Life with Braces

Boy smilingWhat can you eat? Lots of things, so let's talk about what you shouldn't eat! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you'll be able to eat most of your favorite foods again. But, you'll need to be careful what and how you eat while you're wearing braces.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice, pizza crust
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips, raw vegetables, corn nuts
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum, taffy
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, whole apples, raw carrots

Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces or wires. This can cause treatment to take longer or teeth to move the wrong way.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. If the tenderness is severe, you can take Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, or any pain reliever that you normally take for headache or discomfort.

Rubbing of Braces on Lips and Cheeks

When you first get your braces, they may rub on your lips, tongue or cheeks. Place wax over the rubbing bracket before these spots get raw and painful. The skin will soon toughen up so that you don't need wax. The wax will stick better if the bracket is dry. You may also apply the "Brace Relief" gel in your kit to any areas that are sore to make them feel better.

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don't worry! It's normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new (straight) positions.

Care of Appliances

To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, retainers or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.


If you play contact sports, it's important for you to wear a mouth guard. A mouth guard may not prevent damage, but will minimize any trauma to the mouth. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or broken, phone your dentist for an appointment. If the braces are damaged, phone our office for an appointment. If you feel it is an extreme emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room at the nearest hospital.


It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy during and after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. They may also have permanent damage to the teeth, gums or bone. We may need to discontinue treatment if the care is not adequate to achieve the best result. Adults who have a history of gum disease may also need to see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment, if advised by Dr. Yoshikane or their dentist.

Emergency Care

Many orthodontic emergencies can be taken care of at home. Please view the list below of the most common problems our patients encounter. You may be able to resolve the immediate problem, and have us permanently resolve it at a later time. If you are unable to resolve the problem, please call the office, at 760-942-1132. We reserve time each day for emergency patients. If you have a problem requiring urgent treatment, please call us as early in the day as possible. We can usually get you in that morning. If you call outside of our normal business hours, instructions regarding our paging system will be given. Call our pager and someone will return your call as soon as possible. Please remember to leave your full name and phone number so we can return your call!

Common Orthodontic Emergencies:

  • A broken bracket usually does not need to be repaired immediately, but can often wait for several days or even weeks. Please call the office as soon as possible during normal business hours so we can help you determine how soon you need to come in. Save the brace and bring it with you to your next appointment. Stop any elastics you are wearing until the bracket is repaired.
  • If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back towards the braces to simply get it out of the way. A poking wire can also be cut with fingernail clippers. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Orthodontic wax is always available to our patients in their home care kits and at the office. If you need wax after office hours, most drug stores carry orthodontic wax.
  • If you have a lost or broken retainer, we should replace it as soon as possible so that your teeth do not move.