Braces FAQ

Do I have to choose metal braces?

No! We want you to have options in your orthodontic treatment, so our doctors offer clear braces and clear aligners, a form of invisible braces.

What foods can I eat with braces?

When you begin treatment, you’ll need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances. We recommend you choose soft foods to eat with braces at school or work, including any of the following:

  • Dairy – soft cheese, yogurt, 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 – bananas, apple sauce,
  • Treats – ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, gelatin, soft cake
What foods should I avoid with braces?

It is very important to avoid foods that could result in broken brackets, loose wires, or broken appliances. Examples of foods that you should avoid:

  • Chewy foods such as bagels, fruit leathers, or beef jerky
  • Sticky foods like caramel candy, licorice, and marshmallows
  • Crunchy foods like chips, raw carrots, raw celery, and popcorn
  • Hard foods such as hard candy, hard breadsticks, or pizza crust
  • Foods that require biting into such as corn on the cob and apples. You can still enjoy these foods by slicing the apples or removing the corn from the cob.

A common question asked is “How long after getting braces can I eat normal foods? We tell patients that it’s best to avoid foods that can damage braces throughout the treatment period. If you can’t say no to the craving, eat with extreme caution.

How do I brush my teeth with braces?

Before brushing, do a quick rinse with water. This will dislodge any food particles stuck between the wires or brackets. Brush beginning at the gum line, using a 45-degree angle of approach. As you move towards the brackets, brush from both the top and the bottom, ensuring that the bristles reach under the wires and around the brackets. This process may take some extra time in the beginning, but once you are used to it, it will be routine for you. Follow up with a thorough flossing.

What toothbrush is best to use with braces during treatment?

We recommend using an electric toothbrush such as Sonicare or Oral-B. If you do not decide to use an electric toothbrush, use a toothbrush with soft bristles.

Do braces hurt?

Generally, braces do not hurt. However, you may feel a little sore or uncomfortable immediately after you first get them. This soreness is normal, and it will not last long. A saltwater rinse can help relieve soreness and inflammation. Dissolve a single teaspoon of salt in a full cup of lukewarm water and swish it around your mouth for a few minutes. If soreness persists, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If you experience lip, cheek, or tongue irritation in the weeks after getting braces, some wax can alleviate the problem quickly.

How long will I have my braces?

The amount of time that you will need to wear braces varies, depending on several things such as the severity of your bite problem. Most patients need to wear braces for 12 to 24 months, but this can be shorter or longer depending on your case—and at TDR, you can expect to be in braces for less time that you might at another practice because of our digital approach. 

Your doctor will discuss this with you and give you a general idea of what you can expect. After several months of wearing braces, the progress can be measured more easily, and a more accurate update can be given to you regarding how much longer you can expect to wear braces.

How much do braces cost in Detroit?

The cost of braces depends on which type of braces you choose, how long you will need treatment, and any other factors that might be unique to your treatment plan. Our treatment coordinators offer payment plans that can work with your budget and get you the orthodontic care that you need at one of our clinics in Birmingham, Taylor, Rochester Hills, Novi, and Howell.

Can I return to work or school the day I receive braces?

Yes. Generally, there is no reason you cannot return to school or work the same day.

Can I play sports with braces?

Yes, you can still play sports with braces. It’s highly recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Please ask your doctor about mouthguard options.

Am I too old for braces?

No matter how old you are, the answer is no. There is no age limit for braces and our doctors provide braces for children, teens, and adults. Modern adult braces are more discreet, more comfortable, and more effective. More adults are choosing orthodontic treatment now more than ever before.

Is it normal for my teeth to wiggle or feel loose during treatment?

Don’t panic if your teeth begin to feel a little loose. This is a normal part of the treatment process. Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will stabilize and no longer feel loose.

Invisalign® & 3M™ Clarity™ clear aligners

How often must I wear my aligners? Can I just wear them when I sleep?

We find that clear aligners are most effective when worn 22+ hours per day and removed only for eating, brushing, and flossing, so they can’t only be worn while sleeping.

How do I clean my clear aligners?

Use a soft bristle toothbrush (not your toothbrush that you use daily) to lightly sweep away any debris. Then, rinse off the aligners and place them back in your mouth.

How long do I wear my set of aligners?

This varies according to your treatment plan. Generally, aligners work for 1 week and get exchanged for the next set. This will depend on your specific treatment plan.

What are the benefits of clear aligners?

Invisalign aligners and 3M Clarity aligners are popular choices because of many benefits:

  • Clear aligners for a more aesthetic appearance
  • Comfortable as it is custom-made to fit your bite
  • Affordable (about the same price as traditional metal braces)
  • Faster treatment
  • Less time spent at the orthodontist
  • No restrictions on food
  • You can carry out your oral hygiene routine much easier than with the traditional brackets and wire
Who is eligible for Invisalign or 3M clear aligners?

Nearly anyone may benefit from clear aligner treatment—whether it’s Invisalign or 3M Clarity aligners. It all depends on the patient’s specific needs, since clear aligner treatment is a highly customized approach.

Growth Monitoring/
Phase 1 Treatment

At what age should I schedule an appointment for consultation?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic consultation at the age of 7. By this age, most children have several permanent teeth starting to surface allowing our doctors to effectively evaluate a child’s orthodontic condition. In certain cases, early evaluation allows our doctors to identify missing permanent teeth or jaw growth and habit problems that can be easily corrected if caught early. Our growth monitoring program helps children avoid future problems and potential costly corrections.

Is Phase 1 treatment always necessary for children with orthodontic issues?

No, Phase 1 treatment is not always necessary. It depends on the severity and type of orthodontic problems your child has. Your orthodontist will assess your child’s specific needs and recommend treatment accordingly.

What are some common orthodontic problems Phase 1 treatment can address?

Phase 1 treatment can correct issues such as:

  • overcrowded teeth
  • jaw misalignment
  • thumb-sucking habits
  • speech problems
  • airway issues

It aims to create a more favorable environment for the proper growth of permanent teeth and potentially make future orthodontic treatment much easier.

What is Phase 1 orthodontic treatment? Is it different from traditional braces?

Phase 1 treatment, also known as early interceptive treatment, involves addressing orthodontic issues in a child before all their permanent teeth have come in. It may include appliances like braces, expanders, or retainers and is designed to prevent or mitigate more extensive treatment in the future.

General orthodontic FAQ

Can I drop my child off for an appointment?

Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with you when you return, so we ask you to check in with our concierges before dropping off your child. You can also schedule any remote care treatment check-ups by using the Smile Doctors Anywhere app.

Does my family dentist have to schedule my appointment with an orthodontist?

Our doctors love dental referrals, but the dentist does not need to make the appointment. Most patients call us directly and mention the dentist who referred them. We always love to send a thank you note to our dentists.

How much will my treatment cost?

The cost of braces or Invisalign aligners depends on the length of treatment and the type of braces and aligners that you choose. Our doctors and treatment coordinators are happy to come up with a payment plan that meets your budget.

Does insurance providers cover orthodontic treatments like braces and Invisalign aligners?

Yes, many insurance plans do cover orthodontic treatments like braces and Invisalign aligners, at least partially. However, the extent of coverage can vary greatly depending on your specific insurance plan. It’s always best to check directly with your insurance provider to understand what is covered under your plan.