Life With Braces

Now that you have braces, you can look forward to a lifetime of beautiful smiles and teeth, improved self-esteem, and better oral health. Taking proper care of your braces is one of the most important things you can do to make your orthodontic treatment a success while you transition into your new life with braces!

Dr. Insoft, Dr. Hurst and our orthodontic team will tell you everything you need to know about your new life with braces! In the meantime, take a look at these braces FAQs. We encourage you to reference these at any time before, during or after your treatment!

If you have any unanswered questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at our St. Petersburg or Seminole location.

We think you’ll be relieved to know that braces don’t hurt! When we place your braces on, we are simply bonding brackets to your teeth, and attaching your archwires to your brackets. This won’t cause you any pain.

Generally, anywhere from four to eight hours after the initial placement of braces, the teeth will become somewhat tender. We like to compare the tenderness to sore muscle pain. The tenderness generally lasts anywhere from one to four days depending on your case’s severity and your pain tolerance. Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen) is all you’ll need for discomfort. Wax can be used when areas of tissue tenderness occur. We find that the majority of our patients become accustomed to their braces after a week or two.

Occasionally a bracket will come loose from the tooth. If this happens, contact our Seminole or St. Petersburg office and let us know which bracket came off. We will either ask you to come in to re-bond immediately or wait until your next visit, depending on where the bracket is located. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.

This will depend on a few factors: your orthodontic condition, the severity of your condition, and your diligence in wearing your appliances (like rubber bands).

On average, treatment with traditional braces and ceramic braces can take anywhere from 12 to 34 months. Treatment with Damon Clear braces can average around 8 to 28 months.

Once we complete your complimentary exam, we’ll have an estimate of how long your treatment period will be. The length of your treatment may change, depending on how quickly your teeth are shifting and whether you wear your appliances as instructed.

Yes, your orthodontic treatment won’t stop you from living your life the way you want to! No matter which type of braces you choose, it’s incredibly important that you wear a mouthguard while playing sports. If you play a contact sport, we recommend wearing a mouthguard to avoid injuring your mouth or damaging your braces. There are several types of mouthguards available, and a member of our team can recommend the right type for you.

Depending on your preferences, Invisalign® may be better suited for you if you’re a sports player, but you can still play sports no matter which type of braces you choose!

You can eat tons of delicious meals with braces! During the first week of your treatment, as your teeth and gums are adjusting, you may want to choose softer foods, like pasta. Knowing what to eat your first week with braces takes some of your own discretion. You can integrate harder foods into your diet as soon as you’re feeling up to it! You can eat apples and carrots as long as they’re cut up into small pieces. Even corn on the cob is ok if the kernels are cut off the cob.

Here’s a list of foods you can eat with braces:

Dairy — cream cheese, pudding, milk
Breads — tortillas, pancakes, muffins,
Grains — pasta, rice, cereal
Meats — soft chicken, soft meatballs, lunch meats
Vegetables — cooked carrots, peas, beans
Fruits — bananas, kiwis, strawberries, grapes
Treats — ice cream (no nuts), milkshakes, Jell-O, frozen yogurt

If you prefer a treatment option that doesn’t require any dietary restrictions, Invisalign might be better suited for you! You can remove your Invisalign aligners to eat, so you won’t have to make any adjustments to your diet.

As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid foods that are considerably chewy, sticky, or hard. These food items are infamous for damaging brackets and wires and breaking orthodontic appliances.

Chewy, sticky foods can stick to your wires and pull them out of place. Hard foods can pop your wires out of place or break a bracket. Next thing you know, you’re visiting us for an emergency orthodontist appointment! As much as we’d love to see you, we want to keep your treatment on track.

Here are some examples of foods to avoid when wearing braces:

  • Chewy foods — bagels, hard bread rolls, Twizzlers
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, ice, dried fruits
  • Sticky foods — caramel, gum, Laffy Taffy, Starburst
  • Hard foods — nuts, Jolly Ranchers, hard pizza crusts, Nerds
  • Foods that require biting — corn on the cob, apples, carrots


If you prefer a treatment option that doesn’t require any dietary restrictions, Invisalign might be better suited for you! You can remove your Invisalign aligners to eat, so you won’t have to make any adjustments to your diet.

As weird as this sensation may be, this is normal! Your teeth and gums are adjusting to your braces. The whole point of your treatment is to shift your teeth into alignment, and with this shifting comes some minor tooth wiggling.

Toward the end of your treatment, once your teeth have shifted into the desired position and you enter the retention phase, your teeth will stabilize and stop wiggling.

If any of your teeth are wiggling considerably and it concerns you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We want to calm your fears and ensure that you’re working toward the best possible results from your treatment.

Brushing and flossing around brackets and wires can be difficult if you aren’t sure how to get started. When you get your braces on, we’ll show you how to properly brush and floss your teeth!

Maintaining your oral hygiene is especially important during your orthodontic treatment. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria can grow between your teeth and around your brackets and archwires.

Here’s how to properly brush your teeth with braces:

  • Brush the outside and inside of your teeth, as well as the chewing surface and gumline.
  • Brush in small circles to reach between your archwires and around the corners of your brackets.
  • Make sure you’re brushing thoroughly, but gently enough to avoid damaging your braces.

When flossing between your teeth, we recommend using a specialized flossing threader that allows you to insert the floss thread between your teeth and braces. Specialized flossing threaders have a solid end that makes it easier to push the floss through the archwires.

If you choose Invisalign, you won’t have to work around any brackets or wires when brushing your teeth! You can remove your aligners to brush and floss.

We won’t know whether you require rubber bands until you visit us for your complimentary consultation. Some patients need rubber bands to align their bite, while other patients don’t. It all depends on your unique case!

Elastics, or rubber bands, are one of the most common appliances used during treatment with braces. Elastics are hooked around a bracket on the top teeth and a bracket on the bottom teeth to exert persistent (but gentle) force. Over time, this force aligns the teeth and jaw bones and treats malocclusions (poor bite conditions), like overbites, underbites, cross bites, and open bites.

Where you hook your elastics and how often you wear them will depend on your condition and your custom treatment plan.

Orthodontic wax is used in the case of minor orthodontic emergencies. If a wire pops loose, or a bracket is irritating your cheeks, orthodontic wax can be applied to the bracket or poking wire to provide temporary relief until you’re able to visit us.

To apply orthodontic wax, you’ll wash your hands, then pinch off a small piece of wax. You’ll roll this piece into a ball, then apply it to the DRY wire or bracket. Squeeze the wax into place to make sure it doesn’t fall off, then run your tongue over the wax to feel for any looseness. If there is too much saliva upon placement, the wax will not stay attached well. Be sure to give us a call so we can get it fixed at your next appointment!

We’re here to answer your questions, and we want you to know your options! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time. We want what’s best for you and your child’s smile, and we believe patient education is essential for helping you achieve the greatest results.

Dr. Insoft, Dr. Hurst and our experienced team are here to help guide you throughout your treatment process, from your first visit to your last visit.

Ready to begin your smile transformation process? Let’s get started with your complimentary exam at one of our convenient Seminole or St. Petersburg locations!