monroe or Mill Creek, Washington or Juneau, Alaska!