Life with braces is easier than you think

It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy during orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.

Tooth brush


Braces are metal brackets fixed to your teeth with a wire running through them. Dr. Guinn tightens the wire regularly to help guide your teeth into a straighter position. Braces help you avoid complications like tooth damage and cavities that come from having moderate to severe misalignment.
By wearing braces, you can fix:

    Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. Electric and sonic toothbrushes are also acceptable.
    Brush your teeth after meals and snacks.
    If having eaten while away from home, use your interdental brush to dislodge any food that may get caught around your braces.
    Rinse with water to dislodge food from your braces and to keep sugar from sitting on your teeth.
    Floss your teeth at least once a day.
    Have a check up with your dentist every 6 months.


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Eating With Braces Is Easy

Don’t worry, you’ll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.

Foods To Avoid

● Chewy foods — bagels, licorice.● Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice.● Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum (sugar-free is okay).● Hard foods — nuts, hard candies.● Foods you have to bite into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots.

Foods That You CAN Eat

● Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks.● Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts.● Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice.● Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats.● Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes.● Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans.● Fruits — applesauce, bananas, sliced fruit, most berries (but watch out for seeds).● Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, cake.


Learn With Us

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 – 5 days. Take Tylenol or whatever you normally take for headache or discomfort. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces. We will supply wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort.

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can move. The teeth will firm up in their new — corrected — positions after treatment is completed.

Loose Wire or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire sticks out and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance.
Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the problem.

Rubber Band Wear

To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Lack of cooperation following instructions and damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time… so please … follow instructions.


If you play sports, it’s important you let us know. A protective mouthguard is provided for playing contact sports.


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What We Get Asked The Most

  • What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

    Upon arriving, we will take a set of digital photos, once they are complete, the new patient consultant will acclimate you to our office and discuss the benefits of orthodontics.
    Our Pasadena orthodontist, Dr. Karen Guinn will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam and talk over the treatment plan. Finally, if you are ready to begin treatment, we will take the necessary X-rays and confirm the proper diagnosis. In some cases, we can even put your braces on or take the Invisalign scan on the same day!

  • What will I learn from the initial examination?

    The five essential questions that we will cover are:
    ● Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?● What must be done to correct the problem?● I this the proper time to begin treatment?● How long will the treatment take to complete?● How much will the treatment cost?

  • Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

    No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, friends, family and colleagues, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

  • Do I need to see my dentist while in braces?

    Yes! Regular checkups with your dentist are important while in braces. Your dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments and dental exams while you are in braces.

  • At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

    The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition. It doesn’t mean a patient will need braces, but it’s a good time to start to get acquainted.

  • Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

    No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

  • Do braces hurt? Do I have to get a shot?

    “It does not have to hurt to work!” Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil will ease the discomfort and shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

  • Can I play sports or play my instrument?

    Yes. We also recommend a mouth guard for all sports.

  • Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

    Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not nearly as common as it used to be.

  • How often will I have appointments?

    Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. There are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, but most patients in braces using The Damon System will be seen every 10 to 12 weeks and Invisalign patients every 8 to 10 weeks on average.

  • Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?

    No patient is “too old” to have orthodontic treatment, in fact, a surprising percentage of our patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults too.

  • Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?

    Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.

  • How long will it take to complete treatment?

    Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, the “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 18-24 months.

  • How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

    It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you, but we will cover the cost and financial options available to accommodate your needs, during the initial exam. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit, as well as file your claims.

  • How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

    Patients should brush their teeth at 2-4 times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces or Invisalign.

  • What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

    If your braces are causing pain or something breaks, please call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone, but if you need an appointment, we will gladly see you.

  • Can orthodontic correction occur while a child still has baby teeth?

    Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow a patient’s growth until the time is right to begin.

  • What is Phase One (early) Treatment?

    Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 11. It usually lasts about 12 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe, it can also improve self-esteem.

  • Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?

    It is possible that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. The period following Phase One is called the “resting period,” during which growth and tooth eruption are monitored. You will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations.

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