How Are Braces Put On: What to Expect the Day You Get Braces On (2022)

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If you’re about to become one of the 4 million people in the United States and Canada who wear braces to straighten crooked teeth, improve your bitea, close gaps, and give you a more attractive smile, you may have a few questions about the process.

So what’s the first day going to be like?

Getting your braces on takes one to two hours. Depending on your teeth and the kind of braces you’re going to wear, the process for putting them on could happen in one appointment or two.

Some parts of the process could involve a sense of pressure. But overall, getting braces put on doesn’t hurt.

Spacers

If your back teeth are very close together, your dentist might put spacers or rubber bands between them about a week before your braces are applied. This step is to create enough space for bands to fit around your back teeth.

The down side of spacers is that your back teeth and jaw will probably be sore as your teeth move to accommodate the spacing devices.

Starting clean

Before your orthodontist puts your braces on, your teeth should be really clean. Once your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned and dried, the orthodontist can apply the braces.

Gluing on the brackets

Brackets are the small metal or ceramic devices that hold the wires in place on your teeth.

To attach the brackets, the orthodontist places a small amount of glue in the center of each tooth. Then they shine a blue light on your teeth to set the glue. The glue usually tastes bad but it isn’t toxic to you.

The next step is to place a bracket in the center of the tooth.

Sliding on the bands

To anchor the braces, the orthodontist puts metal bands around your back molars.

After choosing a band that’s the right size for your tooth, the orthodontist applies some glue to the band, sets the glue with the blue light, and slides the band onto your tooth.

Maneuvering the band onto your molar may involve a little bit of twisting or pressure. Let your orthodontist know if you’re feeling a pinching sensation. They can adjust the band so it’s comfortable.

Attaching the archwires

Once the brackets and bands are firmly in place, the orthodontist attaches the archwire to the brackets. They do this by wrapping a small rubber band (ligature) around each bracket to hold the wire in place.

The rubber bands are the fun part for many people because they get to choose the color they want.

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The orthodontist then snips the end of the archwire to be sure it doesn’t touch the gums at the back of your mouth.

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Lingual braces have many of the same components as conventional braces, but they are applied to the back of the teeth, on the “tongue side” of the mouth, instead of the front of the teeth.

Because of the special placement, putting them on may take a little longer than conventional braces, and they must be applied by specially trained orthodontists.

If you’ve chosen to use clear alignment trays to reposition your teeth, you won’t need bands or wires. You still need to have an impression of your teeth made so that your trays will be a perfect match for your teeth on day one of treatment.

When you go to the orthodontist, you’ll try on the alignment trays, make any necessary adjustments, and learn how to wear and care for your appliances and teeth during the alignment process.

Attachments

Some of your teeth might need special attention because of where they are.

To make sure that all of your teeth can move efficiently into place, your dentist may glue small, tooth-colored attachments to your teeth. These attachments act like handles that the alignment trays can grip to guide teeth in the desired direction.

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Your dentist might also attach small, tooth-colored mounds of bonding material to the teeth near the back of your mouth. These “buttons” can then be used to link your upper and lower teeth with small rubber bands that help move your teeth into the right position.

New alignment trays

Every one to two weeks, you will visit your dentist or orthodontist to check your progress and to pick up new trays. Just like with metal braces, new trays can sometimes make your teeth sore for a few days afterward.

After you get your braces on, within an hour or two, you will probably feel some discomfort. You might only notice the pain when you eat, or you could have a generalized headache or jaw discomfort for several days.

You could try an over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicine like ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to ease the pain. You could also try an oral anesthetic like Orajel or Anbesol to numb the area. Shop for dental pain relief.

Foods to eat the first few days

For the first few days after you get your braces put on or adjusted, eat soft foods to minimize pain from chewing. These foods should be easy to eat:

  • yogurt
  • oatmeal
  • mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower
  • soft-cooked vegetables
  • fish
  • scrambled eggs
  • soft fruit like berries and bananas
  • macaroni and cheese
  • ice cream, frozen yogurt, and smoothies

You may also have sore places in your mouth where the brackets or wires rub against the insides of your cheeks. Use the wax your orthodontist gave you to cover the parts of the braces that are causing pain.

You could also try rinsing with a saltwater solution or applying a topical anesthetic like Anbesol or Orajel to the sore spots.

Within about a month, your mouth will have adjusted to the braces, and you won’t experience this kind of soreness.

What will change after you get braces on

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The main thing you’ll notice is that your teeth will start gradually moving into place, which is the reason you’re wearing braces. But you’ll also adopt a new daily dental care routine after your braces are applied.

To prevent cavities and stains on the surface of your teeth, you need to learn a new way to brush and floss. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that you clean your teeth multiple times a day — even if you’re away from home.

At a minimum, swish with water after eating or whenever you’ve had something sugary to drink. And consider using special tools like a water flosser or an interproximal brush to get underneath the archwire and between your teeth.

Foods to avoid with braces

For as long as you have braces, you will also want to avoid foods that could pop off your brackets. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you stay away from eating hard, chewy, and sticky foods such as:

  • nuts
  • popcorn
  • corn on the cob
  • ice
  • hard candy
  • chewing gum
  • caramels

The two biggest days in the life of someone who wears braces are the day they get their braces on and the day they get their braces off. Getting braces on doesn’t hurt, and it only takes an hour or two.

If you’re wearing conventional braces, the process involves applying bands, brackets, and wires. If you’re wearing lingual braces, the application involves the same basic parts, but it could take a little longer because of the placement on the inside of your teeth.

If you’ve chosen clear alignment trays, you won’t need brackets or bands, but you may need attachments, buttons, and elastic bands between your upper and lower teeth.

Afterward, you may have some pain, but it can usually be relieved by OTC medicines and eating soft foods for a few days.

FAQs

What happens the first day you get braces? ›

Day 1: Having the braces placed on your teeth is not painful. But as your teeth begin to move, they typically will become sore. The soreness you experience is not a sharp pain, but rather a dull ache that typically lasts not more than 2 or 3 days.

What day hurts the most with braces? ›

Expected Outline of Braces Pain:
  • Day 1 (bonding): Not painful, but general discomfort possible during bonding.
  • Days 1-5: Soreness, pain, or discomfort common. ...
  • After Day 5: Pain should fade as your teeth adjust to your braces.
  • Orthodontic visits for tightening: expect some soreness or pain 1-3 days after treatment.

What should I do the day of getting braces? ›

In order to help you feel more comfortable with your braces, here's a list of five tips for surviving the first week:
  1. Be prepared leaving the orthodontics office. ...
  2. Be careful what you eat with braces. ...
  3. Use wax to fight sores in your mouth. ...
  4. Rinse your mouth with saltwater. ...
  5. Always practice good oral hygiene.
26 Mar 2019

How much weight did you lose with braces? ›

Patients are reporting several pounds to as much as 10 or 15 pounds of weight loss as a result of the orthodontic treatment. Few people would see this as a negative side effect, of course. The main benefit of orthodontic treatments remains the drastic cosmetic results.

How many days do braces hurt? ›

Mild pain or discomfort is a normal side effect of wearing braces. But you should only feel the discomfort immediately after your orthodontist places or adjusts your braces or wires. The discomfort typically disappears within four days, and braces pain rarely lasts longer than a week.

What can you eat the first week of braces? ›

Here's a list for first week of braces foods that we recommend our patients stock up on.
  • Eggs.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Smoothies.
  • Cold drinks.
  • Yogurt.
  • Noodles and pasta.
  • Soup.
  • Mashed potatoes.
26 Apr 2021

How long after braces can I eat? ›

The adhesive we use to secure the brackets to your teeth will dry very quickly but can take up to 24 hours to fully set. It is fine to eat right after you leave our office. However, we recommend that you stick with softer foods for the first few days as you get used to eating with your new braces.

How do you survive the first day of braces? ›

5 Tips to Survive Your First Day With Braces
  1. Get the most you can out of your orthodontics visit. You will be getting lots of information on your first day with braces. ...
  2. Be careful of wires. ...
  3. Practice good oral hygiene. ...
  4. Do things that will make you comfortable. ...
  5. Be mindful of what you eat.
15 Apr 2021

Can braces help lose weight? ›

Weight loss

This is one of the most unexpected side effects of wearing braces. Some patients report losing weight as the result of better food choices. When you're wearing braces, snacking between meals becomes a lot more effort.

What are side effects of braces? ›

Common Side Effects of Braces
  • Mild Discomfort. Some discomfort with braces is totally normal and should be expected. ...
  • Irritation. ...
  • Jaw Pain. ...
  • Difficulty Eating. ...
  • Tooth Decay. ...
  • Decalcification. ...
  • Allergic Reactions. ...
  • Root Resorption.
18 Nov 2018

Do braces make you sound different? ›

Braces on their own will have less of an effect on the singing voice than the rest of the dental work that may be needed to fit them. By altering the cavity space and shape in the mouth, your voice resonates differently. Thus, a few teeth shifting slightly, won't make a huge difference.

What foods can't you have with braces? ›

Foods to avoid with braces:
  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice.
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice.
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum.
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies.
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots.

Do braces change your jawline? ›

Braces Improve Jaw Alignment

With a crossbite, the lower jaw sits more to the left or right, rather than directly below the upper teeth. Braces straighten the teeth and improve jaw alignment which can change the shape of the jaw.

Does it hurt to get braces tightened? ›

Will it Hurt? Because your dentist will add slightly more pressure to your braces to make up for the looseness caused by your straightening teeth, you'll most likely feel some tenderness after your appointment. This is completely normal and means that your braces are working and your teeth are becoming more aligned.

What does braces pain feel like? ›

There will be some discomfort.

Your teeth will feel achy as the alignment process begins and you may feel steady pressure from the wires, but that's also the exciting part! Your teeth start to straighten out from day one. The pain is not severe, but it can certainly be annoying and disruptive.

Can I eat fries with braces? ›

Yes – you may eat fries – but you need to make sure that you're brushing your teeth properly and after every meal. Remove any leftovers with a proxy tip or floss tip. Also, don't forcefully remove any leftovers if you are having a hard time doing so – trying repeatedly will only cause damage to your braces.

Can you kiss with braces? ›

Many people with braces worry that they won't be able to kiss someone else while until the braces are removed. Others worry that it will be an unpleasant experience, either for them or their partner. Never fear. Kissing with braces is not only possible, it can be just as enjoyable for both of you as it is without them.

Can I eat a burger with braces? ›

You can still eat things like ice cream, brownies, cookies, cake, French fries, burger, hot dogs, and pizza (just avoid the crust), no problem. Below is a list of foods to avoid and foods you can eat. If you are careful and practice good oral hygiene, you'll achieve a great smile in the amount of time Dr.

Can I eat noodles with braces? ›

Food That Can Be Eaten with Braces

Foods that can be eaten with braces include: Bread – pre-cut loaves of bread, soft tacos and tortillas are safe options. Dairy – soft cheese, yoghurt and dips are fine to eat with braces. Grains– rice, noodles and all kinds of cooked pasta are soft and suitable for braces.

Can you eat pizza when you have braces? ›

Can you eat pizza with braces? Yes! You certainly can, as long as you avoid crusts and toppings that are too tough and hard, sticky, or stringy, and eat in small, careful bites. Of course, it's also essential to clean your teeth and the metal wires after eating for optimum dental health.

Do braces hurt the first week? ›

Though you should never feel severe braces pain the first week, or at any point during your treatment, your teeth will be a little tender and achy an hour or two after you get your braces put on. You might also have some tenderness after adjustments.

Should I brush my teeth on the first day of braces? ›

Can I Brush My Teeth On The First Day of Braces? Your teeth will feel some soreness after having braces put on for the first time. Even though your teeth may feel tender, you do still need to brush your teeth. Any discomfort you may experience is only temporary.

When will I notice my teeth move with braces? ›

By the end of the first month, you may see your teeth have moved slightly. From there, each time you get your braces adjusted, your teeth will move just a little more. After several months, there will be significant movement, and people you know may notice your teeth moving.

How do you mentally prepare for braces? ›

Come to your appointment in-the-know with 5 ways to prepare before getting braces!
  1. Prepare yourself mentally. It's normal to feel nervous before your braces appointment. ...
  2. Prepare for soreness, slight discomfort and adjustment. ...
  3. Stock up on precautionary items. ...
  4. Clean thoroughly. ...
  5. Prepare your fridge.

Do braces make you sleepy? ›

Teeth grinding and orthodontics

You may wake up with a headache or a sore jaw, even some bruising. You may also feel fatigued throughout the day, even if you think you slept through the night.

How long will my mouth hurt after getting braces tightened? ›

Following a braces tightening, it is usual to experience pain or discomfort. The good news is that the discomfort usually goes away on its own within a day or two for most individuals. In fact, some people claim to be pain-free.

Why do braces hurt at night? ›

When you begin wearing braces, the quality of your sleep may suffer in the initial days or weeks. Generally, this is simply because your gums and cheeks aren't yet used to the dental apparatus being in your mouth. A certain amount of pain and discomfort is completely normal during this period.

What braces color make your teeth look white? ›

To make the decision less stressful, here are some tips on choosing the best braces color for you: Make your teeth look whiter – Darker shades like royal/navy blue, purple, and even black can make the color of your teeth appear whiter. Even so, be aware that colors like dark green and brown can look like food.

How do you brush with braces? ›

Orthodontic Home Care Instructions | Braces | Brushing - YouTube

Are braces supposed to hurt the first day? ›

The Day Your Braces Are Placed

You should feel little to no pain when your braces are initially placed onto your teeth. However, after the first few hours, you may experience some discomfort. You will have to get used to wearing braces and learn how to chew with them.

Do braces hurt the first week? ›

Though you should never feel severe braces pain the first week, or at any point during your treatment, your teeth will be a little tender and achy an hour or two after you get your braces put on. You might also have some tenderness after adjustments.

What are the 5 stages of braces? ›

Five Stages of an Orthodontic Treatment
  • Consultation Stage. ...
  • Bonding/Banding Stage. ...
  • Regular Adjustments Stage. ...
  • Debanding Stage. ...
  • Retainer Stage. ...
  • If you are currently suffering from any of the cases mentioned earlier, your dentist will most certainly refer you to an orthodontist.

Do braces hurt the second day? ›

Braces Day 2:

On this day, your teeth will start to move with the braces. This movement can occasionally cause some discomfort. This discomfort usually does not prevent patients from going to school or work.

How long before I can eat after braces? ›

After about 3-4 days, the soreness will start to go away and you can graduate to more solid foods, but always steer clear of those foods on the “do-not-eat list,” as they could cause damage to your teeth and braces.

How do you mentally prepare for braces? ›

Come to your appointment in-the-know with 5 ways to prepare before getting braces!
  1. Prepare yourself mentally. It's normal to feel nervous before your braces appointment. ...
  2. Prepare for soreness, slight discomfort and adjustment. ...
  3. Stock up on precautionary items. ...
  4. Clean thoroughly. ...
  5. Prepare your fridge.

How long is the first stage of braces? ›

During the first phase of treatment, we'll level and align your teeth into their desired position. To do this, you'll visit the clinic every four to eight weeks to have your braces adjusted, so your teeth keep moving into their desired position.

At what stage of braces do you get rubber bands? ›

When Do You Start Wearing Rubber Bands With Braces? Patients typically begin wearing elastic bands about four to six months into their braces treatment, so you don't have to worry about wearing them over the entire length of your treatment plan.

What happens the first month of braces? ›

By the end of the first month, you may see your teeth have moved slightly. From there, each time you get your braces adjusted, your teeth will move just a little more. After several months, there will be significant movement, and people you know may notice your teeth moving.

What can you eat the first week of braces? ›

Here's a list for first week of braces foods that we recommend our patients stock up on.
  • Eggs.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Smoothies.
  • Cold drinks.
  • Yogurt.
  • Noodles and pasta.
  • Soup.
  • Mashed potatoes.
26 Apr 2021

Can I work the day after getting braces? ›

Once your braces are placed there can be some discomfort. An over-the-counter pain reliever may be recommended; if you feel up to it, you can return to work or school. If not mandated by your school or employer, the remainder of the day may be better spent adjusting to your new braces.

Why can't I bite down with braces? ›

Because your upper and lower teeth won't meet when you bite down, chewing will be a challenge until you adjust to the bite blocks. Softer foods and smaller bites will help.

Videos

1. Process of Getting Braces
(Manhattan Bridge Orthodontics)
2. Before Putting On Braces - Indirect Bonding
(Manhattan Bridge Orthodontics)
3. What to Expect When Getting Braces Put On
(Diamond Braces)
4. Your First Day With Braces and What To Expect
(Nth Degree Orthodontics)
5. Do Braces Hurt?
(Orthodontic Experts)
6. How To Deal With Braces Discomfort - Causes, First Day Pain, Braces Pain and How to Manage
(5MinuteSchool)

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