What to Expect and Care for Braces – FAQ’s

If teeth are not cleaned well enough with fixed braces on, you can be left with gum disease, decay and permanent stains on your teeth. To ensure you are brushing well enough you need to be following these steps.

  • Brush teeth for 4 minutes morning and night time; if possible also brush your teeth after lunch.
  • Brush around the gum lines, inside and underneath the teeth and also over the brackets.
  • Use interdental brushes to go up and underneath the wire in between each tooth.
  • Use a fluoride based, alcohol free mouth wash at a different time to when you brush.

If you are wearing a removable appliance

Take the brace out and clean your teeth as you would do normally. Then use a separate toothbrush and scrub the brace with just cold water. Do not use toothpaste or mouthwash as this can make the brace eventually go rough on the surface. You should use a product called retainer brite about once or twice a week; follow the instructions on the box.

When first having the brace fitted, it is completely normal to be a bit sensitive in the teeth. Everyone is different but it normally lasts around 2-5 days. In this time, it is recommended to take some pain killers, whatever you would take for a headache. Also, stick to foods which can be eaten without chewing too much such as pasta, soup and mashed potato etc.

If you experience any ulcers with the brace on then use whatever you would use normally, such as bonjela or salt and warm water mouth rinses. Sometimes the brace will rub against the inside of your mouth which will create a sore spot. You can buy some wax at reception which can help with the rubbing; this can be used by sticking the wax against the part of the brace which is rubbing. The wax is made of vegetable oil so no need to worry if it swallowed, it will stay stuck to the brace until you eat or brush your teeth.

When wearing fixed braces, certain foods and drinks must be avoided. These would include:

  • Sugary and acidic drinks e.g. coke, lemonade and pure fruit juice. It also includes diet brands and fizzy water.
  • Hard, chewy and sticky foods e.g. chewing gum, toffee, sweets, nuts and popcorn.
  • Chocolate is fine to eat as long as it does not have a hard, chewy or sticky centre.
  • Apples, raw carrots, rolls and pizza crusts need to be cut up before being eaten.

Eating foods which are not allowed can break the brace which will add time to the treatment.

If the brace breaks then you need to contact the practice during business hours as soon as possible after you realise it is broken. Please refer to the page which deals with specific examples of breakage for more detailed advice.

If you leave the brace broken then this can prolong your treatment time. Sometimes, the wire can either come out of the bracket or it can stick out the back of the brace which can then be sharp and uncomfortable.

If you are wearing a removable brace

Please buy a box from reception, the brace needs to be kept in this box whenever it is not kept in your mouth. Do not put it in a tissue and put it in your pocket or on the side as it will get lost or broken. If you lose or break the brace, then please ring reception during business hours and as soon possible. If we have to send the brace back to the lab then there may be a fee.

  • Please wear your retainers whenever you are at home, i.e domestically and at night time.
  • Do not eat or drink whilst wearing your retainers, except from plain water.
  • Your retainers should always be kept in a rigid container when you are not wearing them, dry your retainers with towel/tissue before storage.
  • Make sure that your teeth and retainers are clean before wearing them at night. Clean with cold water and a toothbrush. For best results, use Retainer Brite (available from Reception).
  • DO NOT USE toothpaste, strongly perfumed soaps, hot water (above 50°C) or mouthwash when cleaning your retainers.
  • If retainers are lost or damaged beyond repair you will need to pay for replacements.
  • Please remember that wearing retainers as instructed is essential if you wish to maintain the results of your treatment.
  • RETAINERS MUST BE BROUGHT TO EVERY APPOINTMENT