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Patient Education

If you are reading this article, it is safe to assume you need to be welcomed to the world of braces.  Congratulations!  You are on your way to a gorgeous smile!

Wearing braces can take a little getting used to. It’s not difficult to take care of them, but there are specific TIPS and TRICKS that, if followed, will ensure you achieve your most beautiful smile as quickly as possible!

Sore teeth

Your teeth may become sore after braces are first placed in your mouth. You may also feel some soreness after adjustments. This discomfort is normal, and should subside completely within two to three days. There are, however, a couple things you can do to ease your discomfort. (TRICK #1) Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water or taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol or Advil will usually provide immediate relief.

Some irritation to your cheeks or tongue is also common and should subside soon. (TRICK #2) We will provide you with wax to apply to irritating brackets to lessen tenderness. (TIP #1) However, if you feel something sharp poking you, or if sores develop, call us immediately so that we can properly adjust your braces for a more comfortable fit.


The rubber bands that are often attached to braces are called elastics. Their job is to exert pressure so that your teeth slowly move to the desired location. Constant pressure is needed to obtain the best possible results. (TIP #2) Therefore, you must carefully follow your orthodontist’s instructions about how to wear your elastics to ensure that your treatment goes as planned. Any time you fail to follow your doctor’s instructions your progress will be delayed which will make your treatment time longer. Please follow directions!

(TIPS #3-9) to help with elastics:

Orthodontic Expander

A palatal expander is a commonly used orthodontic device. It is used to widen the upper jaw so that the bottom and upper teeth will fit together better. Click Here to watch an instructional video on how to turn your jaw expander.

Eating with Braces

You will need to make a few changes in your eating habits while wearing braces. Many hard foods can damage or break your braces. (TIP #10) Hard or sticky foods are the most likely culprits when brackets or wires are damaged while eating. Habits like biting your nails, or chewing on pencils can also damage your braces. With proper care and attention you can avoid broken or damaged braces or appliances. If you have many broken brackets, your treatment time may become longer.  Additionally, excessive replacement of broken brackets and wires can result in additional charges.

(TIPS #11-17) for eating with braces:

Examples of Foods to Avoid:

Sticky Foods:

  • Caramels
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Starbursts
  • Caramel Apples
  • Sugar Babies
  • Licorice
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Now & Laters
Hard Foods:

  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Bagels
  • Apples
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Pizza Crusts
  • Carrots (uncooked)
  • Doritos
  • Pretzels

Brushing with Braces

You will probably notice that it is a little harder to keep your teeth clean while wearing braces. Food can get lodged in between brackets and between your teeth. It’s always important to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth, but when you wear braces these habits are especially important! If plaque remains on your teeth for any length of time, it will leave a permanent white scar on the surface of your tooth. (TRICK #3) Therefore, brushing after meals should become a regular part of your daily routine.
Brushing (TIPS #18-26):


If you follow these tips and tricks, you will be on your way to a beautiful, bright smile in no time!!!