1st Days in Braces


Now that you have started your orthodontic treatment, here are some hints that will help you get used to your braces.

General Soreness

Bracket color optionsDay 1: It’s the day you get your braces and you are flooded with emotions from excitement about how great your smile will look to anxiety because you don’t know what to expect. Having braces placed is not a painful process at all. It may take some time to adjust to talking and eating with braces, but you will quickly learn how to chew and speak with them. As your teeth begin to move, you may be a bit more sensitive to certain foods and drinks and you may feel a bit of discomfort, but this will all subside after a couple of days. We recommend during the first couple of days to eat softer foods like yogurt, soups, fish, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.

Day 2 and 3: You may still feel some discomfort as your teeth begin to shift and you’re not used to the pressure of the braces, but don’t worry. That means it is working! Use wax to help alleviate wire irritations on the lips and cheeks. We’ll be sure to show you how to use it before you leave our office. Dr. DiGiovanni recommends over the counter pain meds (like Advil or Tylenol) to help reduce your discomfort. Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. 

Day 5: It’s nearly been a week since you’ve gotten your braces and at this point, you should only be experiencing minimal, if any discomfort as your body adjusts to the pressure from the braces. By this time, you should be acclimated well to speaking and eating with braces. While avoiding hard and/or sticky foods, you should be able to resume your normal diet. 

Loosening of Teeth

firstdayinbraces2.jpgDo not be alarmed if your teeth feel loose. Teeth must loosen in order to be moved. Your teeth will become fixed in their new and improved position over time and as treatment is completed.

Loose or Broken Appliances

If a wire, brace or any appliance becomes loose, don't become alarmed. If a wire is poking, you may use a pencil eraser and carefully push the wire under the braces to get it out of the way. If your lips or cheeks are irritated, place wax on the area to reduce the annoyance. If a wire comes out of a band, replace the wire by putting it through the hole in the back band. Wires can also be cut with wire or nail clippers. If a brace becomes loose, you may remove it by taking off the o-ring around the braces with something like a toothpick.

IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, CALL OUR OFFICE. We may need you to come in right away or we may need to lengthen your next scheduled appointment to make the repair.

Emergency Appointments

As a general rule, an emergency appointment is made when there is a loose band, brace or appliance, severe pain, a broken wire or something sticking out that you can't take care of yourself. If something doesn't seem right and you have a question, you should not hesitate to call. Many situations can be handled over the phone. You should become familiar with the "orthodontic appliance diagram" in the handout we provided you the day the braces were placed so that you can describe more accurately to us what is occurring.

If you have an emergency when the office is closed, call the office and Dr. DiGiovanni's contact information will be provided on the answering machine. Don't hesitate to call the doctor directly – it is part of our job and not a bother at all.

If you call and there is no answer, leave a message on the voicemail. If you do not hear back from the doctor within 15 minutes, please call back again.

Foods to Avoid:


  • Roll Ups (nope)
  • Any Hard Candies (but I can just suck on them?? NO! it is bathing your teeth in sugary acid. NO BUENO)
  • Caramels (pulls them right off)
  • Jolly Rancers
  • Gummy Bears
  • Lolly Pops
  • Jelly Beans
  • Sugar Daddy (or babies)
  • Caramel Apples

Hard Stuff,,,  OF COURSE NOT!

  • Ice Cubes (NEVER!!)
  • Whole Apples (slice and dice!)
  • Whole Carrots (cut is just fine!)
  • Popcorn (the enemy of the orthodontist)
  • Hard Pretzels
  • Nuts (awwww nuts!)
  • Corn on the Cob (corn off the cob is GREAT)
  • Crusty Bread
  • Spare Ribs (cut meat off the bone)
  • Pencil Ends (really?)
  • Fingernails (nasty habit!)

Patient Cooperation

Patient cooperation is the most single most important factor in achieving a proper result and completing treatment on time. Insufficient wearing of elastics, removable appliance, Invisalign aligners, etc. or missing scheduled appointments will lengthen treatment time, adversely affect treatment quality and potentially result in additional costs. If you have any question to how your treatment is progressing, please call or email to discuss with Dr. DiGiovanni personally any concerns that you may have. We are here to help.

Foods to Avoid

While you are wearing braces, please avoid eating hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar. Hard foods can break or damage the wires and brackets, and sticky foods can get caught between the wires and brackets. Minimize the amount of sugary foods you eat; the sugar can cause tooth decay and other related problems.

Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid:


  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)
  • Licorice
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Starburst

Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:


  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Hard taco shells
  • French bread crust/rolls
  • Corn on the cob
  • Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
  • Bagels
  • Chips
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Pizza crust
  • Uncooked carrots (unless cut)

Minimize Sugary Foods like:


  • Cake
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Candy

Only Once a Day:


  • Soda
  • Sweetened tea
  • Gatorade
  • Kool-Aid
  • Drinks with sugar

Patient Cooperation

Patient cooperation is the most single most important factor in achieving a proper result and completing treatment on time. Insufficient wearing of elastics, removable appliance, Invisalign aligners, etc. or missing scheduled appointments will lengthen treatment time, adversely affect treatment quality and potentially result in additional costs. If you have any question to how your treatment is progressing, please call or email to discuss with Dr. DiGiovanni personally any concerns that you may have. We are here to help.




You knew brushing and flossing was important before you got your braces… and you were right. But all patients undergoing orthodontic treatment need to be even more committed to good oral hygiene.

With braces on it is more difficult to brush and floss your teeth… but it is also much more important. Why? The braces trap food very easily, and this results in plaque formation. If plaque is not carefully and consistently removed from your teeth and around your braces, you run the risk of developing gum disease, dental decay, enamel scarring and bad breath. Plaque is a mixture of bacteria and food particles. The bacteria feed on sugars and produce acids. The acids irritate your gums, erode the enamel on your teeth and cause bad breath.

It's important to remove the plaque thoroughly and often. Then, when your braces come off, the teeth underneath will be healthy and strong and look good. Here are some tips to help you.

Do I need to See my Regular Dentist While Receiving Orthodontic Treatment?

YES!!! You need to maintain visits with your dentist for tooth cleanings and exams during your braces. We recommend seeing your dentist every 3-4 months while you are undergoing orthodontic treatment

Tooth Brushing Instructions

Use a soft-bristle toothbrush.

The most important thing is to look for a brush that's soft and approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). After that, the size of the brush, the shape of the handle and other variations are up to you.

What about an electric toothbrush? It's not necessary, but if you have one, it's safe to use it on your braces and Dr. DiGiovanni recommends electric (rotary or sonic) toothbrushes as they have observed most patients who use electric brushes maintain better hygiene.

Brush at least three times a day for at least 3-4 minutes each time.

Brush after each meal to make sure there's no food trapped in or around braces. "It's important to brush the braces and all the surfaces of the teeth, that is, the inside and outside surface and the chewing surfaces, too. Pay special attention to the areas between your brackets and your gums. You should take at least three to four minutes each time you brush. It's best to use a timer (like the cool one we provided you with) to make sure you are brushing long enough.

Flossing Instructions

Floss at least once a day.

It is definitely trickier flossing with braces but special flossing products can help make it easier for you. These include floss threaders, super floss and other products designed for patients with braces. We will take a lot of time the first visit (and whenever needed) on flossing techniques. If you're not sure you're doing it right, ask us during your next visit.

What About Fluoride While Wearing Braces?

We recommend a prescription fluoride toothpaste-typically Prevident.

We like our patients to use Prevident toothpaste while wearing braces. This prescription toothpaste is stronger than over-the-counter brands and is an additional defense to prevent decalcification, cavities and other bad things that can happen if you don't properly take care of your teeth while you have braces.

  1. Place a pea-size amount of toothpaste on your brush and brush as instructed.
  2. When finished brushing, SPIT OUT BUT DO NOT RINSE WITH WATER.

For over-the-counter brands, make sure it has the ADA seal of approval.

For more fluoride, try an over-the-counter fluoride rinse like the sample of ACT we provided you the day your braces were placed to help protect and strengthen teeth during orthodontic treatment.

Tools to Help You

Rubber-tipped and end-tuft or single-tuft brushes: These are special brushes that help you to get into tough to reach areas, as well as between your teeth. The end-tuft or single-tuft brushes look something like pipe cleaners.

Oral irrigators like a Water Pik: These instruments shoot small streams of water onto your teeth at high pressure to remove food particles. They can be used as an aid in your oral hygiene, but not in place of brushing and flossing.

Disclosing solutions or tablets: Your dentist may have used these during an office visit to see where you tend to miss spots after brushing. Disclosing tablets and solutions use vegetable dye to highlight plaque or debris in your mouth. We will give you some samples of these. You can find them online or in a drugstore and use them at home.

If you have questions about how to use any oral hygiene product, even your toothbrush, call us or ask us when you have your monthly visit.

Eating Right

With braces on you need to think twice about eating foods that could increase your risk of cavities and those very ugly decalcification spots. You also should avoid anything that might damage your braces or wires. Frequently breaking your braces will add to the overall treatment time and could incur additional costs.

Stay away from hard and sticky foods. Caramel, hard candy… you get the idea. They can damage your braces and cause your teeth to move the wrong way! They also get stuck in the wires and brackets. It provides lots of sugar for cavity-causing bacteria to munch on. Cut down on all sugary foods. You can still have a limited amount of sweets and a soda once in a while but remember the more sugars you eat, the greater your risk of tooth decay or decalcification.