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Brush Up

West Chester Orthodontics

on braces

and I want to know what to expect.

and need help keeping them clean and healthy.

First-time Patients:

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and want to learn about retainers.

(610) 918-3200

Tooth Talk Blog
About to Get Braces



Things will feel a little


What will I be able to


While you are getting used to your new braces, things will feel different. That's okay! You can expect that:

  • You may temporarily have excess saliva.

  • Your bite may feel different both initially and after each subsequent visit.

  • Your teeth may feel sore when biting into food.

  • Your teeth may feel loose. Don’t worry! This isn’t permanent. We have to loosen them a bit in order to move them.

Will I be allowed to play


But will I be


You may be uncomfortable for a few days after initially getting your braces and after follow-up visits, but everyone is different. Some people may be sore while others are not. If you do get sore, a few things can help relieve that uncomfortable feeling:


  • Tylenol, Advil or other normal over-the-counter pain reliever

  • Placing wax on braces where wires are poking or sharp (See how here!)

  • Diet of soft and/or cold foods (milkshakes!!)

  • A Warm salt-water rinse mix:

Yes, you can! We recommend wearing a braces-friendly mouthguard during all sport activities. A mouthguard will protect your teeth and appliances from damage if you are accidentally bumped in the mouth during play. Be sure to use one that is specially made for braces or orthodontics, specifically one that you do not mold to your teeth.



Salt Rinse

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup warm water


Stir until dissolved. Swish for 1 minute several times per day and spit out. Rinse mouth again with fresh water if desired.

Lots of delicious things! Don't worry - you won't have to give up all of your favorites.


YOU'LL ENJOY all of the cold, smooth foods you want – that includes ice cream, pudding, and other treats! Cold foods soothe the teeth and smooth foods are easy to chew without getting stuck in your braces.


YOU'LL WANT TO AVOID chewy, sticky foods like certain candies, and hard, crunchy foods like hard pretzels, so that you don't damage your braces.


Don't worry -

we made you a list!




I have braces








Gum, Caramels, Taffy, Tootsie rolls, Starburst, Now-and-laters, Swedish fish, Gummy bears


HARD/CRUNCHY FOODS: Hard candies, Lollipops, Nuts, Hard pretzels


POPCORN is a big one. Kernels can get wedged or stuck under the gum, and cause infections or pain. Avoid altogether!


NON-FOOD OBJECTS: Pens, Pencils, Bottle tops and Fingernails!


This list is not comprehensive. When in doubt, skip it and opt for a food on the safe list!




  • Ice cream, milkshakes, yogurt, pudding, smoothies, cheese

  • Pasta, rice, meatballs, well-cooked meat/poultry, fish, lunchmeat

  • Mashed potatoes, well-cooked vegetables, cooked beans

  • Bananas, melons, applesauce, canned fruit

  • Pancakes, muffins, oatmeal, eggs, cereal with milk

  • Chips, puffed snacks (Pirate Booty®), chocolate, marshmallows


Remember, soft and/or cold foods with soothe the teeth.



Anything dense that you would normally bite into with your front teeth should be cut or torn into pieces. Place the pieces on your back teeth to chew.



  • Apples, pears, carrots or other raw fruits and vegetables

  • Bagels, hoagies, thick sandwiches

  • Pizza crust, bread with thick crust

  • Ribs or chicken on the bone (remove meat from the bone to eat)

  • Corn on the cob (cut kernels from the cob to eat!)




Rubber bands are used along with your braces to fit your upper and lower teeth together in ways the wires alone cannot do. These should be worn 24 hours a day (unless otherwise instructed) and only removed to brush your teeth. That means rubber bands should be removed 3 times per day and immediately replaced with new ones. You should be eating, sleeping and going to school wearing your rubber bands. Cooperation and consistent wear is the only way your teeth will move. If they’re not in all the time, they will not work.


Initially, you will be sore from the movement. Take your normal pain reliever and continue wearing your rubber bands. After a few days, your teeth will become accustomed to the pressure and you will not experience any more discomfort. If you are not sure where to hook your elastics or you run low on your supply, just give us a call so we can help!





Why is it so important to clean your mouth really well while wearing braces? Problems can occur if you let plaque accumulate in your mouth for long periods of time. Remember, these problems are not caused by braces, but by not cleaning your braces well!


  • Cavities - holes or structural damage in teeth

  • Gum Disease - an infection in your gums that causes them to bleed and become swollen and red

  • Bad Breath (yuck!)

  • Decalcification (scars on your teeth - just like any other scar on your body, tooth scars are permanent!)


At your regular visits with Dr. Ferrell, your hygiene is checked and scored. If there are any areas that are not clean, we will show you how to reach them. Don’t forget to see your general dentist for your regular check-ups, to help you maintain your healthy smile.


Let's learn about how you'll keep your braces clean!

What to eat



It’s important to brush your teeth 3 times per day. Brushing after each meal is ideal, however, many patients in braces are at school and can’t brush after lunch. In this case, brushing should be done before school, after school, and before bed. After lunch, use your Proxa-brush and/or swish with some water to remove bits of food until brushing can be done.


It should take you twice as long to brush your teeth now, as you need to keep not only your teeth and gums clean but your braces too! Brush your top teeth for 2 minutes, then your bottom teeth for 2 minutes or as long as it takes to get them clean, then brush your tongue. Play some music during brushing to guage your time if you’re not using a power brush with built-in timer.



Brushing with an Electric Brush

Brushing with a Manual Brush



It’s important to floss your teeth daily -  no amount of brushing can clean the parts of your teeth that floss does!


Nighttime is best for flossing so your gums can stay clean all night while you sleep.



PROXA-BRUSh (Tree Brush)


This skinny brush (sometimes called a Christmas tree brush becuase of its shape) is great to have with you at all times. It can remove pieces of food from your braces when you don’t have time to do a thorough brushing (like at school or at a business lunch, or after snacks). Simply slide the brush under your wire with the tip pointing away from your gums to push food and plaque out, as shown in our video.



Plaque HD Toothpaste


It can be hard to tell if you’ve removed all of the plaque after brushing, since plaque is the same color as your teeth. This amazing toothpaste takes the guesswork out of it.  Simply apply Plaque HD to your toothbrush and brush normally. Special dyes stick to your plaque coloring it teal as you brush. Once you have finished brushing all the teal will be removed. It will not stain and will completely be removed when all of your plaque is gone. Now you can be confident you'll have a healthy, beautiful smile once your braces are removed!


Uh oh!



My brace is loose/broken!

A loose or broken brace is one that is no longer attached to your tooth. It may move around inside your mouth. Most often a broken brace does not cause discomfort - it is simply annoying. Use wax to prevent the brace from sliding around, and call us immediately. A broken brace is not considered an emergency (unless you are truly in pain), but we do need to know about it before your regularly scheduled appointment so that extra time can be allotted for the repair.


I have a poking wire!

Something sharp, poking or sticking out? If wax isn't able to make you comfortable (watch how here), and you are unable to come in to see us, try cutting the sharp part off yourself. Use some nail clippers or a small wire cutter, and clean them off with rubbing alcohol. Cut the wire where it is poking, then put some wax on the cut end. Be sure to then give us a call to get it fixed properly.

My spacer fell out!

Spacers are the tiny rubber bands temporarily placed between your teeth to create room to slide a band (a type of brace that looks like a metal ring) around your tooth. Spacers feel like a piece of food stuck between your teeth and may cause minor discomfort that your normal pain reliever can alleviate. Spacers are usually left in for 1-2 weeks. During that time, you can brush your teeth as you normally would but only floss the areas that don’t have spacers. Chewy, sticky foods or flossing around the spacers can pull the spacers out. Just give us a call if your spacers fall out before your next appointment.


I lost my retainer!

Retainers need to be worn as long as you want straight teeth. Without your retainer, your teeth will slowly shift back to where they were before you had braces. As soon as you notice your retainer is lost or broken, please give us a call to have a new one made. Going too long without your retainer could lead to needing braces again!


Broken Braces
Getting Braces Removed
Placing Comfort Wax




Ok, so what's a


Retainers are worn after braces are removed to keep the teeth in their new position. Without a retainer, your teeth will “remember” where they were and gradually drift back into their original position.


But don't worry - no one needs to see your retainer!

You'll wear your retainer at night. Retainers should be worn as directed,

7 nights a week for 8 hours a night. As we say, "Nightime for a Lifetime"


Caring for your retainer

Clean your retainer with your toothbrush and toothpaste as soon as you remove it from your mouth in the morning. Always store your retainer in its retainer case - never in a napkin. Pets and young children may be tempted to play with your retainer and can break it accidentally, or it may become lost if it is left lying around. Bring your retainer to each appointment so we can make sure it is

maintaining your new smile properly.


How to floss around your fixed lower retainer (lower lingual bar)

Have More Questions? Contact Us!


If at anytime you have questions about your orthodontic care, as always, we invite you to call us.


(610) 918-3200

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