Care & Instructions

At I Song Orthodontics, we’re committed to providing quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages. We offer a variety of treatment options, including Invisalign and Invisalign Teen, so that you can find a solution that fits into your budget and your lifestyle.

While it’s important to take care of your teeth all the time, it’s even more important when you have braces. There is a higher possibility for decay while your teeth are under braces because the wires, bands, and brackets make it more difficult to reach all the spaces in between your teeth. Dr. Song has provided some helpful tips for keeping your smile healthy!

Brushing & Flossing

For optimum results, use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush your teeth in small, circular motions. Try to gently brush by the gum line to release food particles that may be stuck under there. Hold the brush at an angle and brush between the braces along with every surface of the teeth.

Flossing is just as important as brushing because it cleans the areas around the teeth that a toothbrush can’t. Flossing will be more time-consuming and difficult while you’re wearing braces but your healthy, beautiful smile will be worth it. Think of your braces as your second set of teeth. As long as they’re clean, your teeth will be clean!

Also, be sure to continue seeing your general dentist throughout your orthodontic treatment.

Foods to Avoid

Even though braces seem sturdy and set in place, they are actually very fragile and need to be taken care of. Certain foods can break or damage your braces, leading to a longer treatment time. Foods that are sticky, sugary, or hard should be avoided as sticky foods get caught in between brackets and wires and hard foods can potentially break or damage the brackets or wires.

We’ve provided a helpful list of foods to avoid. This is not a complete list, so use your best judgment and common sense when you’re faced with certain food!

Examples of Sticky/Sugary Foods to Avoid:

✔ Gum (sugar-free or regular)
✔ Licorice
✔ Sugar Daddies
✔ Toffee
✔ Tootsie Rolls
✔ Caramels
✔ Skittles
✔ Starburst
✔ Taffy
✔ Carbonated drinks

Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:

✔ Ice
✔ Nuts
✔ Hard taco shells
✔ French bread crust/rolls
✔ Corn on the cob
✔ Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
✔ Bagels
✔ Chips
✔ Jolly Ranchers
✔ Pizza crust
✔ Hard chocolates
✔ Uncooked carrots (unless cut)

Extra Tips:

✔ Take extra precaution when eating fruits with pits as you could accidentally bite into the pit. This would include fruits like peaches and plums.

✔ Cut meat off of the bone to ensure you won’t accidentally bite into the bone.

✔ Avoid chewing pencils, fingernails, and ice.

✔ Do not bite into anything and then pull away with your teeth. This could pull on your braces leading to bending or breaking them.

Keep in mind that the list above is not a complete list. Use common sense when it comes to eating certain foods. If you cannot cut it into smaller pieces, it’s probably not a good idea to eat it. It’s important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office at (510) 528-2220 immediately to arrange an appointment for repair.

So, What Can You Eat?

While the list of foods you can’t eat may seem long, there are still plenty of foods you can eat while wearing your braces, including:

✔ Soups
✔ Applesauce
✔ Baba ganoush
✔ Brown rice
✔ Sushi
✔ Pulled apart meats
✔ Bananas
✔ Egg salad

✔ Fish
✔ Yogurt
✔ Shredded carrots
✔ Scrambled eggs
✔ Oatmeal
✔ Curry
✔ Cream of wheat

✔ Tuna salad
✔ Mashed potatoes
✔ Cooked vegetables
✔ Soft whole-grain breads
✔ Fruit smoothies
✔ Shrimp
✔ Turkey burger
✔ Tabouleh

✔ Pasta
✔ Meatloaf
✔ Oranges
✔ Cottage cheese
✔ Hummus
✔ Tofu
✔ Quinoa

Caring for Separators

Some patients may wear separators, which are elastic bands that fit between certain teeth and move them so bands can fit around them later. Sometimes the separators will feel loose and can fall out on their own if enough space has been created. Below are some points to remember when you have separators:

✔ If a separator falls out, call our office and come in for an evaluation. It is not an emergency, so if it does happen on the weekend, it can wait until the following Monday.
✔ Do not play with the separators and keep your fingers out of your mouth.
✔ Avoid flossing where the separators are located. However, you can brush normally.
✔ Gum and other sticky foods can dislodge the separators so avoid them.
✔ If you experience any discomfort, take Tylenol or any other oral analgesics.

Caring for Headgear

Headgear may be necessary to retract teeth or to influence facial growth. You may experience discomfort the first week, which may affect falling asleep. You can take Tylenol two hours prior to going asleep to help with the pain during the adjustment period. The back teeth may become slightly loose with consistent wear. The amount of time the patient may have to wear the headgear depends on what the end goal is and the factors below:

✔ Type of growth pattern.
✔ The severity of the problem.
✔ The rate of growth of the patient.
✔ How often the headgear is worn.

Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:

Taking care of your headgear is extremely important for the orthodontic process to go smoothly. Below are some helpful tips to help guide you along the way.

✔ Wear the headgear 12-14 hours a day or more.
✔ Be consistent and wear your headgear every night. Missing even one night means making up for lost time with several extra nights. This will extend overall treatment time.
✔ Use a “score card” to track the amount of time the headgear was worn so we can determine how effectively the treatment is working.
✔ Bring the score card and headgear to every orthodontic appointment.
✔ If the face bow comes off at night, try increasing the force by one hold on each side.

Palatal Expansion

A Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) is used to create a wider space in the upper jaw so that it fits well with the lower jaw. Sometimes, the upper arch is too narrow for the lower jaw or the upper teeth can become crowded or blocked out of the natural dental arch. An expander works well for younger patients who are still growing, meaning the connective tissue between the left and right halves of their upper jaw is more responsive to expansion. We’ll provide you with a special key that you’ll use to turn a screw in the appliance and the upper palate will gradually expand. If Dr. Song decides this treatment is for you, an RPE will be custom-made for you. You’ll wear the appliance for at least six months. Here’s what to expect:

✔ Possible discomfort in the back teeth for 48-72 hours after placing the RPE.
✔ Awkwardness with swallowing and speech for several days after the RPE is placed.
✔  Gap development between upper front teeth. This is normal and temporary.
✔ Pressure for a short period of time after the RPE is activated each time.

Taking care of the RPE is simple. If you have any questions about how to use it, contact our office for help. Simple instructions include:

✔ Insert the hex key into the activation screw at the 12 o’clock position or have the plastic handle pointing up toward your nose.

✔ If the patient is initiating the expansion, turn the key counter clockwise by pushing on the embossed target sign on the expansion handle. If a parent or another adult is initiating the expansion, turn the key clockwise instead.

✔ Follow your orthodontist’s instructions as to how many turns should be made each day.

✔ Avoid chewy or hard candy and do not chew ice.

✔ Do not play with the RPE with your tongue or fingers.


A positioner is used after the braces are removed to help guide the teeth into their final placement. It looks similar to a mouth guard and is custom-made to fit your teeth. Most patients wear the positioner for a few months before switching to a retainer.

✔ Wearing Instructions: Wear the positioners for three days and three nights. Then, for the next few weeks, you can wear it for several hours during the day and then all night as you sleep.

✔ Exercise: Occasionally clamp your teeth into the positioner to help make the teeth move better. We will show you how to do this.

✔ Proper Care: Brush your positioner before putting it on and after you take it off. Rinse and dry it with a towel before placing it back into the protective case. Always use the protective case to store it and never leave it where pets or younger siblings can get to it. Keep it away from heat because it can melt.

✔ Damaged or Lost Appliance: Contact us as soon as possible if you lose or damage the positioner. We may be able to repair it depending on the damage. There will be a replacement charge if the damage is too severe.

Invisalign Care & Instruction

Contact us today to schedule your appointment.
We look forward to meeting you & seeing you smile!