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How should teeth and braces be cared for?

Your orthodontist or a member of the orthodontist’s staff will brief you on brushing, flossing, toothpaste, rinses, other hygiene tools, as well as foods to enjoy and foods to avoid. AAO videos offer some general tips on what to eat and brushing and flossing.

What do I do if a bracket or wire comes loose?

If a bracket or wire comes loose, or if you lose or break an aligner, let your orthodontist know right away. Broken braces cannot deliver the right forces to move your teeth, and that could prolong treatment.

Will I take part in typical daily activities the day braces are applied?

You should be fine going to work or school and taking part in your usual activities.

How will the mouth feel after getting braces?

Expect some mild discomfort for the first few days. This is temporary and can be relieved by rinsing with warm salt water (1 tsp. salt to 8 oz. of warm water), or by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.  Cold soft foods such as ice cream and pudding are helpful as well.

Which drinks are allowed with braces?

Tap water and milk are your best choices for drinks while braces are on. Beverages like coffee, tea and red wine can stain teeth. Try to avoid these, or keep them to a minimum. Avoid regular and diet soft drinks when wearing braces. These drinks include soda pop, sports drinks/energy drinks, flavored bubbly waters and fruit drinks (juices, punch). These drinks contain acids and/or sugars that dissolve tooth enamel and can lead to cavities. Be sure to brush right away after drinking a soft drink. If brushing is not possible, rinse thoroughly with water.

What can’t I eat with braces?

Stay away from foods that are hard, sticky, crunchy or chewy for the duration of treatment. Sugary and starchy foods should be avoided, too. Ban foods such as hard pretzels, hard pizza crust, crusty bread, taco chips, caramels, popcorn, licorice, taffy, suckers, hard candies or mints and nuts for the duration of your treatment.

What can I eat with braces?

A healthy diet supports the body as it undergoes the biological changes that occur during orthodontic treatment. You are encouraged to enjoy a variety of healthful, easy-to-chew foods during orthodontic treatment. Soups, stews, casseroles, pasta, scrambled eggs and smoothies can be good choices. You can enjoy fresh fruits like apples and pears, but they should be sliced rather than bitten into. Similarly, sandwiches and pizza are OK, but they should be cut into bite-sized pieces. Cut corn off the cob before serving.

Will I be able to eat after braces are applied?

Yes. At first, you may want to consider foods that require little or no chewing such as soup, pudding, mashed potatoes, applesauce, ice cream, etc. As you become more accustomed to your braces, chewing will become easier.

Do braces cause discomfort?

There can be some initial discomfort when braces are placed, or for a short time after braces are adjusted, but this is temporary. Overall, orthodontic discomfort is short-lived and easily managed. Once patients become accustomed to their braces, they may even forget they have them on.

How long does it take to get braces?

It takes approximately 90-120 minutes.