The First Five Days of Having Braces – Updated for 2020

cartoon mom and son with braces

In this post we wrote in 2013, we discussed what you can expect from your first few days after getting your braces in. Five years later, a lot has changed! After all the augmented reality, Marvel and Disney movies, and social distancing that has happened since then, we felt it was important to update this post for 2020.

When you First Get your New Braces

When you first get your braces in, you might not be sure of what to expect. It can feel confusing at first, but eventually, you will figure out how to manage the new metal appliance in your mouth. 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 habits.

New Braces for Teeth

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. 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 after!
  3. Your bite will feel different as the teeth move. If you have lower braces, you may also have “bite bumps” or “bite turbos”, little braces or bonding buttons on the inside or on 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”.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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 discoloring once your braces are removed later.
  7. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, if you don’t already. For bonus points, brush after lunch too! We strongly recommend also checking up on your teeth with a lighted magnifying mirror, like a make-up or shaving mirror. 
  8. 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.
  9. 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!  
  10. Most patients have no need for wax – and we actually want the lips and cheeks to toughen up during the first 5 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.
  11. The new high technology wires are activated by body heat. So if your new braces feel really tight, try rinsing with ice water to temporarily reduce the pressure. 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 on to get fixed. 
  12. 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.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. 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!