Life with Braces

What can you eat? Well, you can eat and enjoy most all of the things you already do. You just have to be careful and possibly change the way you eat some of them. Dr. Bart Miller will give you plenty of tips for “safe eating”. For the first day or so, 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.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, whole apples and carrots
  • Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces can cause treatment to take longer.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, it won’t hurt while you are in the office or for most of that first day. We do try to use very gentle wires, however, when you wake up the next morning, you will likely feel general soreness and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Prior to that first appointment we recommend you take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain, and plan on taking it for the first 24 hours. After that you can decide if you need it or not. Many people do not, but some do. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for a short time as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. If needed, you can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

Loose Wire or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax, chewing gum (sugar-free), or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, try to save it and bring it with you to the office.

Care of Appliances

To successfully complete the treatment plan, patients 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, headgear or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.


It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Wearing braces does provide more “nooks and crannies” where food and plaque can hide. Keeping them clean is not hard, you simply need to be a good and attentive brusher. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Sometimes poor oral hygiene can even force us to remove the braces before treatment is finished. Adults who have a history of gum disease may need to see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.


If you play sports, we have some protective mouthguards for playing contact sports. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once so we can make arrangements to check you out.