Brace Yourself! Here's What You Can Expect During Your First Week with Braces

Getting braces can be both exciting and intimidating. You're excited that in a few months or so, you'll have the smile of your dreams. But you're also a bit worried since you don't quite know what to expect once all those brackets and wires are in your mouth. While you can certainly call your dentist or orthodontist if you have any concerns that arise once the braces are on, it's helpful to have some background knowledge going into your experience. Here's a look at what to expect during your first week with braces.

Your cheeks and gums will be sore.

After you've had the braces on for a while, your cheek and gum tissues will toughen up. However, during the first week or so, the braces are going to rub on the soft tissues in your mouth. You can help curb this issue by putting some wax over the specific brackets and wires that you feel rubbing. Your orthodontist should send you home with some of this wax, or you can purchase it at a drugstore. To numb the sore areas, you can apply some Orajel or another topical numbing agent made for teething babies.

You'll have a hard time chewing certain foods.

Throughout the time you wear braces, you'll need to avoid overly crunchy or chewy foods, since they can damage the braces. But during the first week or so, even eating standard fare like sandwiches and salads may be tough as you adapt to the way the braces make you bite and chew. To combat this issue, try cutting things up extra small and taking smaller bites. Rather than biting into items like sandwiches, tear or cut a piece off and then pop it in your mouth.

Brushing your teeth will take longer.

You won't be able to just whisk that brush up and down without a thought any more. Be prepared to spend more time brushing your teeth, since you'll need to carefully brush around each bracket. You really do not want to skimp on tooth brushing, since any food or plaque allowed to sit around your braces can lead to tooth decay. If you have a hard time getting your braces clean, you may want to try a Waterpik. It's a tool that shoots a stream of water at your teeth to free food particles and debris.

After about a week, having braces in your mouth should feel less awkward. You'll adapt to new methods of chewing, eating, and brushing, and most of the soreness should be gone.