the day! What should you expect? A little knowledge goes a
Braces are Put On
your teeth well and floss at home. Have a picture taken.
That crooked smile is going to change!
Apply a thick coat of
Chapstick or lip balm to your lips, because they tend to
get rather dry during the process of installing the
dental assistant or orthodontist will dry off your teeth
and apply "etchant" to them. This tastes like
Krazy Glue and is vile. Try not to get it on your tongue.
The etchant prepares the surface of your teeth for the
bonding "cement" that holds on the brackets.
brackets are placed on your teeth. A high intensity
plasma light is then quickly applied to the surface of the
bracket to set the bond.
wire (arch wire) is placed through the brackets. This
should not poke your cheek. If it does, tell them so that
the end of the wire can be clipped.
rubber bands (ligating modules, also known as ligatures or
o-rings) are placed on the
brackets. This is what holds the wire to them and creates
a feeling of pressure. If you get Damon Brackets, the
ligatures are not necessary.
it! You're done! Each row of teeth takes about an hour, so if
you're getting a full set of braces, it will take about two
hours. It doesn't hurt, and you don't need to get any shots.
But you will probably be tired of having your mouth propped
open for so long!
to the website "bracesinfo.com", which explains the
parts of your braces, names of your teeth, and other helpful
Does It Feel Like?
first, you will feel an unusual feeling of pressure on
your teeth. If any of your teeth have metal brackets
around them, this will feel weird, but not unbearable.
first, feeling the braces underneath your lips will be a
strange sensation. After about a week, you'll probably
find that you barely notice it.
should stick to soft foods for the first day or two;
nothing crunchy or hard, nothing large and difficult to
bite and chew (e.g., big sub sandwiches or burritos).
first day, it may not hurt too much. The second and third
days, it may feel like somebody hit you in the teeth with
a baseball. Take a pain reliever like Ibuprofen
(Motrin/Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) and try to chill
out. It will get better!
first you will not be able to eat certain foods, like
tortilla chips, sugar cones, crunchy cookies, hard taco
shells, etc. When you eat out, think of your teeth first
and be kind to yourself! Order soft foods!
will be difficult. You may bite the insides of your
cheeks. The metal hooks on the brackets may hurt. Just
chew slowly and carefully. Do not take large mouthfuls.
Hint: Fill up on protein-rich foods, not just carbs, so
you can go several hours between meals!
first, you won't be used to food getting lodged in your
braces. This really takes some time to get used to. It
doesn't hurt, it just feels weird and make you want to run
immediately to the bathroom to rinse and brush. In time it
won't bother you as much.
dental wax on the little hooks or brackets that hurt. You
may not need to use the wax for long, maybe just a week or
two until your mouth adjusts to all the hardware. Just
break off a piece of wax and gob it on the offending area.
try to floss for several days, or even a week. It will
probably hurt too much.
a week or two, your teeth may feel loose. That's normal
and necessary. It passes in another week or two.
Your bite will change as
time passes. After a few months, your bite may seem
"off." This is normal and will be corrected by the time
your treatment is finished.
You may develop gaps
between teeth that you didn't have previously. Don't
worry, they will go away before your treatment is
the Heck Can I Eat?
the "old days," dentists had a long list of foods to
avoid. Well, you're not a kid and you're probably not going to
be eating jaw breakers, gummi bears, or anything stupid. You
can eat anything that seems sensible and "do-able."
Nuts get stuck in your teeth and are painful, so avoid them at
a short list of my favorites for those painful first
days (or the days after an adjustment). For a longer list, go
here. Also, there are several
cookbooks available for people with braces!
chicken, or egg salad
meat (plain, not in a sandwich -- sandwiches can be too
hard to bite)
toast, pancakes, waffles
cooked meat (pot roast, roasted chicken, etc)
or broiled fish
bread without seeds or chunks
crackers (they crumble on the roof of your mouth!)
(custard-type is best; the less chunks the better -- or
just don't eat the fruit chunks!)
that gets soggy in milk
or hot cereals
cream and cake (hey, what the hell, treat yourself! But
remember, no nuts!)
cheese blintzes or potato pancakes