Orthodontic Survival Guide

Welcome to the world of orthodontics!

The following notes are designed to help answer important questions about your orthodontic treatment.

Here’s your guide to a great start.

The First Few Days

You may notice some discomfort with teeth being tender and sensitive to pressure beginning a few hours after your braces are placed.  This should dissipate within a few days.


Soreness usually lasts a few days after each visit. If needed, you can take over-the-counter medication to help with any discomfort.


Wax will help smooth any areas that may be scratching, rubbing, or poking your cheeks or lips. If your supply of wax runs out, call our office for more. Before leaving the office, using your finger and tongue, check that the wire ends aren’t poking your mouth.


Do not hesitate to call our office if a problem arises. Our doctor is always available in the office or on call after hours and on weekends.


The first few wires you will receive are thermal sensitive. You may feel less tightness with cold foods/beverages and more tightness with warm or hot foods/beverages.

Food to Modify

You should avoid any food that is hard, chewy or sticky as this can pull brackets loose. Sodas and acidic drinks (such as Gatorade) are the #1 reason patients get decalcification or dental decay. Excessive amounts of these drinks and plaque left on the teeth may cause white spots to show up. Please avoid or minimize your soda intake during braces. Be sure to brush well and often when you do indulge.

Chewy Candy

Whole Nuts

Corn on the Cob

Hard Granola Bars

Beef Jerky

Chewing Ice

Hard Pretzels

Sodas / Acidic Drinks

Whole Apples / Raw Carrots

Popcorn Kernels / Caramel Corn

Pizza Crust / Bagels

Chewing Gum

Soft Food Ideas

Until you become accustomed to eating with your new braces, you may find it beneficial to follow a diet consisting of soft foods. You can eat anytime after leaving our office. You may notice some tenderness to crunchy foods a few hours after braces are placed.

Here are some recommended foods for the first couple of days.

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Rice
  • Soups
  • Pasta / Ravioli
  • Fish
  • Pancakes
  • Smoothies
  • Ice Cream
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Jello
  • Bananas



Your treatment progress will be evaluated at each visit. Communication between patients, parents, your dentist and our office is important.


In general, longer appointments (braces on/off), are scheduled in the morning or around lunch time. This allows your other appointments to be scheduled before or after school.


We are here for you! Please call us with any questions you may have. You can even text us a picture. Please call us for that cell phone number. Visit our website for additional information and videos.


Please confirm your appointment via email or text. You may opt out from these reminders.


Email/text 1 week before your appointment, please confirm.


Email/text 2-4 days before your appointment, please confirm.

If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call us at least 48 hours in advance to reschedule.

Oral Hygiene

Your oral health is extremely important for your teeth and gums to stay healthy and will help keep your treatment on schedule. Following these recommendations will reduce cavities, gum inflammation, and decalcification/white spots.


Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal or snack with a soft bristle brush. It’s important that you angle the toothbrush to get the bristles under the wire, along the gum line.


We recommend the use of a WaterPik prior to brushing and flossing to loosen and remove food around brackets, along the gum line and in between the teeth. These work great!


We recommend rinsing with fluoride for one minute after brushing and flossing in the evenings. It’s very important that you do not eat or drink anything after using the fluoride rinse.


Super flossers, or floss threaders, help make flossing easier. Flossing is more time consuming with braces, but you should floss once a day.


A proxy brush is used to help clean the hard-to-reach places and the nooks and crannies in braces.

Other Notes


Always wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports.


Wind instruments can be played without a problem, but they will feel a little different if you have to use your mouth to play them.


Please continue to visit your regular dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.


If you have a loose bracket that is still attached to the wire, place a small piece of wax on it to secure the bracket. If the bracket is off entirely, place it in a bag and bring it to your next appointment.


You can use a pencil eraser to push the wire back into place. You can also place wax over the area to help alleviate the discomfort.


Clip it with a clean nail clipper or a wire cutter, and place wax over the area to ease the discomfort.


Use clean tweezers to place the wire back into place, or slide it under the bracket hook.

Shorten Your Treatment Time

KEEPING YOUR APPOINTMENTS: Each missed appointment can lengthen treatment time. Please arrive 5 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. Showing up late may result in an incomplete appointment, which will require an additional visit to finish.

SCHEDULE YOUR NEXT APPOINTMENT: Always schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. Waiting to schedule will limit the availability for any preferred times you may have. Postponing appointments is a common contributor to increased treatment time.


NOT BREAKING YOUR BRACKETS: By being careful with your braces, you will avoid the inconvenience of extra visits to the office for repair and prolonged treatment.

WEARING YOUR ELASTICS AS INSTRUCTED: Most patients will be required to wear rubber bands. Please follow our instructions closely. Your cooperation and compliance is important in determining whether or not your treatment is finished on time.

KEEPING YOUR TEETH AND BRACES CLEAN: Our goal is to help you achieve your best smile. Clean teeth and healthy gums help us reach that goal faster!