First Days In Braces


The adhesive used to attach the braces to your teeth cures rapidly, but takes several hours to completely cure. You can eat any time after leaving our office. However, we ask that you remember the list of foods that may be harmful to your braces. Until you become accustomed to eating with your new braces, you may find it beneficial to follow a diet consisting of all soft foods.

Initially, the braces feel like they stick out. This feeling is normal. As you become accustomed to your braces and tooth alignment improves, this sensation will cease to be a concern. Although the brackets have been rounded and smoothed, until the cheek tissues have toughened, you may find it helpful to use a pea-sized or grape-sized piece of orthodontic wax on the irritating bracket or wire end, embedding the irritating bracket or wire totally within the wax. If your supply of wax runs out, please call our office for more. The wax may also be purchased at a local pharmacy or grocery store.

You will probably notice some discomfort beginning a few hours after your braces are placed. Some teeth, usually the front teeth, may be tender and sensitive to pressure. Occasionally, patients report that they experience no discomfort, but most patients have some soreness a few hours after having braces put on; this soreness dissipates within a day or two. Exactly when the discomfort will cease is impossible to predict and differs with each patient. Ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) in regular doses is recommended for discomfort. If Ibuprofen cannot be taken or is not effective, Naproxen (Aleve®) in regular doses is a good second choice. While Tylenol® will address discomfort, it is not an anti-inflammatory medication and thus, it will not work as well to alleviate the inflammatory response to moving teeth. For maximum effectiveness, it may be best to take such medications before the discomfort begins. And please know that while local use of Ibuprofen is recommended, chronic use of any over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication will slow down tooth movement and can increase treatment time.

It is exceptionally important to clean your braces, using the Hygiene Kit and instructions that we provide. Doing so will prevent scarring, cavities, and gum disease. Additionally, teeth move faster in a healthy environment. Please see our Oral Hygiene page for a review of cleaning instructions.

Before Leaving Our Office

There are routine steps that we ask you to take prior to leaving our office. These steps will minimize discomfort related to irritation from the braces and ensure an optimal response to treatment. Please make these steps a part of each office visit:
  • Using your finger and tongue, check to see that the wire ends do not extend into areas which might poke or abrade the cheek or tongue.

  • Make sure that you understand what you are to do until your next appointment. Your responsibilities could include wearing elastics as instructed, and/or following specific hygiene and diet instructions.

  • Make sure that you have an adequate supply of orthodontic wax, special cleaning aids, elastic rubberbands, or other related materials that you may need between appointments.

  • Whenever possible, schedule your next appointment before leaving our office. Waiting 1 to 2 weeks after an appointment before scheduling your next office visit complicates the scheduling process, since appointments are typically programmed 6 to 12 weeks in advance. Postponing appointments is a common contributor to extended treatment length.

Visit our Emergencies & Urgencies page for more helpful information.

Meet Dr. Held

Originally from Northern California, Dr. Cheryl L. Held began her orthodontic residency at the Saint Louis University Department of Orthodontics.
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  • 9979 WingHaven Blvd., Suite 200
  • O'Fallon, MO 63368
  • ph. 636.561.5550

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