Life With Braces


One of the best things about life with braces is the way you’ll see your teeth moving into place. The change is gradual, but you’ll notice changes almost every week. Your primary role in treatment will be to keep your braces free of food particles and to take a little extra time every day to make sure your oral hygiene is really good.

THE FIRST FEW DAYS after each appointment there might be some general tenderness of your teeth and mouth. Your teeth might even feel a little loose (after all – they’re on the move.) You may want to take some form of pain reliever (what you would normally take for a headache) during this time. Tenderness usually subsides within a few days. Here are some helpful tips:

  • We feel strongly about the importance of good oral hygiene during treatment.  While there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that the use of electric toothbrushes makes it easier for patients to achieve optimal oral hygiene, with comparable brushing methods, the same results can be accomplished with traditional soft-bristled manual toothbrushes.
  • Brush your teeth after meals and snacks.
  • If you have eaten while away from home, use your interdental brush to dislodge any food that may get caught around your braces.
  • Rinsing with water is another way to dislodge food from your braces, and to keep sugar from sitting on your teeth.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • We recommend that you have a check-up with your dentist every 6 months.

Click for a printable guide to your braces.

Eating With Braces


You’ve probably heard from friends and family members who have worn braces that you won’t be able to eat some of your favorite foods while you’re in treatment. That’s true - if your favorite food is hard candy:-). Truth is - you can eat most anything as long as you avoid anything that might cause you to lose a bracket, bend a wire, or get tangled up in goo. Here’s a simple, helpful guide to help you avoid any issues. Feel free to print this list out and put it up on the fridge.

Eating Suggestions Smaller, Softer & Slower: This will make chewing easier for you and more comfortable if your teeth are sore. Cutting your food into small pieces will minimize the amount of chewing. Softer foods are much easier to chew. By eating slower you will decrease the likelihood of biting your tongue and cheek.

  • These three types of foods can cause trouble by bending wires, breaking braces and loosening the cement that attaches the braces to your teeth:
  • Hard Foods
  • Sticky Foods
  • Foods High in Sugar

HARD FOODS Avoid hard foods similar to the following: Hard bread, ice, popcorn, jawbreakers, jolly ranchers, hard pretzels, croutons, whole nuts, and hard taco shells. Take special care when eating these foods: Apples, peaches, plums – If possible, cut into wedges and chew on back teeth. Bagels, hard breads, pizza crust – Break into bite size pieces. Carrots, celery, raw veggies – Cut into small pieces that are thinner and chew on back teeth. Corn on the cob – Should be cut off the cob.

STICKY FOODS Avoid sticky foods similar to the following: Caramels, Sugar Daddies, Starbursts, and Taffy.

FOODS HIGH IN SUGAR Limit the amount of sugary foods you eat. Sugar can increase the plaque that forms on your teeth, causing cavities and permanent white marks. Many foods, like breakfast cereals, have hidden sugars. If you do choose to eat sugary foods, please brush immediately after. Avoid between meal snacking. The worse things you can do are drink soda or eat crackers and chips between meals without brushing.

Soft Drinks and Gatorade These drinks are very acidic and contain large amounts of sugar, both which will cause permanent damage to the enamel on your teeth. Water and milk are healthier alternatives. We recommend limiting soft drink and Gatorade to special occasions. They should never be sipped over a long period of time and we recommend that you brush thoroughly or rinse with water after drinking, to decrease the amount of damage.

After Hours Care

WHAT TO DO IF YOU EVER NEED US AFTER HOURS Our office is generally open Monday through Thursday. We are closed for lunch from 12:00 pm until 1:30 pm. Emergency time is held open during each day so that we may schedule you as soon as possible during normal office hours. If you do need assistance outside our normal office hours, please call our office and an emergency number will be available for you to call. From time to time during orthodontic treatment, braces will dislodge or wires will poke. If this happens, call our office as soon as possible so we can evaluate the situation and schedule you to be seen accordingly. In the interim, the following are helpful hints to remedy some of the problems you may encounter until you can be seen in our office:
  • Look carefully to identify the source of the irritation. Often, a loose bracket or pokey wire can be gently pushed back into place with a pencil eraser tip.
  • If a wire or brace is irritating, cover it with orthodontic wax and apply Orabase gel to the irritated area. Many times this will solve the problem.
  • If this does not work and there is no way to see either Dr Sullivan or your dentist, call the office as soon as possible.
  • A loose band or bracket that is attached to a wire can generally stay in place until your next appointment if it is not irritating. Give us a call for advice.
  • A bent headgear or removable appliance that is not fitting well should be adjusted as soon as possible. Please call the office for advice.