Braces Are Big Step

Having your braces put on is the first big step on your orthodontic journey. You're now officially on the path towards a healthy, beautiful smile.

It’s an exciting time, but it also comes with a bit of a learning curve.

Tips for Life With Braces

As you get used to your new orthodontic treatment, you may need to make a few adjustments, but it'll become second nature before you know it.

braces care


You may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore when your first get your braces on. This is completely normal, and we promise your mouth won’t be sore forever.

We recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water and swishing and gargling this solution in our mouth for a couple of minutes. This should help relieve the pain.

If your pain is severe and doesn’t go away after rinsing, you can also try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. It's normal for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to be irritated for a week or two as they get used to your braces and toughen up.

We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.

Care & Maintenance

Brushing with braces can take some getting used. It takes a little practice to get used to moving around brackets and wires.

Always brush thoroughly after every meal or snack, so you can remove any food particles before bacteria can grow.

If you’re not able to brush right away, rinsing your mouth with water will help until you can get to a toothbrush.

Follow these tips for the best results:

  • Use a fluoride toothpaste with a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush.
  • Braces wear toothbrushes out quickly, so be sure to replace yours as soon as it begins to show signs of wear.
  • Brush around every part of your braces, as well as every surface of your teeth.
  • Look for clean and shiny braces, with the edge of the brackets clearly visible. Fuzzy-or dull-looking metal indicates poor brushing.
  • Floss every night before you go to bed. Tools like floss threaders and waterpiks are helpful if you’re having difficulty with getting a good floss underneath the wires.

Eating with Braces

If you know anything about braces, it’s probably that you have to adjust your eating habits slightly.

For the most part, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets.

Sticky foods can get caught between your brackets and wires. Try to avoid eating too much sugary foods, as they can cause tooth decay and related problems.

Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid

  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)
  • Licorice
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Starburst

Examples of Hard Food to Avoid

  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Hard taco shells
  • French bread crust/rolls
  • Corn on the cob
  • Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
  • Bagels
  • Chips
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Pizza crust
  • Uncooked carrots (unless cut)

Sugary Foods to Limit

  • Cake
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Candy

Foods You Can Eat

  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake

Bad Habits to Avoid

There are also a few oral habits you’ll want to steer clear of to keep your braces functioning perfectly.

Chewing on objects like pens and ice cubes, biting your nails, and smoking can all cause unwanted pressure on your braces.

Do your best to find another way to keep yourself busy while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately to arrange an appointment for repair.

Loose Wires, Bands, & Brackets

The wires and bands on your braces can come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as you can so we can check and repair your braces.

If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you. You may be able to temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place.

If the loose wires are irritating your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry – it’s normal! Before moving your teeth into the right position, your braces will have to loosen your teeth a bit. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they won’t be loose anymore.

Misplaced Archwire, Bracket, or Tie

Once your teeth adjust to treatment, they start moving. This causes the archwire that connects them to also move. Sometimes the wire will also move and poke out a bit near the back of your mouth and irritating your cheeks.

You should be able to move the wire into a better position by using the eraser end of the pencil or a cotton swab. You can manipulate any misplaces wires or ties back into place by gently using a pair of clean tweezers.

If your wires or brackets have shifted and started to irritate your mouth, you can use orthodontic wax to cover the parts causing irritation.

This will help ease the discomfort, but make sure you get in touch with our office as soon as you can so we can fix the actual problem instead of only masking the symptoms at home.

Tips for Athletes & Musicians

You can still play sports as usual during your treatment. Just make sure you’re protecting your teeth with an orthodontic friendly mouthguard, or remove your Invisalign aligner during practice or the game.

If you have an accident, while playing, check your appliances and your mouth immediately. If the appliances look damaged or your teeth have loosened, schedule an appointment.

If you play an instrument, you may find it a little challenging to play your instrument at first as you adjust to playing with your braces. It’s normal to have some trouble with lip positioning.

Sores can also develop, but the liberal use of wax and warm saltwater rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen up more quickly than you’d think.

Caring for Your Orthodontic Appliance

A damaged appliance can increase the length of your treatment process, so it’s very important to take care of your appliances.

Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.

For example, the Invisalign clear aligner system will only work if the aligners are worn the recommended 20-22 hours per day as recommended.

Following instructions is the only way to ensure your treatment is effective, and to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.

Always feel free to contact us directly with questions or visit us at our Greensboro or Highpoint locations.