All About Braces

Brushing and Flossing

It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy during 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 before and during orthodontic treatment. Watch the video below on the proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment.

Eating with Braces

For the first month or so, stick to soft foods. Follow the principle of avoiding: hard, chewy, and sticky foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to bite comfortably again. But you will need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you are in treatment.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy, mints
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) will damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.

General Soreness

When you first get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 – 5 days. Take Tylenol or an analgesic you would normally take for headaches or mild pain. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks after starting orthodontic treatment. However they will toughen up quickly and you will become accustomed to the braces. There will be wax in the orthodontic starter kit we provide to all our patients to lessen their discomfort.

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can move. The teeth will firm up in their new and corrected positions after treatment is completed.

Loose Wire or Bracket or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire, bracket or band comes loose. This happens occasionally, especially in the first two months of starting orthodontic treatment. If a wire sticks out and is irritating the cheek or lips, use a blunt instrument (eraser end of a pencil) to carefully and gently push the irritating wire into an area where it is more comfortable. Simply get it out of the way. For additional clarification, please watch the video under “BRACES” and “EMERGENCY CARE” and review the laminated printout in your orthodontic starter kit. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. In some instances, taking a nail clipper or wire cutter to the offending wire is best. Just remember to remove the cut piece of wire from the mouth! Please call our office as soon as possible for an appointment so we can check and repair the problem.

Rubber Band Wear

To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, 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 or other appliances when prescribed. Lack of cooperation following instructions and damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time. So please, follow our instructions so we can have the most efficient and outstanding results possible!


If you play sports, you should wear a mouth guard whether or not you have braces. Make sure to purchase mouth guards that are specifically made for orthodontic patients. We recommend the mouth guards made by Shock Doctor and they can be purchased from Amazon and some sporting goods stores. Please call ahead to the sporting goods stores to check their availability as they do run out of stock quickly.