The First Five Days of Having 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 long past and much has changed too! New medical practices have set in, Marvel’s MCU came to a grand conclusion with Avengers: Endgame, and Disney bought everything.

We also had to adapt to life with social distancing, so we felt it was essential to update this post for today’s landscape.

Are You Wondering What to Expect?

You might be worried about ever getting used to wearing braces. You might not even know what to expect when you first get your braces installed. It can feel confusing at first, but eventually, you will figure out how to manage the new metal appliance in your mouth.

Of course, keep in mind that you can choose alternatives for your treatment, including clear aligners. We wanted to offer some tips to patients who are starting their journey towards a well-aligned smile with conventional braces.

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 Braces to Stop Hurting?

That’s right. We are starting with some of your most pressing concerns. Some discomfort after the initial visit to the orthodontist is common. Also, keep in mind that you will feel some pressure and discomfort again every time you come for an adjustment.

You might feel some discomfort anywhere between the initial five days and a week following 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 can irritate the inside of your mouth for some patients. You could try using special wax to reduce the friction or saltwater rinses to help ease the irritation.

How Long After Getting Braces Can You Eat Normal Foods?

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, 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 eat hard and sticky foods. But you must avoid them because they could break your braces and ultimately lengthen your treatment time. Let the guide be your friend during this process!

Keep away from eating hard taco shells, corn on the cob, popcorn, and sticky foods. We know this is inconvenient, but ignoring these warnings will only result in extending the treatment to replace broken or dislodged parts.

How Long Does It Take to Get Used to 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. This shouldn’t last too long – maybe 20 minutes to a few hours after the braces are placed. It 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,” little braces or bonding buttons on the inside, or the biting surfaces of some teeth.

These are designed to prevent you from biting hard against your braces and 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 metal braces include changing the way you speak. You can also expect some complications to 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.

When you First Get your New Braces

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 do want to stain your teeth because you could see discoloring once your braces are removed later.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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 talk to you!

You are on your way to a healthy good looking smile, 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!