First Days with Braces

If you just got your braces on and are wondering what to expect, here are a few tips that will help you get started on the path to a beautiful smile!

Before leaving the office....

Here are some helpful steps to follow before leaving the office to make sure your orthodontic treatment is as comfortable as possible.

  • Check your archwires with your fingers and tongue.   Make sure it is not poking any area which might be uncomfortable.
  • Double-check that you understand what you are suppose to do between your appointments.  Whether that means when to wear your headgear and for how long, how you are to wear your elastics or how often you are change your aligners if you are using Invisalign.
  • If you have any questions about how to brush and floss your teeth or what you are allowed or not allowed to eat, now is the time to ask.
  • Schedule your next appointment with us before you leave.  This will ensure that you have more choices for an appointment time that suits your schedule.    

What to Eat with Braces

Eating can be a tricky endeavor when first getting braces. The first few days you have your braces, be sure to stick to soft foods that are easy to bite down upon. It is important to avoid tough meats, raw vegetables and hard breads.  But as long as you have braces, protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat.

Protect Your Braces by Avoiding Certain Foods

  • Crunchy foods: ice, chips, pretzels, popcorn
  • Sticky foods: gum, caramels
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy 
  • Chewy foods: hard rolls, licorice, bagels
  • Foods you have to bite into: carrots, apples, peaches, corn on the cob.   You may eat these foods but will need to cut into small bite size pieces
  • Chewing on hard things such as pencils, pens or fingernails can damage braces and treatment may take longer than originally anticipated.

Loosening Before Moving

As your braces prepare your mouth for that perfect smile, first they will work to loosen your teeth. This is a normal part of the correction process. Once the teeth are loosened, they can then be moved into position. Once they are in position, they will settle and become rigidly fixed in their new spot

Loose Brackets

Brackets may sometimes come loose from teeth during treatment.  This is easily fixed.  Simply call the office during business hours to schedule an appointment for us to rebond the bracket.    

If brackets continuously come loose during the length of your treatment, however, it may indicate that you need to pay more attention to the foods that you are eating or the activities you are engaging in (at least without a proper mouthguard)

Soreness and Mouth Irritation

For the first three to five days after you get your braces, you may experience soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be more sensitive when biting various foods. By simply rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash, you can find temporary relief. To make a salt water mouthwash, dissolve one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water. While still warm, rinse your mouth with the mixture vigorously. You may also want to try Peroxyl (Colgate) mouthwash,  which we recommend for every patient in braces, as it is very effective with treatment of all oral sores.

If the tenderness does not subside, take a pain killer similar to what you would normally take for a headache. We suggest acetaminophen (Tylenol) for soreness.  Other pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen slow down tooth movement.   You may take a dose of Tylenol and a dose of Advil together for the first day or two.   This should be enough to relieve any discomfort.   After the first few days, you should switch to Tylenol and only use as needed. 

 You may notice that your lips, cheeks and tongue may be irritated during the first few weeks you have braces. By putting wax on your braces, you can lessen the irritation and soreness you experience.  You mouth will become accustomed to the braces. 

Irritating Band or Wire

If  your wire causes irritation, place orthodontic wax over it. This quick fix may relieve the irritation until you can make an appointment to see your doctor to repair the appliances.

If any wire or piece of the appliance comes off,  save it in a ziploc bag and bring  it with you to your  repair visit.

Dental Care and Brushing

Now that you have braces, it is more important than ever to brush and floss regularly. This will ensure your gums and mouth are healthy when your treatment is complete – after you have invested time and money into your teeth.

Those who do not keep their teeth and gums clean may require additional visits to the dentist for professional cleanings.

Your braces should be clean and shiny after you have brushed them.

You will also need to continue to see your general dentist at least twice a year for your cleanings and checkups.

Following the Plan Consistently

and Caring for Appliances

For the teeth and jaw to move toward their corrected positions, patients must work with the orthodontist consistently and follow the prescribed treatment plan.

By wearing the headgear, rubber bands and other appliances as recommended by Dr. Bonney, you will be able to get your braces off in the minimum amount of time possible. Conversely, if you damage your appliances or wear them on an inconsistent basis your treatment time is bound to lengthen or your treatment  outcome may  be less than ideal.

Contact Sports and Athletic Activity

If you play contact sports, we recommend that you use a mouthguard to protect your appliances. If you are involved in any type of accident during athletic activity, check your appliances and your mouth immediately. If the appliances appear damaged or the teeth loosened, make an appointment with Dr. Bonney right away.