First Five Days and Weeks With Your New Braces – Updated for 2021

cartoon mom and son with braces

We originally wrote this blog post back in 2013. We used it to discuss what you could expect from the first few days after getting your braces installed.

A lot of time has since passed, and much has changed as well! New medical practices set in, Marvel’s MCU gave us the amazing Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision, and Loki, and Disney bought everything.

We also had to adapt to life with social distancing, and now the vaccines are finally rolling in. So, we felt it was essential to update this post for today’s landscape.

Efficient orthodontic treatment can help adult, and teenage patients fix alignment issues such as crooked teeth, overbite, gaps between teeth, and more. Don’t let unfounded fears keep you from your dreamed smile.

Starting your specialized dental care with an alignment specialist such as Dr. Nima may seem daunting at first; however, there’s no need to worry.

Even if you are concerned about how different you’ll feel for the first few days and weeks, you’ll still find there’s much you can do to get used to your treatment and enjoy the entire journey towards a well-aligned smile!

What to Expect From Your Orthodontic Treatment?

You might be worried about the idea of never getting used to wearing traditional metal braces. You might not even know what to expect when you first get your braces installed. We know all this process can feel confusing at first, but eventually, you will figure out how to deal with your new set of traditional braces.

Granted, you have to keep in mind that you can choose between several alternatives for your orthodontic care if you want to avoid the stainless steel in your mouth, including ceramic braces and clear aligners.

We wanted to offer some tips to patients starting their journey towards a well-aligned smile with traditional braces. Still, some of the suggestions we mention here will apply, regardless of the orthodontic appliance you choose.

We feel like it is a lot easier to manage those first five days of braces if you know what’s going on! It may be a good time to revisit good oral-care practices and turn them into permanent habits in your daily routine.

How Long Does It Take for the Pain to Go Away?

That’s right. We are starting with some of your most pressing concerns. Some discomfort after the initial visit to the orthodontist is common.

Many patients worry about any potential painful sensations as they begin their treatment, but you shouldn’t expect an unrelenting painful sensation. Instead, keep in mind that you will feel some pressure and discomfort again every time you come for an adjustment, but nothing you cannot easily manage or that makes you too uncomfortable.

Our friends from Colgate prepared a pretty handy guide about what to do about your initial discomfort.

You might feel some discomfort anywhere between the initial five days and a week following your braces’ installation. In those first few days, your teeth might feel sore. While most of our patients don’t take pain medication, you can relieve the ache by taking an age-appropriate non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, like Advil or Motrin, according to a physician’s recommendation.

Another problem is that brackets and archwires brushing your cheeks can irritate the inside of your mouth. You could try using special wax to reduce the friction or saltwater rinses to help ease the irritation.

Will I Get Used to My Dental Care With Braces?

It might take a little longer than the initial five days we are mentioning. Generally speaking, most patients are entirely used to wearing braces by the end of the first month or a bit sooner.

There are some things you will notice at the beginning of your treatment.

  • You might notice excess saliva and feel like you have to swallow a lot. This is because our mouths treat new braces like it’s food; however, it shouldn’t last too long – maybe 20 minutes to a few hours after the braces are placed. We promise you won’t feel so weird afterward.
  • Your bite will feel different as your teeth shift positions. If you have lower braces, you may also have “bite bumps” or “bite turbos,” tiny braces or bonding buttons on the inside, or the biting surfaces of some teeth. These attachments help prevent you from biting hard against your braces, and it may take 3-5 days to feel “normal.” Consult with your orthodontist if there is a need for these little devices.

All in all, you will very likely adapt to these orthodontic appliances in about a month. The most difficult parts of adjusting to an appliance with metal brackets include changing the way you speak. You can also expect some complications while drinking and eating, but you will adapt in a matter of weeks.

Our bodies are incredibly resilient, and maintaining your enthusiasm for completing this treatment will help a lot.

How Your Braces Affect the Foods You Can Eat

Ah. THAT question. We will always advise against eating some foods that can endanger the integrity of your braces. Even if metal braces are resistant thanks to the stainless steel used to manufacture them, some foods can loosen brackets, dislodge wires, and ultimately interrupt your treatment.

Keep reviewing the “dos and don’t” guide that we give you.

In these first five days, you might be tempted to continue eating hard and sticky foods. But you must avoid them because they could break your braces, loosen a bracket, dislodge a wire, and ultimately increase your treatment time.

The time you spend coming back to the orthodontist office having a part replaced is time from your treatment that gets wasted. Avoid that and pay close attention to your diet while on braces to avoid an increased treatment time!

There are foods we recommend avoiding throughout all your treatment and especially while you’re starting it. Keep away from eating hard taco shells, corn on the cob, popcorn, and sticky foods.

But enough of all that negativity. Just as there are foods and beverages you should avoid, you can also integrate some delicious items into your diet.

Considering your mouth might feel sore as your braces begin to work, here are some ideas of the soft foods you can enjoy during your first few weeks with braces:

  • Pasta
  • Yogurt
  • Soft cheeses
  • Rice
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Soup
  • Oatmeal
  • Soft fruits
  • Smoothies
  • Mashed potatoes

Don’t Forget About This if You Want a Healthy Smile!

Ok, let’s try to work on that list we promised. Remember that, ultimately, you are wearing braces because you are on your way to a well-aligned and healthy smile. Orthodontic treatment is more than just looking nice; it’s about having a healthy smile.

Here are some things to expect and some tips to help ease the adjustment period:

  • Braces will feel strange to your lips and tongue. It’s normal to be a little fidgety, moving your lips over the braces or touching the braces with your tongue. But within a day or two, this type of “checking it out” activity will go away.
  • The “glue” that holds the braces on your teeth is similar to the material we use to fill teeth. It is strong, but it takes up to 48 hours to set completely. Softer foods will be easier to eat while also allowing the braces to set. Please stay away from hard foods.

The Importance of Your Oral Hygiene

  • Tooth decay is a serious matter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that by 2016, a staggering 45.8% of all US children aged 2-19 had some type of untreated tooth decay. Don’t let that add to the initial discomfort as your kid starts wearing their appliance.
  • Take a look at all of the items we have given you to help keep your teeth clean and comfortable. You can also get many of these items from the pharmacy. Clean teeth and gums are more critical when braces are on your teeth. You also don’t want to stain your teeth because you will see discoloring once your treatment concludes.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, if you don’t already. For bonus points, brush after lunch too! We strongly recommend checking up on your teeth with a lighted magnifying mirror, like a makeup or shaving mirror.

Young Patients and a Beautiful Smile

  • Parents – check on your child’s brushing at least once a day for the first few days! They might be missing some key areas where food and debris get trapped, and you’ll want them to be able to catch these spots themselves.
  • As always, young patients between 7-17 should be rinsing with a fluoride rinse before going to bed. And this should continue even after the first five days!

Alleviating Any Pain Caused by Braces

  • Most patients do not need wax – and we want the lips and cheeks to toughen up during the initial five days of braces. If a sore develops and you want to use wax, do so by drying the irritated area and pushing a little piece of wax onto the spot where it cuts your cheek.
  • Use over-the-counter medication to help ease any discomfort you have over the first few days. Monitor the situation closely and, if the pain doesn’t go away, get in touch with your orthodontist to verify that everything is going well or perform any necessary adjustments.
  • The new high-technology wires are activated by body heat. So if your new braces feel tight, try rinsing with ice water to reduce the pressure temporarily. But if you do this, do NOT chew the ice! You do not want to have to come in right after you had your braces to get fixed.

An Orthodontist to Help With Bite Correction

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. You could give us a phone call or set up your next appointment online. We will be happy to have you in our office!

You are on your way to a healthy good looking smile with straight teeth, and any temporary inconveniences will be well worth it in the end. Try to remain motivated throughout the treatment, and soon you won’t even notice you have braces on until it’s time to remove them!