Life With Braces

What can you eat? For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. You'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.
Try to avoid the following:
  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
  • Sticky foods: caramel, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage your braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer!
General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This discomfort is both normal and temporary. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol), other non-asprin pain reliever or whatever you normally take for headache. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. It's normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new corrected positions.

Care of Appliances

To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands and other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.


It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.


If you play sports, it's important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouthguard is advised for playing contact sports. If you would like a mouthguard, please talk to any member of our team. We provide mouthguards to our patients. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, call us immediately for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.

Loose Wire or Band

Don't be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If the wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax on Loose Wire or Band to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.

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