All About Braces

Learn more about living with braces.

Brushing and Flossing

It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy during your orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for professional cleanings or to fix cavities. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. Watch the videos below on the proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment.

Eating with Braces

What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to bite a cucumber again. But you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, nuts, hard chips
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
  • Sugary foods: candy, pop
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Chewing on hard non-food items (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will often cause treatment to take longer.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 – 5 days. You may consider taking Tylenol or whatever you would normally take for a headache or 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 often supply orthodontic wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen this discomfort.

Loosening of Teeth

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 newly corrected positions after treatment is completed.

Loose Wire or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This can happen from time to time. If a wire sticks out and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back under the braces with the goal of getting it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible to determine if you should be seen sooner or be seen at your regular appointment. Alternatively, you may check out our videos on how to deal with these types of topics.

Rubber Band Wear

To successfully complete your orthodontic treatment in a timely manner, 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. Lack of cooperation following instructions and damaged appliances will often lengthen the treatment time, both being undesirable… so please follow your instructions faithfully.


If you play sports, it’s important you let us know. A protective mouthguard that can fit over your braces can be purchased at our office if you are playing contact sports.

Take the Next Step

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Chen.