Braces FAQ

Do I have to choose metal braces?

No, we also offer clear (ceramic) braces and Invisalign clear aligners because our approach is customized to YOU! We try to keep ALL your needs in mind and give you options that will help you reach your smile goals, your way.

What are my diet restrictions with braces? 

Take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances. We recommend choosing soft foods to eat with braces, including any of the following: 

  • Dairy – soft cheese, yogurt, pudding, milk-based drinks 
  • Breads – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts 
  • Grains – pasta and/or 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
Are there any foods I cannot eat while in braces?

If it seems like it would be a bad idea to eat it, it probably is. More specifically, try to avoid:

  • Chewy foods such as bagels, fruit leathers, or beefy 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 with your front teeth such as corn on the cob and apples. Just enjoy these foods by slicing them up into smaller bites—or remove corn from the cob before enjoying (don’t forget the butter!).

The temporary sacrifice of avoiding what may be some of your favorite foods during treatment will pay off in the form of a smile you will love for years to come.

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.

If your toothbrush doesn’t have a built-in timer, set a timer for 2 minutes and begin brushing 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. Of course, the order you choose doesn’t matter, but spend about 30 seconds brushing in each quadrant (lower left, lower right, upper right, and lower left).

Learning to brush with braces takes a little extra time in the beginning, but once you are used to it, it will be routine for you. Don’t forget to follow up with daily flossing!

What toothbrush is best to use with braces during treatment?

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

Do braces hurt? 

Generally, braces do not hurt, but it’s normal to experience a little soreness or discomfort during the first few days of treatment. Soreness is normal, temporary, and your body will adapt sooner than you think!

Meanwhile, it can be helpful to do a saltwater rinse using a single teaspoon of salt dissolved in a full cup of lukewarm water. Swish that around for a few minutes, and if you’re still feeling a bit sore, it can help to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

You may have lip, cheek, or tongue irritation in the weeks after getting braces, so use your dental wax like we showed you during your initial visit to help with that.

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. Dr. Kozak will chat with you about treatment time and give you a general idea of what you can expect.

Then, after we’ve seen how you’re responding to treatment for several weeks, we can give you an even better estimate about how much longer you can expect to wear braces.

How much do braces cost? 

The cost of braces depends on which type of braces you choose, how long you will need treatment, and other factors that might be unique to your treatment plan. We understand braces are a significant investment for families, so we’ll do everything we can to make treatment affordable.

  • Our pricing is “all-in.” We don’t like to be lured in with a low price, only to find out it doesn’t include everything, so we don’t do that to our patients.
  • We accept most insurance plans.
  • Our treatment coordinators will help optimize benefits to help lower out-of-pocket costs.
  • We offer discounts for paid-in-full treatment as well as multiple family member pricing.
  • We can work out an in-clinic payment plan with 0% interest financing.

Learn more about our approach to the financial side of orthodontics on our Pricing, Insurance & Payment Plans page

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 Dr. Kozak 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. 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 then 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 of braces
Who is eligible for Invisalign aligners? 

Ultimately, whether or not you’re a good candidate for Invisalign depends on your smile and your goals. In general,nearly anyone may benefit from Invisalign treatment. We offer Invisalign First for kids and Invisalign Teen for teens, which is suited for patients aged 12-18 years old. For adults, we offer Invisalign aligners for full comprehensive treatment.

General orthodontic FAQ

At what age should I schedule my child for an appointment for a 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 free growth monitoring 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.

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

No, they don’t. While Dr. Kozak loves dental referrals and has a great working relationship with many local dentists, your dentist does not need to make the appointment. Most patients call us directly and mention the dentist who referred them, which we love because it gives us a chance to thank the referring dentist.

How much will my treatment cost? 

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

Discover Truly Unique Orthodontic Treatment

Dr. Kozak has completed exclusive training and is among an elite group of doctors. The benefit to you? Dr. Kozak’s vast expertise is matched only by his heart for helping patients discover the life-changing benefits of a healthy, beautiful smile—in as short a time as possible.

But don’t take our word for it—ask around, then book your free consult and start your smile adventure with us!

Young woman leaning head and smiling

Visit Your Local Kenosha-Antioch Area Orthodontists

Kozak Orthodontics – Kenosha

10320 75th St, Ste B, Kenosha, WI, 53142-7525
Kozak Ortho Antioch Location

Kozak Orthodontics – Antioch

1326 Main St, Ste B, Antioch, IL, 60002-2181