Life With Braces

You will notice that it is harder to keep your teeth clean with braces but we are here to help you learn how. Food compacts in the brackets and between your teeth and needs to be removed by brushing and flossing. If plaque (that white sticky build up) remains on the teeth for any length of time, it can leave a permanent white scar on the surface.

For more information, please also visit our Orthodontics: Fact vs. Fiction blog post.

To prevent your braces and/or wires from breaking, please do not eat hard foods such as: nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spareribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating), and popcorn! Also beware of nail biting and pen or pencil chewing habits, since these can damage your braces too. We also ask that you stay away from sticky foods such as: taffy, caramels, bubble gum, or sticky candy of any sort.

Brushing after meals will need to become part of your daily routine. We will instruct you on how to use a soft toothbrush with firm pressure and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth and gum, brushing in small circles above and below the brackets. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, just let us know and we will provide a replacement. Sonicare toothbrushes are very helpful, ask our team about them.

Using a soft bristled toothbrush begin by brushing the outside of your teeth and braces holding the brush tilted at a 45 degree angle. Brush along the top and bottom of the braces using light to moderate pressure, making sure you cover every surface very carefully. Don’t forget to brush the teeth all the way in the back and behind your back molars. It’s a good practice to brush for three minutes at least twice a day. Using a timer or singing along to a song will help you keep track of your time.

Flossing at least once a day is very important for good dental hygiene and to keep your teeth healthy. Flossing with braces may seem difficult at first. To floss properly, you will need to thread the floss under the archwire. This can be done in two ways – either by threading the floss through on your own or using a floss threader to thread the floss under the wire.

When threading the floss, it is a good practice to start by pushing the floss vertically from the top to the bottom on your upper teeth and from the bottom to the top on your bottom teeth, always threading away from your gums. Once threaded, carefully floss around each tooth and gum, moving the floss up and down, just like you did with out braces.

Once the active treatment period is completed, your braces are removed. The next step is called retention. Retainers are utilized to hold your teeth in their new positions until your bone, gums, and muscles adapt to the new teeth positions. You must wear your retainer as instructed, otherwise your teeth may move toward their original positions and the benefit of wearing your braces will be lost.

Remember, wear them in your mouth, not in your pocket. Also avoid having them out for dogs or cats to find, they think they are chew toys. Retainers work when you follow our instructions.

Clean your retainers! Rinse them right away with water when removed and after meals; clean all parts of the retainer with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Retainers can also be fun! In our office we have our own laboratory and they create retainers with unique custom designs and colors. They can even put a picture decal of your pet into your retainer! Just one more thing that makes our patients SMILE in our office.

After braces are placed in the mouth it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about 2 or 3 days. Tylenol or Advil will help relieve this discomfort. Some irritation to the cheeks and tongue is normal, but if you feel anything sharp is poking in your mouth or any sores are developing, please call our office.

Emergency Care

At the offices of Drs. Eliason and Choi, you’ll always be seen by one of our doctors – no matter when you need care. This personal attention from the doctors is one of the things that sets us apart.

During regular business hours we’ll do our best to schedule you for the same day if you’re experiencing pain or have an emergency. After hours you will be referred to the appropriate contact number for our doctors.

We provide emergency care 24/7

(707) 546-8600



No, they do not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist but a referral is not necessary. We encourage patients and families to schedule a complimentary examination on their own if interested.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth have erupted for most children, allowing us to effectively evaluate their orthodontic needs.

If you or your child may potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office, send us an e-mail or fill out our appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.

Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be seen by the staff and doctor who will familiarize you with our office and prepare for the initial exam. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a brief, but thorough, exam. All of which is complimentary!

There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
  • What should be done to correct the problem?
  • Will any teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?

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 always necessary for orthodontic treatment. Our experienced doctors will share their insight regarding the best approach for you or your child.

Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment time lasts from 8 months to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 18-24 months. At your complimentary examination, our doctors will answer this question for you or your child.

We are unable to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have several personalized financing options available to accommodate your needs, including Care Credit, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance benefits and help to maximize your claims.

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 5 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with our team before dropping off their child.

Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces and our team will help coordinate those visits with you and your dentist.

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.