The Basics of Braces

Taking Care of Braces

What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! For the first day or so, stick to softer foods like soup, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables.

It is important to remember that braces are affixed to teeth with temporary cement. Just like we can take them off at the end of treatment purposefully, you can accidentally break a bracket by not being careful.

A careful orthodontic patient can likely eat almost any food without damaging his or her braces. However, the following three types of food may cause trouble, as may other foods. Use common sense, or if you are in doubt, ask us about some food you enjoy eating.

Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets.

Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires and pull cement loose.

Sugary foods cause tooth decay and related problems.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy
  • Foods you have to bite into (i.e. corn on the cob, apples, carrots, etc.)

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

Remember that teeth move best in a healthy environment for individuals with excellent overall dental health. Patient cooperation is the key to successful orthodontics!

Be sure to occasionally check your braces to see if there is anything loose or bent. If a brace or band comes loose, or a wire breaks, please call our office so that we can arrange an appointment to fix it.

General Soreness

When your braces are first placed, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 – 5 days. Over the counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Advil (whatever you normally take for a headache) should reduce the discomfort. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for the first couple of weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces.

Loosening of Teeth

Some teeth may seem to get a little bit loose during treatment. Don’t worry! This is normal. They teeth must loosen for them to move. They will firm up after we move them in the right position.

Loose Wire or Band

Occasionally one of the brackets on the teeth will become loose. Or the wire may move out of its place. Do not be alarmed. Place some of your supplied wax on the area to lessen any discomfort and call our office to have it repaired.

Rubber Band Wear (Elastics)

The braces and wires straighten the teeth. In most cases, the upper teeth and lower teeth need to be better aligned with each other. This is where rubber bands come into play. They are attached from the top to the bottom teeth and move them into place.

We need your help with this part. The only way for these to be effective is if they are worn constantly. Don’t worry, we will show you how to hook them up and take them off.


If you play sports, it’s important you let us know. Braces can be rough on your cheeks and gums and mouth-guards are the best way to protect your teeth.