Braces Care: How to Maintain Your Braces While Achieving Your Best Smile

Braces Care: Partners in Achieving Your Best Smile

The success of your orthodontic treatment requires your cooperation. We’ll do the heavy lifting of determining a treatment plan, applying and adjusting your braces, and monitoring your progress. However, there are things you can do that will help us work together to get the result you desire. These tips will help you with questions related to braces care. They will also tell you what to do should you encounter any after-hours challenges with your braces including soreness or loose wires.

By following the suggestions below, you can prevent or correct some braces-related issues at home. If you are still uncomfortable, it is always wise to call the office (901-756-4316) for guidance. Messages are checked for emergencies, even on weekends.


When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth; and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously.

If the tenderness is severe, take Ibruprofen such as Advil or Motrin. Tylenol, aspirin, BC powders and other OTC meds are in a different class and won’t work as well on moving teeth. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to ease any discomfort. We’ll show you how!

While there is an initial period of adjustment, you’ll become used to eating and speaking with braces in about a week.

Loose-feeling Teeth

This is to be expected as long as you are in braces. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth may feel loose as they move. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new—corrected—positions.


Don’t be alarmed if a dental wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a ligature is irritating, use the eraser end of a pencil or the blunt end of a toothbrush to push the protruding wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way.

If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place a piece of wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible to make an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.


After getting the end of the protruding wire as dry as possible, apply wax to it to reduce the irritation.


Dry the individual loose bracket with cotton swab and place wax over it until it can be removed from the wire. It will simply hang between the wire and the tooth until Dr. Piper can replace it.

Use and Maintenance of Appliances

To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears and maintains orthodontic bands, headgear, or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.

If your orthodontic appliance becomes bent or broken during treatment please call the office (901-756-4436) ASAP during normal business hours.

How to Clean Your Teeth With Braces

It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy when your braces come off. If possible, brush your teeth and braces with a fluoride toothbrush after meals. If you aren’t able to brush your teeth, rinsing with water after meals is helpful. We recommend a soft bristle toothbrush made in the U.S.

Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.


What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat!

For the first day or so, stick to soft foods like Jell-O, mashed potatoes, yogurt, or smoothies. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. 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, e.g. corn on the cob, apples, carrots
  • Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils, or fingernails) can damage the braces, and damaged braces will lengthen treatment.

Make a Braces Care Kit

It’s useful to make a braces care kit that you can take to school or work so that you are prepared with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and dental wax to both maintain good hygiene and address any poking or loose wires on-the-go.

After-Braces Care

Caring for your teeth after braces is critical to your long-term result. Following your orthodontist’s recommendations about wearing a retainer after your braces are removed will ensure that your teeth maintain their new position. Alternatively, failure to wear a retainer can mean your teeth will shift and change the smile you worked so hard for. To care for retainers, brush them gently with toothpaste and water, or soak them in cold water and an effervescent cleaner.



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