FAQs and What To Expect

Your Questions Answered

So you need braces but you’re a little nervous to take the plunge. You don’t know what to expect. Will it hurt? How do you floss? What can you eat? To get all your questions answered about your own unique case, including potential cost, read through the Braces FAQ and then schedule a free consultation at our Bakersfield, CA office! But before that first appointment, you can find peace of mind below.

Do Braces Hurt?

Braces FAQIt is normal to have a little soreness for a few days after the braces are placed, especially if this is your teeth’s first time ever having any force applied to them. The gentle forces created by brackets and wires is just the beginning of tooth movement and straightening. The soreness could possibly make it uncomfortable to eat or talk. If it bothers you, rinsing with warm salt-water may be helpful or even taking a small dose of Tylenol (or whatever you take for pain).

Some people think the brackets and wires feel rough against their cheeks, lips, and tongue. If it gets painful at all, you may place orthodontic wax on the braces adjacent to the tender areas to shield your mouth from the metal. You will receive this wax when you get your braces and if you ever need more, just ask!

It can be a bit alarming to discover that your teeth may feel slightly loose throughout your treatment. That’s because they are, but this is nothing to worry about! It just means the braces are working and the normal process of tooth movement is happening. First, the teeth will loosen in their bone sockets, then move to their proper position, then the bone will solidify around the teeth again and they will no longer feel loose.

Cleaning Your Braces

Of course the time to be diligent about oral hygiene has to be when it’s the hardest, right? Brackets and wires create areas throughout your mouth that food and plaque can get trapped in and are difficult to get out. If left on the teeth for long periods of time, the teeth can begin to decalcify, not only making you more prone to cavities, but also more likely to have white spots on the teeth, often outlining where the brackets were after they are removed. Flossing every day and proper brushing twice daily will help keep the cavities and white spots away so your teeth will look their best once the braces are removed.

Pointers for Proper Brushing

  • We recommend you use a soft bristled tooth brush with a small head. Electric and sonic tooth brushes are also acceptable.
  • Point the bristles downward to clean the tops of the brackets then upward to clean the bottoms. (Don’t forget the insides and biting surfaces of the teeth as well as the tongue)
  • If you have eaten while away from home, use your interdental brush to dislodge any food that may get caught around your braces.
  • Rinsing with water is another way to dislodge food from your braces, and to keep sugar from sitting on your teeth.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • We recommend that you have a check up with your dentist every 6 months.

What About Food?

Best Practices With Food

Foods to Avoid with Braces

Braces FAQ - What Not To Eat

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum (sugar-free gum is okay)
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
  • Foods you have to bite into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Foods You can Eat with Braces

  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, sliced fruit, most berries (but watch out for seeds)
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, cake


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