First Days With Braces

If you just got your braces on and are wondering what to expect, here are a few tips and insights that will help you get started on the path to a beautiful new smile!

Before Leaving the Office

Here are some helpful steps to follow before leaving the office to ensure your orthodontic treatment is as efficient and comfortable as possible:

  • Check your archwires with your fingers and tongue – make sure it is not poking any area which might be uncomfortable.
  • Double-check that you understand what you’re supposed to do between appointments, whether that means wearing headgear for certain amounts of the day, wearing elastics (rubber bands), or making regular adjustments to a palatal expander.
  • If you have questions about oral hygiene or diet, now is the time to ask.
  • Refill your supplies of dental wax, elastics, cleaning aids, or any other needed materials. You don’t want to run out between appointments!
  • Be sure your next appointment is scheduled with us before you leave – this will help ensure you have more choices as to which day and/or time you’d like the appointment scheduled. Delaying making appointments puts your treatment at risk of running longer than expected.


It is not uncommon for your teeth to feel tender or sore after first getting braces. We suggest taking acetaminophen (Tylenol®, for example) for this soreness, as other pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen slow down tooth movement. However, you may take a dose of Tylenol and a dose of Advil together for the first day or two – this should be more than enough to relieve any discomfort. After the first few days, though, you should switch to Tylenol, and only as needed. After roughly four days, you should notice your discomfort decreasing every day until you feel completely normal again, roughly a week or two after first getting braces.

Loose Brackets

Brackets may sometimes come loose from teeth during treatment. This is easily fixed – simply call us and schedule an appointment for us to reattach the bracket. If brackets come loose regularly during the length of your treatment, however, it may indicate that you need to pay more attention to the foods you are eating, or the activities you are engaging in (at least without a proper mouth guard).

Foods to Avoid

Even though the adhesive between your tooth and braces won’t be entirely set for 24 hours, you are able to eat as soon as you leave our office. However, there are some foods you should avoid not just in the first day with braces, but through your entire treatment. For the most part, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.

Oral Hygiene

Proper oral hygiene is always important, but it is especially critical when undergoing orthodontic treatment. This is because braces can make it more difficult for you to brush and floss properly. For details on brushing and flossing in braces, visit our Brushing & Flossing page.

Surbeck Orthodontics

  • Burleigh T. Surbeck, DDS - 375 118th Ave SE Suite 100, Bellevue, WA 98005 Phone: 425.455.1944

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