Brushing & Flossing

It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces so the teeth and gums are healthy during orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning.

Adults with a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. Watch these two videos on the proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment.

Eating With Braces

What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods.

Avoid tough meats, hard bread, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to bite a cucumber again.

But you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you wear braces.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.

Turning an Expander

If your child requires a palatal expander as part of their orthodontic treatment, watch this instructional video for helpful tips on turning the expander.

Dr. Manzella guides you through the entire process, including positioning your child’s head for a clear view of the expander. He also explains how to ensure you’ve correctly made one complete turn of the expander.

If turning your own expander, you may need to recruit a partner, friend, or one of your teenage children to help you.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 – 5 days. Take Tylenol or whatever you normally take for headache or discomfort.

The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces. We will supply wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort.

Loose Wire or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire sticks out and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back under the archwire.

Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the problem.


If you play sports, a protective mouth-guard is suggested while playing contact sports. You may choose to order an “orthodontic mouth-guard” online or pick one up at a local sporting goods store.

This specific type of mouth-guard does not interfere with teeth movements. Some patients simply choose to purchase traditional boil and bite mouth-guards and wear them without forming them to their teeth.

If patients have an orthodontics appliance that interferes with mouth-guard placement, feel free to cut the mouth-guard to allow seating. If you are unable to do it yourself, bring it to your next orthodontic appointment with Dr. Manzella.

What To Do If Your Braces Break

Wear Your Rubber Bands

To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, the patient must work together with Dr. Manzella.

The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed.

Lack of cooperation in following instructions and damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time. So please—follow our instructions.

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal.

Teeth must loosen first so they can move. After treatment is completed, the teeth will firm up in their new — corrected positions.