Life with Braces, Care & Emergencies

Congratulations! You have officially begun the path towards your healthiest, most beautiful smile. Once you begin your orthodontic treatment, you will have to make a few lifestyle adjustments. Adjusting to life with braces means you must take good care of your teeth, and your braces during treatment. Our tips will help you get used to your new braces in no time!

The first few days with braces can be accompanied with tenderness and soreness. This is perfectly normal, but the good news is that it gets better. Usually within 2 to 3 days the general soreness will subside. You can follow the analgesic recommendations that were given to you. Hang in there, and know that it will all be worth it!

It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated as they become used to the braces. Warm salt water rinses (1 teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of lukewarm water) are a great, old fashioned remedy. It is also important to have great brushing and flossing to keep the bacteria at bay.

 Care & Maintenance: “A Must During Treatment”

1. How to Brush with Braces

  • Brush thoroughly after each time you eat a meal or snack. If you cannot brush right away after a meal, be sure to rinse your mouth with water.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush.
  • Braces wear out a toothbrush quickly, so be sure to replace it as soon as it shows signs of wear.
  • Brush around all the parts of your braces and every surface of your teeth.
  • You’re doing a good job if your braces look clean and shiny, and you are able to see the edges of the brackets clearly. Fuzzy-looking or dull metal indicates poor brushing.

2. How to Floss with Braces

  • Floss every night before you go to bed
  • Use a floss threader. This reusable tool allows you to get dental floss underneath the wires easily.

3. Eating with Braces

There are a few dietary adjustments that need to be made in order to protect your new braces, and ensure that your treatment goes smoothly. But don’t worry, there are still many tasty foods that you can still eat!

 Foods you CAN eat with braces:

  • Dairy – soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks, yogurts, cottage cheese, eggs
  • Breads – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains – pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry tender meats, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables – mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, beans
  • Fruits – applesauce, bananas, fruit juice, smoothies, berries
  • Treats – ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, plain chocolates, peanut butter cups, brownies, soft cookies. But remember to always limit your intake on sugar!

Foods to avoid with braces:

  • Chewy foods – bagels, licorice, pizza crust, French breads
  • Crunchy foods – popcorn, chips, ice, hard candies including lollipops, thick pretzels
  • Sticky foods – caramel candies, chewing gum, gummy candies
  • Hard foods – nuts, hard candies
  • Foods that require biting into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots, ribs and chicken wings

Habits to avoid with braces:

  • Chewing on objects such as pens & ice cubes
  • Nail-biting
  • Smoking

Tips for Athletes & Musicians

You can still play sports during your treatment, but remember to protect your teeth with an orthodontic friendly mouth guard, just as you would normally. If you are involved in an accident during athletic activity, check your appliances and your mouth immediately. If the appliances appear damaged or the teeth loosened, schedule an appointment.

If you play an instrument, you may find it a little challenging to become adjusted to playing with your braces. It is normal to have some difficulty with proper lip position and sores can develop, too. Liberal use of wax and warm salt-water rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen. Don’t shy away, practice makes perfect!


What to do in an orthodontic emergency

Inside of cheeks and tongue are sore

Cause:  Usually happens during the first week or two of getting braces.  Your cheeks, lips and tongue aren’t use to feeling braces.

Solution:  Try to let your cheeks and tongue get use to the braces.  If you start developing  sore,  place wax over the cause of irritation (dry the area well before placing wax).

Wire pokes at back of mouth

Cause: As your teeth move, the wire can change position, causing pokes.  Usually a small piece of wire is sticking out of the very back bracket or band.  Sometimes, the wire may actually slide around, causing it to be short on one side and long on the other.  Occasionally, the wire may slip out of the slot, causing the poke.

Solution:  Try to determine the cause of the poke.  If the wire is just a little long, try placing wax or even a cotton ball or folded gauze (only when awake), over the poking wire.  Call our office and arrange a time to come in for a wire clip.  If the wire looks like it slid around you can often grab it gently with needle-nose pliers and slide it back the other way.  If the wire has slipped out of the slot, you can try to carefully put it back in its slot using the needle-nosed pliers.

Wire pokes at other areas of mouth

Cause: Small, twisted wires called “ligature ties” can occasionally cause these pokes.  If you can see the poking wire, try to use the end of a pencil eraser to gently push the tie back under the wire, away from your cheek and lips.  If you can’t push it in enough to get rid of the poke, then use wax until you can come into our office for us to help.

    Loose bracket, band, or appliance

Cause: Usually broken loose while biting or chewing.

Solution:  Call our office to determine if you need to come in for an emergency visit.  As a rule, we always repair loose front braces and bands (those that wrap all the way around the teeth) as soon as possible.  We may choose to wait to repair loose braces in the back until your regularly scheduled appointment.

If a bracket or appliance falls off, please save it and bring it with you to your appointment! Please call our office as soon as possible so we can take care of the issue.