5 Things to Expect When You Get Braces

A woman examining a girl's mouth with a dental mirror.

We heard you’re getting braces. Congratulations! We are so excited to be a part of your journey to straighter teeth! Today, over 4 million Americans wear braces and you are about to be a part of the pack. But before you get your own set, here are 5 things to expect when you get braces.


Having metal in your mouth can feel a little funny, but overall, the key is to feel comfortable. The first thing to expect with new braces, is the cool hard feeling of metal brackets in your mouth and the smoothness of the correcting wire.

Your doctor will ask you to feel the braces with your tongue and to use your pointer finger to double check that the wires are properly trimmed. If you feel anything poking out, speak up! Trimming wires takes no time at all and can increase your comfort tremendously.

Once your wires are properly trimmed, your orthodontist will give you a little dental kit.

Dental Kit

When you go to the dentist, you get a little toolkit that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Orthodontists provide a similar kit to get you started with a healthy orthodontic routine. Depending on what your braces require, your kit should include:

  • Dental wax
  • Proxabrush
  • Threader
  • Elastics/Crank key (these items are included if you have braces to correct your bite)

Once you get braces, you should still keep healthy brushing habits. The tools in your dental kit will help you keep your teeth pearly white while your braces help correct overall alignment. Your orthodontist will show you each item in the kit and explain how to use it. Feel free to ask questions during this time so you feel confident using the items on your own at home.


Not long after getting braces, you’ll start thinking about food. And guess what? You can eat the same day you get your braces attached. Braces allow you to eat most of your favorite foods, but since your mouth might be a little sore or achy during your first week with your new gear, soft food will be your best friend.

Below are a few soft food choices we recommend for your first week with braces:

  • Ice cream
  • Pudding/Jello
  • Pancakes
  • Applesauce
  • Soft cheese
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Steamed Spinach
  • Baked Beans
  • Ground beef

Once the soreness subsides, you can move onto other foods like pizza and grilled meats.

The main difference you should expect with braces, is NO CHEWY FOOD. Hard, sticky, sugary, or chewy foods are hard on your teeth and even harder on your braces, so it’s best to avoid things like caramel candies and chewing gum.


Once you have braces, you still need to brush and floss twice a day. Brushing should follow the same routine: add a small dollop of toothpaste to the tip of your brush and scrub in small circles all along the front, back, and bottom of your teeth.

Flossing is a little trickier once you have wires and brackets. This is where your dental kit comes in! You’ll need to use the Proxabrush and threader each day during cleanings.

  • A Proxabrush is shaped like a little pipe cleaner. Use this to get between the wire and the front of your teeth.
  • The threader is used to lead floss around your wire so you can floss between your teeth.

Cleaning may take a little longer at first, but that’s okay! With practice, you’ll be in and out of the bathroom in no time.

Loosen up!

And the finally, the most important change you should expect once you have braces, are loose teeth. When you first get your braces on, everything is tight and your teeth are firmly placed. As your teeth adjust to the tightening wire, some of them might feel loose. Not to worry! That’s perfectly normal. This means your teeth are starting to shift into the right positions in your mouth. Once your teeth move into the right alignment, they won’t feel loose anymore. After all, shifting your teeth into a straighter smile is what braces are all about!

Contact Your Chapel Hill Orthodontist Today!

If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with Dr. Clifton, feel free to fill out our online appointment request form or give us a call. Our phone number is (919) 933-1007. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or by phone. We look forward to putting you on the path toward a healthier and straighter smile!