Guide to Braces

Before leaving the office each visit

  • Use fingers and tongue to check wire ends for areas that might poke or abrade tongue or cheek
  • Understand what you are to do until next appointment: Elastics, activating an expander or specific hygiene or diet instructions
  • Make sure you have enough orthodontic wax, special cleaning aids, elastic bands, etc.
  • Always schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. Waiting to schedule your appointment can compromise your appointment timing. Postponing appointments is a common contributor to extended treatment.
  • Make sure your questions about treatment are answered. We encourage parents to accompany their children to their

First 24 hours:

  • You can eat any time after leaving our office, however, please follow the guidelines of suggested food
  • Your braces are most susceptible to breaking in the first 24 hours
  • Until you become accustomed to eating with your new braces, you may find it beneficial to follow a diet consisting of soft foods

What about discomfort?

  • Braces feel like they stick out at first, but this sensation will lessen with time
  • Use orthodontic wax around brackets causing any irritation until cheek or tongue is used to their presence. Wax can be swallowed without harm to patient.
  • If wax runs out, call our office for more. It may be purchased at a local drug store.
  • You will probably notice some discomfort beginning a few hours after braces are placed that will dissipate over the course of a week
  • Some teeth, usually in the front, may be tender with pressure
  • Nonprescription pain remedies recommended and can be taken before discomfort begins
  • Warm salt water rinses are suggested

first day with braces treatment graphic

*Use of Ibuprofen is not advised for patients undergoing accelerated treatment, for example, using periodontally accelerated osteogenic orthodontics.

Eating With Braces

Certain eating habits are known to cause breakage of orthodontic appliances and increase risk of dental disease. Remember, teeth move best in a healthy environment and in individuals with excellent overall health.

Potential harm to your teeth & gums

  • Food & drink that may cause cavities should be restricted
  • Sticky foods increase risk of cavities and appliance breakage
  • If any foods high in sugar are consumed, make sure careful brushing and rinsing take place 15-20 minutes after
  • Between meal snacks should be restricted to foods without sugar and followed by vigorous rinsing if toothbrush not available

Potential harm to your braces

  • Braces can be broken and wires bent or broken while eating certain foods
  • Use list below as a guide for food

Recommended Foods:

Soft Fruits:

  • Bananas
  • Melons
  • Grapes

Healthy Liquids:

  • Yogurt
  • Smoothies
  • Milk shakes

Cooked vegetables & pastas:

  • Macaroni & cheese
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Ravioli


  • Hulless popcorn
  • Light/air puffed crackers
  • Soft cookies
  • Sugarless gum

Foods to Modify:

  • Cut raw fruit & vegetables in to small pieces

You can also chew sugar-free gum.  Some people seem to get the gum stuck on their appliances, so there is even special Orthogum available online here.

Foods to Avoid:

Sticky foods:

  • Caramels
  • Taffy/Now & Laters
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Gummy Bears
  • Sugar gum
  • Beef Jerky

Hard foods:

  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Doritos, Fritos, corn nuts, pretzels
  • Sunflower seeds

High sugar drinks:

  • Soda
  • Energy drinks
  • Juice
  • Sports drinks

Hard, non-food items:

  • Chewing pens or pencils
  • Chewing nails

Brushing & Flossing









1 ) Using interproximal brush – Clean Teeth with 4 steps in 15 -20 minutes after EVERY meal or snack

how to floss properly

2) Flossing or Waterpik or AirFloss

3) Brushing with Fluoride Toothpaste

4) Mouthwash (optional)

What happens if I don’t take care of my braces properly?

common dental issues after improper braces care

What is an orthodontic emergency?

1) Direct injuries to mouth or teeth

  • If it is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1
  • See your regular dentist as soon as possible
  • Usually a radiograph is needed for full diagnosis
  • If orthodontic appliances dislodged, then schedule an appointment or replace or adjust them
  • Call our office immediately after seeing your family dentist
  • If you cannot reach your family dentist or alternate emergency facility, call this office and we will assist you in locating someone to care for the injury

To avoid many injuries, wear a mouth guard while playing sports.

2) Emergencies related to orthodontic appliances

Food Caught Between Teeth


This is not an emergency, but can be a little uncomfortable

or embarrassing for the braces-wearing patient.

It is easily fixed with a piece of dental floss to help remove the food, or use an interproximal brush or toothpick to dislodge food caught between teeth and braces.



Protruding Wire

Occasionally, the end of a wire will work itself out of place and irritate the patient’s mouth.

  • Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth.
  • If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax.
  • The patient’s parent/guardian will need to make the orthodontist aware of the problem so we can evaluate the urgency of the issue and schedule you to be seen accordingly.

In a situation where the wire is extremely bothersome and the patient will not be able to see the orthodontist anytime soon, you may, as a last resort, clip the wire.

Reduce the possibility of the patient swallowing the snipped piece of wire by using folded tissue or gauze around the area.

Use a pair of sharp clippers and snip off the protruding wire.

Relief wax may still be necessary to provide comfort to the irritated area.

Loose Brackets, Wires or Bands

braces with a loose band

  • A loose band or bracket can generally be left in place until seen in our office. If irritating, cover it with orthodontic wax.
  • Call the office immediately when you notice a loose bracket so we can adjust your appointment. Failure to notify our office regarding a loose or broken appliance may make it necessary to reschedule your repair or postpone the planned treatment.

Mouth Sores

mouth sores from braces

  • Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores.
  • While braces do not cause them, they may be precipitated or exacerbated by an irritation from braces.
  • This is not an emergency, but may be very uncomfortable.
  • Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab.
  • A broken archwire, or one that is irritating the gum or cheek tissue, should be seen as soon as possible for replacement or adjustment.
  • A removable appliance that is bent or not fitting well is not to be worn until it can be properly adjusted in our office. Call the office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.


After office hours

If you have an orthodontic issue, please call and leave a message. If you have a medical emergency or direct injury to the face, please call 9-1-1