Frequently Asked Questions - Orthodontics

This information is here for your convenience and is designed to help you find answers to the questions people most often ask regarding orthodontic care. However, we encourage you to call our office at (818) 708-4909 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Yu so he can answer your specific needs.

1) Now that I got my braces today, what do I do?
First you need to know the correct name for your appliances. Each has a special job to do
and knowing this will give you the information needed to make the proper choices. (Download Guide - Pdf)

BANDS...are the metal rings around your back teeth.
The area collects a 1fJf' of food and, is hard to reach. You must take special precautions to brush this area carefully and thoroughly. Bands are glued to your tooth by a special cement made especially for orthodontic appliances. This cement is very strong and will hold your bands on for many years, unfortunately CARBONATION is the enemy. Reduce your intake of soda, sparkling water and juices, beer and sparkling wines. Oh, don't forget that baking soda is carbonation... don't buy toothpaste with baking soda.

BRACKETS... are the rectangle pieces of metal or ceramic on the front and side teeth.
Although this area is easier to reach, your gums are irritated merely by wearing braces, so brushing correctly, massaging your gums and flossing become extremely important. Brackets are glued on by a special bonding material made especially for orthodontic brackets. Again, you must understand that these can easily stay on your teeth for years without breakage if you care for them properly. the thin metal wire that connects the braces together.
This is what makes teeth move. This also needs to be kept clean. It is quite unusual for an archwire to actually bend or break. However, this will happen from gross neglect or abuse. Biting into something hard or chewy can be a possibility.

WARNING!!! Remember to stay away from carbonation and eat ALL food in small pieces.
DO NOT BITE OR TEAR FOOD WITH YOUR TEETH. 90% of our patients do not break even one appliance and 5% break less than three during the entire two to three years of treatment. However, 5% of our patients seem to have a very big problem understanding what and how to eat their food and care for their braces. Don't let this be you.

2) How do I care for my teeth now?
We recommend that all orthodontic patients floss once a day and brush regularly as before but with extra care now. You will be taught by the Registered Dental Assistant on the proper technique and different products available. Download our complete guide on brushing and flossing or visit Dr. Yu's guides.

The use of a Proxy brush, Water pik and disclosing tablets will be discussed at your appointment. These can be very useful in your hygiene program if used with the proper technique.

It is recommended that Orthodontic patients have a regular professional cleaning every three to six months during active Orthodontic treatment. Don't forget the hygiene program you have created at home for yourself will make these appointments more or less enjoyable.

3) How do I eat with braces?
Does this sound familiar?
NO-NO's - Stay away from the following foods:
Chewing gum & Bubble gum (and even sugarless)
Hard & sticky candy (Now & Laters, Taffy, Caramels)
Ice (no more chewing ice)
Hard Bread, Bagels, Pizza Crust
Fresh fruits and vegetables (like carrots and apples)
Hard Tacos, Doritos chips, Corn chips, etc.
Corn on the Cob, Ribs Pretzels, Popcorn, Nuts, Peanut Brittle
Lemons (pure juice can hurt enamel)
Carbonated beverages

BEFORE braces, eating a Big Mac was a process of biting and tearing. Eating a steak was a process of cutting into pieces and placing the steak into your mouth. NOW with braces, ALL food must be eaten like a steak. Cut or tear your sandwich, soft Taco, Big Mac, cookie, into SMALL bite size pieces and then place them into your mouth. Avoid putting too much pressure on your brackets or they will eventually fall off. ALSO keep your fingers out of tour mouth! NO biting your nails or pens, sucking fingers or playing with your braces. These are all small pressures that can loosen your brackets.  Download this guide.