All About Braces Osterman Orthodontics Lafayette CA

Brushing and Flossing

It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy during orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may experience more problems with their teeth and gums much as you would expect if the teeth were not properly cleaned even if the braces were not present. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also seen more frequently by their dentist or a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. Watch the video below on the proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment.

Eating with Braces

What can you eat? It’s more a question of what you shouldn’t eat! For the first few days after each visit we recommend sticking to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to bite a cucumber again. But you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces. In general, anything that you bite into that makes a loud crunching sound may break the braces which could interfere with the progress of treatment.

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: 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 3 – 5 days. For pain relief, take whatever you normally take for headache or discomfort. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen up and become accustomed to the braces. We will supply wax for you to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort. In general the teeth may be tender for 2 – 3 days after each visit. The generalized irritation of the lips, cheeks and tongue typically is typically a one time problem that only occurs right after the braces are put on. While this is what most patients experience with braces, individual patients may experience these issues to greater or lesser degrees.

Loosening of Teeth

A small amount of mobility, usually 1mm or less, in the teeth is to be expected throughout treatment. The teeth typically firm back up in their new — corrected — positions after treatment is completed.

Loose Wire or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire sticks out and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back 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. Don’t worry, loose devices are not an emergency but they should be repaired at the next available appointment to keep the treatment on track. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the problem.

Rubber Band Wear

To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, 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 rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Lack of cooperation following instructions and damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time and may prevent us from achieving our desired results… so please … follow instructions. There are some parts of the treatment that we cannot do for you so remember for the best result you will need to do your part!


We strongly recommend that all patients playing contact sports or ball sports use a protective mouth guard. If you play any of these sports, it’s important you let us know so we can provide you with a mouth guard that is compatible with orthodontic movement.