• 602-837-1177
  • 3552 W. Glendale Ave., Suite B, Phoenix, AZ 85051
  • M-F 9am - 5pm



Here we answer the most frequently asked questions about braces.
When it comes to orthodontic problems, early intervention is very important. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first check-up with an orthodontist as soon as an orthodontic problem is detected and no later than age 7 even if there does not seem to be any problems. At age 6 to 7 years, children have a mix of baby (primary) and permanent teeth. There are some specific orthodontic problems that require early intervention and correction regardless of a child’s age and whether or not he or she still has baby teeth. An orthodontic evaluation includes assessment of the growth and harmony of the jaws and facial bones as well as proper position and eruption of the teeth as baby teeth are being lost and permanent teeth appear in the mouth. If a problem exists or could be developing, Dr. Ponce will advise you if and when orthodontic therapy is recommended, the procedures and time extent of the required treatment.
Every case is different, and our team can’t provide a confident estimate until we’ve fully reviewed your unique smile’s needs. Typical treatment times will depend on the type of braces or aligners used and the severity of the misalignments. Most cases will fall somewhere between 6 months and 30 months of use.
In most cases, we will ask that you return to our Phoenix office every four to six weeks on average. Dr. Ponce will gauge your progress, correct any problems, and provide an adjustment and/or change your wires.
The cost of braces will depend on several factors. Complex cases require longer treatment, which results in higher costs. Costs associated with broken brackets from sneaking foods you shouldn’t eat can also add up. Still, braces are more affordable than you may realize. Since they are considered an orthodontic procedure, many dental insurance companies cover a portion of the costs. The best way to know how much your treatment plan will cost is to schedule your free consultation. Our orthodontist will create a customized treatment plan and answer any questions you have about braces. Additionally, our friendly staff will tell you what your out-of-pocket costs will be.

How do I take care of my braces & retainer?

Wire Poking & Irritation

If a wire causes irritation, push the wire away from the area using the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-Tip. If the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax until you can see us in our Phoenix orthodontic office for an adjustment.

Loose Wire on Back Teeth

If the main wire has come out of the tube on your back molar tooth, attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle-nosed pliers or tweezers. If the wire is not poking you, place a piece of wax over the area. If the wire is poking you and wax does not help, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter close to the back of the last brace. This is a last resort if an orthodontist is unavailable.

Spacer Fell Out

In case a rubber spacer falls out, take two pieces of dental floss and insert them through the spacer. Pull on both pieces of floss to stretch the spacer, then slide the spacer back and forth between the two teeth where it belongs. Once the bottom half of the spacer slips under the tight spot between the teeth, release and remove the floss and the spacer will fit back properly.

Loose Bracket

If a bracket becomes loose, it usually remains connected to the main wire. Eyebrow tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our orthodontist office and inform us of your situation and we will schedule you for a repair appointment.

Appliance Breaks

If a piece of your braces breaks, save the piece and call our office to schedule a repair visit. Please bring it to your appointment. Your braces have a specific prescription for your teeth and thus, if possible, your own brace should be replaced as soon as possible.
Remain calm if you swallow a piece of your appliance. This will usually go into the stomach, passing out of the body in a bowel movement. However, should difficulty breathing be experienced you should seek immediate medical attention. X-rays will be taken to determine the location of the swallowed piece.

Broken Retainer

If a retainer cracks, remove the retainer from your mouth and bring all the pieces to our office for professional repair.

Pain or Discomfort

Take aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofen (unless allergic) for temporary relief of discomfort caused by adjustments.
If a sore develops in your mouth you may use Orabase for relief.

What types of food should I avoid with my braces?


  • Hard pretzels
  • Hard taco shells
  • Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos
  • Popcorn
  • Carrot sticks
  • Apples, pears, or peaches
  • Hard rolls, bagels, or crust
  • Ribs, chicken wings, or drumsticks
  • Corn on the cob


  • Soft pretzels or thin pretzel sticks
  • Soft tacos or burritos
  • Carrot curls or thin sticks, soft veggies
  • Cutting fruit into sections
  • Cutting or breaking bread into small pieces
  • Removing meat from the bone
  • Corn off the cob
  • Pastas


  • Ice! It will totally destroy your braces.
  • Suckers and hard candies! There’s just too much temptation to chew on them.
  • Pens and pencils! We know these are prime chewing targets during final exam time, but they have a tendency to destroy your braces.
  • Gum, caramel, taffy, peanuts, and any nuts!

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