Life With Braces

All About Braces

There are very few foods you cannot eat while you have braces. We do ask you not to eat hard and sticky foods such as caramel, taffy, gummy bears, suckers, jolly ranchers, jerky or popcorn. You may chew gum as long as it is sugarless and not big, bulky bubblegum. When you eat foods like apples, pizza, corn on the cob, carrots and celery, etc., we ask that you cut those foods up into small pieces and then chew them on your back teeth. The corn will have to be cut off the cob.

Chewing on hard things (like ice, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces may cause treatment to take longer.

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 may also need to see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. Watch the video below on the proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment.

We recommend that you rinse once a day with a fluoride rinse. We want you to use this once a day, preferably at night before you go to bed.

Brush your teeth well, then take a teaspoon of fluoride rinse and swish it around in your mouth for about a minute. Spit the rinse out and do not swallow it. If your dentist has given you a fluoride gel to use, that would be acceptable to use in place of the rinse.

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 4 – 5 days. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, should help if you experience discomfort. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces. We will supply wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort.

Eating soft foods for the first couple of days also helps. Some suggestions include jello, soups, applesauce, yogurt, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc. Everyone responds differently, so for one person it might be minor discomfort, yet to another, the teeth may be very sore. Periodically throughout treatment, you may experience sore teeth when a new archwire has been placed in the mouth. However, this soreness lasts approximately 1-2 days.

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, corrected positions after treatment is completed.

If you play sports, it’s important you let us know. A protective mouthguard is provided for playing contact sports.

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 as prescribed. Elastics provide extra forces to help move your teeth. Be very faithful at wearing your rubber bands so you do not prolong your treatment time.

Don’t be alarmed if a wire, bracket or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. Our Emergency Care section may help answer questions you may have regarding what to do in these type of situations and help you until you can get in to see us. Please call our office as soon as possible for an appointment so we can check and repair the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


The appliance or bands you are wearing are not indestructible. The list of “dangerous” foods includes: raw vegetables and hard fruits (raw carrots, whole apples), popcorn, hard bread crusts (french bread, pizza), sticky or hard candies and bubble gum. Some of these foods may still be enjoyed but we will ask that you cut them into bite-size pieces first. Also, please do not chew on pens, ice, or other objects.

Your teeth may contain decay underneath orthodontic bands if the bands are loose. At each appointment we make certain that your bands are tight. However, if you notice a loose band, call us as soon as possible so that we can set up a repair appointment. A more frequent problem, but one that can easily prevent, is decalcification or staining of the teeth. This may occur on areas of a tooth adjacent to the band if you do not brush your teeth thoroughly after each meal. So the prevention of this problem is up to you!

Your teeth will usually feel sore for three to five days after most orthodontic appointments. It helps to avoid hard foods or vigorous chewing until the soreness disappears. If you feel very uncomfortable, take your normal over-the-counter pain medication. If the soreness continues beyond several days, please call us.

During orthodontic treatment, you may find that you are sensitive to heat and cold. This is caused by the movement of your teeth, it is seldom due to decay.

Playing a wind instrument will not interfere with your orthodontic treatment but may irritate your lips initially. Wax can be used to aid in this kind of discomfort and we will supply you with a variety of wax for your orthodontic needs. If this becomes a problem, please let us know.

The fees for orthodontic treatment do not include any treatment in other dental offices such as cleaning, examinations, X-rays, restorations, or the removal of teeth. Our patients are expected to visit their dentist at least every six months for their routine check-ups.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has successfully completed at least two academic years of continuous advanced studies in an orthodontic program of a dental school or institution approved by the American Dental Association. This advanced training includes such diverse studies such as physics, embryology, genetics, human growth and development, biophysics and engineering. Only those dentists with this advanced education can announce that they are orthodontists.

A bad bite can be detrimental to the future of your child’s mouth. Restorations, crowns or bridges are often impossible for a dentist to perform without prior re-positioning of the teeth by an orthodontist. Properly aligned and supported teeth are healthier, easier to clean, and therefore more likely to last throughout a patient’s lifetime.

The American Association of Orthodontists believes that seven is a good age for your child’s first orthodontic examination. Conditions may be found that can be corrected at this early age by interceptive measures. This will often lessen or eliminate the need for help at an older age. That, in turn, can be a savings in the total cost of your child’s orthodontic correction. PLEASE don’t wait until your child has lost all of his or her baby teeth. There are definite advantages to correcting many problems at an early age.

Appointments can be scheduled from two- to multiple-week intervals, depending on the stage of treatment. In the initial stage, the appointments are more frequent. Once the appliances (braces) are in place, appointments are scheduled at longer intervals.

Am I too old for orthodontics?

There is no age limit for orthodontics. Teeth and tissue are essentially the same in both adults and children. Orthodontists can successfully realign crooked teeth or a protruding overbite regardless of your age.

YES! Dramatic changes in a person’s smile and profile can be achieved. A person can actually look years younger by straightening crooked teeth or correcting an overbite or an underbite. A beautiful smile can increase self-confidence and, in turn, a sense of well-being.

Bad bites can be detrimental to a patient’s health. Restorations, crowns or bridges are often impossible for a dentist to perform without prior repositioning of the teeth by an orthodontist. Properly aligned and supported teeth are healthier, easier to clean, and therefore more likely to last throughout a patient’s lifetime.

Teeth, like all parts of the body, are constantly changing and adapting. You must remember teeth that have been crooked for years have marvelous memories. Minor movement or relapse must be expected, but conscientious wear of retainers following treatment can minimize these changes.