Caring for Your Smile

At Warrior Orthodontics, we want you to have all of the information to prepare for your life with braces.

Why Should I Straighten My Teeth?

Straight teeth help you bite, chew and speak effectively. Straight teeth contribute to healthy teeth and gums and may alleviate or prevent physical health problems.

A pleasing appearance is a vital component of self-confidence. At Warrior Orthodontics, we see self-esteem improve every day as orthodontic treatment brings the teeth, lips and face into proportion. This can benefit your social and career success, as well as your general outlook on life.

You may be surprised to learn that straight teeth are less prone to decay, gum disease, and injury. Straight teeth collect less plaque, a colorless, sticky film composed of bacteria, food and saliva. Decay results when the bacteria in plaque feed on carbohydrates (sugar and starch) we eat or drink to produce acids that can cause cavities.

Plaque can also increase the risk for periodontal (gum) disease. When teeth are properly aligned, it’s easier to keep them clean, meaning less plaque collects and these risks decline.

As for injuries to teeth, protruding upper teeth are more likely to be broken in an accident. When repositioned and aligned with other teeth, these teeth are most probably going to be at a decreased risk for fracture.

Untreated orthodontic problems may become worse when left untreated. They may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, destruction of the bone that holds teeth in place, and chewing and digestive difficulties.

Orthodontic problems can cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment of the jaw joints, sometimes leading to chronic headaches or pain in the face or neck.

Treatment with Dr. Abenoja can help correct these problems early and may be less costly than the restorative dental care required to treat more serious problems that can develop in later years.

Foods to Avoid During Treatment

Loose bands, broken wires, and detached brackets cause delays in your orthodontic treatment at Warrior Orthodontics.
Eating certain foods will loosen your braces, but you may not discover the problem until hours or even days later, so avoid these foods:

  • Ice - chewing ice will damage your braces
  • Pizza crust - the hard crust can bend the wires
  • Hard pretzels - these bend wires and loosen bands and brackets
  • Hard rolls/bagels - bend the wires and loosen the brackets
  • Doritos, Fritos, hard shell tacos, etc - these will form a hard ball and break your braces
  • Raw apples and carrots - slice into bite size pieces
  • Corn on the cob - slice corn off the cob
  • Beef jerky, Slim Jims - these are tough as nails.
  • Lollipops, hard candy - you may weaken your braces when you bite into them
  • Popcorn - the little kernels get between the gum and the band
  • Nuts - no nuts of any kind
  • Caramel candy, gum, taffy - these are sticky and will pull off wires and feed the bacteria in your mouth. Plus, chewing gum repeatedly flexes the wires and breaks them -- just like you can do to a clothes hanger.
  • Pens and pencils - Favorite exam food; damages wires and brackets.

Retainer Instructions

Wear your retainers every single night. Take your retainers out when eating, and always put retainers in their case!(Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants.)

  • Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and hand soap.
    • Use warm but not hot water.
    • Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors.
    • Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
  • When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case.
    • Pets love to chew on them!
  • Initially, you may find it difficult to speak.
    • Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them faster.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or if your retainers need adjusting, call us.
    • Do not try to adjust them yourself.
  • Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
  • Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
  • Remove retainers when swimming.
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.

What to Do in an Emergency

Call our Warrior office as soon as possible if you break or loosen any of your appliances. Please do not come directly to the office.
By first calling us you allow us to create a time to see you properly. Even if you have a regular appointment scheduled soon, call us immediately to notify us if you need an appliance repaired.

Loose Brackets or Bands

Call our office immediately for advice if a bracket or wire is loosened. The bracket may need to be refitted as soon as possible. You may have a weekend or night-time situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off the wire.
If you need to cut a wire in case of emergency, use fingernail clippers that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol. Please call our office the next business day so we may schedule an appointment for you.

Wire Irritations

  • Sometimes discomfort caused by a wire on your braces can be resolved by moving the wire away from the irritated area with a cotton swab or eraser.
  • If the wire will not move, try covering the end of it with a small piece of cotton or a small amount of wax.
  • If the wire is painful you can cut it with nail clippers or scissors that have been washed and sterilized in alcohol.
  • If you cannot resolve the wire irritation, call our office for an appointment.

Lost Separators

Most patients lose a separator during their treatment. Do not worry about losing a separator, but call our office to see if it needs to be replaced.

General Discomfort

During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you may feel some discomfort.
You may take acetaminophen or other non-aspirin pain relievers while you adjust to your new braces. A warm wash cloth or heating pad may reduce the soreness in your jaws.

Orthodontic FAQs