First Days in Braces

Girl in New Braces

      Starting orthodontic treatment is an exciting experience for many patients. It is common for many patients to need a little time to adjust to their new smile and how to care for their new braces. Most patients begin to adapt to their new braces within a few days.

      A few things that you may experience while adjusting to your braces are:

      • Tenderness

        The first wires placed with braces deliver light consistent forces, however teeth need time to adapt to them. It is common for patients to feel tenderness within the first 24 hours. Most patients report that it feels as though their teeth are a little bruised. Over time the tenderness will begin to diminish. Many patients find that over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) work well. Please consult with your physician if you are unsure if either of these options are appropriate for you.

      • Diet

        A soft diet is often helpful in the first days after braces are placed. This will help when the teeth are tender. It is also helpful as your bite is changing due to the movement of your teeth. Some patients are given bite ramps or “bite pillows” when the braces are placed that will immediately change the bite. In the beginning, a soft diet will allow for an easier transition into your new bite.

      • Oral Hygiene

        Learning to brush and care for your new braces is important for your overall oral health. Your new brushing routine will take more time than you are used to. Take your time! As you continue to develop new brushing habits, it will become easier to use your new brushing tools and you will become more efficient. Good oral hygiene will allow you to continue to smile with confidence!

      • Soft Tissue Irritation

        In the first few weeks of orthodontic treatment, it is common for the tongue, lips, and cheeks to experience some irritation from the new appliances placed in your mouth. Patient comfort wax applied to the areas causing irritation provides quick temporary relief. Warm salt water rinses will aid in soothing irritation and encourage faster healing of soft tissues.  Typically, patients report that episodes of soft tissue irritation diminish.