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Caring for Braces

Taking Care of Your Braces

Eating With Braces

What can you eat? For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. After the first few days you'll find it much easier to bite and chew. Your new braces just take some getting used to! Throughout treatment you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances. Always avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods such as hard pretzels or uncut fruits and veggies.

Foods to Avoid

Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice

Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips

Sticky foods: caramels, gum

Hard foods: nuts, candy

Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots

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

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – positions.

Care of Appliances

To successfully complete the treatment plan, 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 appliances or rubber bands as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.


It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.

Retainer Instructions

Wear your retainers full time, until the doctor instructs otherwise. Take your retainers out when eating… and always put retainers in their case! [Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.] Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque and eliminates odors. Efferdent or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used, but do not take the place of brushing. When retainers are not in your mouth, they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them! Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them faster. Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately. If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself. Always bring your retainers to your appointments. Retainer replacement is expensive… with proper care, they will last for years! Remove retainers when swimming. Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.

Removable Expander Instructions

Wear your expander all the time. That means all day, during meals, and while sleeping. Remove your expander only to brush your teeth. Brush your expander at least twice a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste.


If you play sports, a protective mouthguard is advised. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, call us at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.

Loose Wire or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If the wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument [back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil] and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.

Emergency Care

Generally, an emergency appointment may be made when there is severe pain, a loose band, a broken wire, or something sticking out that you can’t take care of. It’s important to know the names of the parts of your appliances. Feel free to call or text 262-522-7447 and we will be able to help identify what part is broken or out of place.

Orthodontic care for Braces

Handling Emergencies

Rubbing Appliance of Retainer

File the part of the appliance that is irritating with a nail file.

Poking Wire or Bracket

Roll a piece of orthodontic wax into a ball and press it onto the part of the bracket or wire that’s poking you.

Broken Wire

Press the tip of the wire that’s poking you towards your teeth with a pencil eraser.

Small Irritation

Place wax over the rough area of your braces.

Brace(s) Loose

When braces come loose it does not affect the progress of your treatment (unless more than three come off or are loose). If the loose braces are not causing you any discomfort, the best thing to do is just have us address it at the next visit. You may let us know ahead of time so we can be prepared to reattach the bracket at the next visit (if necessary).

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