Braces FAQ

Do I have to choose metal braces?

No, we provide options. We want you to have options in your orthodontic treatment, so our doctors offer clear braces, self-ligating 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, “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 thorough flossing. 

What toothbrush is best to use with braces during treatment? 

We recommend using an electric toothbrush such as Sonicare or OralB. 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 Tylenol. 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. 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 New Orleans?

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. 

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 appliances. 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® aligners FAQ

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 aligners? 

Always rinse your aligners as soon as they are removed from your mouth. It is recommended that you soak your aligner trays with the Invisalign brand crystal cleaning solution every day. This solution removes the bacteria from the aligners. Use a soft bristle toothbrush (not your toothbrush that you use daily) to lightly sweep away any debris that remains after the soak. After soaking, 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 two weeks and are exchanged for the next set. In some cases, aligners may be worn for as little as a week before they’re switched out. This will depend on your specific treatment plan. 

What are the benefits of Invisalign aligners? 

Invisalign aligners are a popular choice 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 wires 
Who is eligible for Invisalign aligners? 

Our doctors offer Invisalign® for teens which is suited for patients aged 12-18 years old. For adults, we offer Smile Express™ at-home aligners and Invisalign aligners for full comprehensive treatment.

General orthodontic FAQ

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 Rising Star program helps children avoid future problems and potential costly corrections. 

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 an 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. 

Let’s get you smiling more, starting today
our offices

Nine convenient locations serving the greater New Orleans area


Smile Doctors by DN Ortho – Metairie

759 Veterans Memorial Blvd, Metairie, LA, 70005-2803

Smile Doctors by DN Ortho – Harvey

2744 Manhattan Blvd, Ste C, Harvey, LA, 70058-6165

Smile Doctors by DN Ortho – Slidell

2330 Gause Blvd E, Slidell, LA, 70461-4141

Smile Doctors by DN Ortho – Chalmette

1206 E Judge Perez Dr, Chalmette, LA, 70043-5400

Smile Doctors by DN Ortho – Covington

61 Park Place Dr, Covington, LA, 70433-5290

Smile Doctors by DN Ortho – Hammond

1905 W Thomas St, STE A, Hammond, LA, 70401-2901

Smile Doctors by DN Ortho – Houma

1301 W Tunnel Blvd, Ste B, Houma, LA, 70360-2600

Smile Doctors by DN Ortho – Carriere

6420 Highway 11 N, Ste C, Carriere, MS, 39426-7146

Smile Doctors by DN Ortho – Gulfport

8910 Lorraine Rd, Gulfport, MS, 39503-4176