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Life with Braces

You’ve just gotten your braces and don’t know what to expect. We are here to help! The following tips will aid as you adjust to your new braces.

General Soreness

After your braces are placed, overall soreness and teeth sensitivity is to be expected for at least three to five days. Salt-water rinses (dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water) will help. You can also take Advil, Tylenol, or whatever you normally take for a headache. You may notice that your cheeks, lips and tongue become irritated. This is normal and can last for one to two weeks. Applying wax to your braces can help. We’ll be glad to show you how to apply the wax!

Loosening of Teeth

You may notice your teeth are becoming loose. Don’t worry! This is normal. In order for teeth to move they must first loosen. Your teeth will soon become fixed in their new positions.

Girl in braces, Backus Smiles

Eating with Braces

For the first few days after your braces are placed, we recommend you maintain a soft food diet. Don’t worry, before long you’ll be able to eat your favorite foods again. But for now, you’ll need to eat softer foods to prevent damage to your braces.

Foods to Avoid

Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires thus making the teeth move in the wrong direction. Nail biting or chewing on bottle caps, athletic mouth guards, and pencils/pens should be avoided.

Examples of Foods to Avoid

  • pizza crust
  • hard pretzels and bagels
  • popcorn
  • nuts
  • beef jerky
  • meat and ribs (on the bone)
  • raw carrots
  • gum
  • ice

Examples of Foods you can Eat

  • pudding
  • soft cheeses
  • pancakes
  • soft tortillas
  • pasta
  • tuna
  • mashed potatoes
  • applesauce
  • bananas
  • ice cream (no nuts)
  • muffin (no nuts)
  • milkshakes
  • Jell-O
Boy in braces, Backus Smiles

Playing Instruments & Sport

If you play an instrument or sport, don’t worry. Your braces won’t keep you from doing so. We recommend you wear a mouthguard when participating in any sport activity. We gladly provide mouth guards to our patients at no additional cost. It may take some time for you to get used to playing your instrument while wearing your braces.

Loose Wires, Bands, or Brackets

If a wire or band comes loose, don’t be alarmed. This happens sometimes. If a protruding wire is causing discomfort, use the eraser end of a pencil or the back of a spoon to carefully push it under the archwire. Placing wet cotton or wax on a wire can also alleviate discomfort. Contact our office as soon as possible so we can schedule a comfort appointment. If a piece of your appliance comes off, save it and bring it to the office. If your brackets come loose frequently during treatment, you may need to pay closer attention to your diet or the activities you participate in; particularly those you are engaging in without a proper mouthguard.

Oral Hygiene

Brushing and flossing each day, especially during orthodontic treatment, is very important. Braces can make it harder for your to brush and floss properly. Still, you should brush and floss daily so your teeth and gums remain healthy throughout treatment. If you cannot keep your teeth clean during treatment, you may need to visit your dentist more frequently for a cleaning. Adults with a history of periodontal disease should visit their periodontist during orthodontic treatment.