orthodontist rome ga

What to Expect the First Week with Braces

March 21st, 2023

first week with braces

Our team is so excited to have you join the family and we will take really good care of you the day you get your braces on. It is normal to be nervous, but we promise it will all be worth it! So, what should you expect the week after you get braces? We're here to help guide you that first week as you make adjustments.

Expect Some Soreness

It is normal for your mouth to be sore or tender the first week after getting braces. Your teeth will already start to shift some! Also, it will take a little bit of time for your lips, gums, cheeks and tongue to adapt to the brackets and wires on your teeth. This tenderness will not last forever and should be much better in one to two weeks. Our team will send home some wax with you to cover any areas that get irritated from the brackets and wires.

To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater). If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever as needed. After a week or two, your mouth will toughen up and will not be tender any more.

What to Eat

We suggest eating soft foods for the first couple of days and staying away from anything tough to chew to help with your soreness. Things like pasta, bread and soup are great things to start out with. Once your tenderness goes away, you can eat what you feel like with a few exceptions listed below that you should not eat while you have braces.

Foods to avoid with braces:

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

How to Brush & Keep Your Mouth Clean

It is always important to brush your teeth and have good dental hygiene, but it is super important while you have braces because it is much easier for food and bacteria to get stuck in your teeth. Make sure to take your time while brushing and get around every bracket. We will provide you with "flossers" that look like soft plastic sewing needles to help you get the floss through your wires and show you how to use them. Many patients feel that rinsing with water or mouthwash really helps get out anything stuck.

Live Life Normally

Other than that, not much changes when you have braces! You can still play sports and instruments. We do recommend wearing a mouthguard if you participate in a contact activity to protect your mouth. Dr. Cox is proud of you for starting a journey toward a straight and healthy smile. It will all be worth the wait, we promise!

Seeing a Dentist While In Braces

November 5th, 2021

Seeing a Dentist While In BracesEven though it may seem like you’re in the dental exam chair a lot while you’re in braces (or clear aligners), seeing the orthodontist is not the same thing as seeing your regular dentist. Keep reading to find out why.

The Difference in an Orthodontist and Dentist

Both of these dental professionals play a big part in keeping mouths healthy and improving your oral health, but in different ways. A dentist covers a broad range of dental problems, specializing in teeth, gums, nerves, and jaws. A large part of general dentistry is treating or preventing tooth decay. Orthodontists are specialists who focus on correcting the alignment of teeth. This may include correcting bites, occlusion, and/or the straightness of one’s teeth.

Why See Both

While you’re wearing braces, it’s vitally important that you keep up with your regular dental checkups. Even though Dr. Cox went to dental school before diving into his specialty, your orthodontist appointments will not include a regular cleaning or an exam of the overall health of your teeth. Keeping up with your twice-a-year dental checkups while you’re in braces will allow for you to have your teeth professionally cleaned as well as check for tooth decay or other dental problems.

Brushing and Flossing with Braces

Braces and other orthodontic treatments play a big part in your overall dental health. But there is one potential drawback if you aren’t careful – brushing and flossing can be a bit more difficult with braces on. It’s a small risk, but one that doesn’t need to be ignored. Brackets and wires can make it hard to get food particles out from in between your teeth. Leaving food or sugar on your teeth for a prolonged time can lead to tooth decay or cavities. Keeping up with your dental appointments is the very best way to make sure that any problems are spotted early. Your general dentist is also able to spot any gum problems that an orthodontist isn’t looking for at your exam.

A Team Effort

Orthodontists and dentists work hand-in-hand to keep your teeth, mouth, and gums healthy. The goal of our entire team – and of good general dentist offices – is to always make sure our patients get a well-rounded approach to oral health!

All About Retainers

March 30th, 2021


One of the most important parts of your orthodontic journey is the phase after your braces are removed, called retention. The focus of the retention phase is to keep your teeth in their new positions. Teeth naturally want to shift over time due to a variety of factors like chewing, growth, and even breathing. This is why wearing and taking care of your retainers is so vital.

Wear & Care of Your Retainers

Always follow your orthodontist's directions for wearing your retainers. In most cases, you will wear your retainer all only at night. Most patients will receive a retainer for both their bottom and top teeth. You can remove your retainers to eat and brush your teeth. When the retainers are not in your mouth, remember to always put them in your retainer case. Retainers are notorious for being easily thrown away or eaten by a pet. As soon as you are done eating or brushing your teeth, put your retainers back in so you wear them as long as possible.

Cleaning Your Retainers

Like anything you want to last, it is important to keep your retainers clean. Bacteria can quickly grow on retainers and cause it to smell if it is not cleaned daily. We suggest rubbing mild soap or using Retainer Brite on your retainers when taking them out to brush your teeth in the morning. You can also use an old toothbrush with toothpaste to clean your retainer. Never boil your appliance or put it in the dishwasher. The heat can melt the plastic that the retainer is made out of.

Lost or Broke Your Retainer?

We understand that sometimes accidents happen. If you happen to lose or break your retainer, call us about getting a replacement one or scheduling an appointment. If your retainer breaks, keep as many of the pieces that you can and bring them to your appointment. If your retainer no longer fits, we will schedule an appointment to see if we can adjust your retainer. Retainers are key to keeping your smile "orthodontist approved" and we are here to help with any retainer needs that you might have! *Please note that there could be a cost with repairing or replacing your retainer. We will give you more details at your appointment.