Life with Braces


If you just got your braces on and are wondering what to expect, here are a few tips and insights that will help you get started on the path to a beautiful, new smile! We want your journey to be pleasant and brief. Here are some guidelines to help you achieve that.

Orthodontic treatment is a team effort involving the doctor, the orthodontic team and the patient. You need to do your part in achieving our goals. If you keep your regular appointments, follow our hygiene guidelines, wear you elastics and appliances properly, and avoid the foods on the “No-No List”, everyone will be happy in no time. Keep in mind that every patient has different issues being addressed differently, so don’t compare your treatment to someone else’s.


It is not uncommon for your teeth to feel tender or sore after first getting braces. We suggest taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol®, Motrin® or Advil®, for this soreness (please read labels carefully before taking any medications). Be sure to take the medication around the clock as prescribed on the bottle to get effective pain control. This should be more than enough to relieve any discomfort. After roughly four days, you should notice your discomfort decreasing every day until you feel completely normal again, roughly a week or two after first getting braces.

Your cheeks, tongue and lips may also feel sore and raw from the new hardware. It is quite normal to get “white sores” from this irritation. The good news is that usually in two to three weeks the soft tissues toughen up, and the irritation will go away. You may use the orthodontic wax (given to you in your hygiene package) on the parts that feel irritating. You may also use numbing agents, such as Orajel, Anbesol, and Zilactin B to numb the tissues while healing and callusing. Any over-the-counter peroxide mouth rinse (such as Peroxyl) or a mild salt water rinse (one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, 3-4 times a day) will also help the healing.

life with braces

Loose Brackets

Brackets may sometimes come loose from teeth during treatment. This is easily fixed – simply call us and schedule an appointment for us to reattach the bracket. If brackets come loose regularly during the length of your treatment, however, it may indicate that you need to pay more attention to the foods you are eating or the activities you are engaging in. Certain oral habits (such as nail, cuticle, pen and pencil biting) and playing sports without a proper mouthguard can lead to excessive loose brackets and delays in your treatment progress. We offer complimentary mouthguards, so be sure to ask our team for one if needed.

Foods to Avoid

For the most part, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard, sticky, chewy, and brittle foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard and brittle foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky and chewy foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing, and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided. Visit our Oral Hygiene & Diet Restrictions page.

Oral Hygiene


Proper oral hygiene is always important, but it is especially critical when undergoing orthodontic treatment. For details on brushing and flossing in braces, visit our Oral Hygiene & Diet Restrictions page.

We recommend that you visit your dentist every three months while in treatment. This is because braces can make it more difficult for you to brush and floss properly.

Poor oral hygiene leads to plaque (bacteria and food particles) build-up on the enamel, braces and gums. This leads to gingivitis (red, swollen, and bleeding gums), scarring of the enamel, and cavities. We recommend that you brush for at least two minutes four times a day. You need to brush after breakfast, after lunch (if schools do not allow lunchtime breaks, then as soon as you get home from school), after dinner, and before you go to bed. We recommend using a Sonicare® toothbrush for best results.

Flossing is recommended once a day, preferably before going to bed. We will prescribe fluoride toothpaste to be used before bed time also.

Let’s have a pleasant and brief journey toward a healthy, beautiful smile!