Congratulations on starting your orthodontic braces journey! Now that you have your braces on, life will be different for the next few months to years (depending on your treatment length). Today we are going to talk about adapting to life with braces as well as walk you through what to expect for the first few days.
On the first day of your braces journey, you may feel “weird.” This is the most common response that we get when we ask how patients are doing right after getting braces on. If you got your braces on in the morning, you may start to feel a little sore by dinner time, but if you got your braces on in the afternoon, you may not feel anything until the next morning.
On your first day with braces, you should stick to soft foods (even if you are not sore). We recommend limiting your diet to smoothies, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, soups, and other foods that are easy to chew for the first few days. You may bump into your braces as you begin eating with your braces, but do not worry, this will get easier each day. Brushing and flossing will also take you a few more minutes each day so make sure to leave adequate time for brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Check out this great article from the AAO about cleaning your teeth with braces.
Most of our patients say that Day 2 of braces is the hardest day. On this day, your teeth will start to move with the braces. This movement can occasionally cause some discomfort. This discomfort usually does not prevent patients from going to school or work.
During this time, your mouth is also adjusting to something new just like when you get a new pair of shoes and need to break them in. Some patients might get minor canker sores, but others do not. Using orthodontic wax as well as warm salt water rinses can help your mouth adapt to the braces. You will need to continue to stick to the soft foods on day 2 as well. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers if needed on this day.
Days 3-6 with your braces vary the most patient to patient. Since everyone adjusts to braces slightly differently, these days can be different for different people. Some people will adjust completely on day 3 and others will need a few more days to adjust.
During this time, you will begin to transition back to a normal diet and become a braces brushing/ flossing pro. You should continue to avoid very hard, sticky foods like caramels, fruit snacks, pizza crust, corn on the cob, etc during your entire treatment. Many people find that chewing sugar-free gum can help the mouth adapt to braces (make sure to ask your orthodontist if this is ok for you).
You did it! After the first week, everything is downhill. Over the next several weeks, your braces will become part of your daily routine and you will not even think about them anymore.
If you play any contact sports, you should always wear a mouthguard. If you play a mouth instrument, you might take a day or two to adapt to the new “normal” of playing your instrument.
Even though eating with braces becomes a part of daily life, make sure to continue to avoid off-limits foods. Also, keep up the hard work of keeping your teeth and braces cleaning with twice daily brushing and flossing. If anything happens your braces, call your orthodontist’s office to let them know so they can plan you next appointment accordingly.