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 you braces is one of the most important things you can do to make your orthodontic treatment at Insoft & Hurst Orthodontics a success.

The best way to protect the braces is to avoid hard, sticky foods, keep them clean, and wear a mouthguard if you play contact sports. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll spend less time visiting our Seminole and St. Petersburg orthodontic offices, and more time doing all the things that make you smile.

Here are some tips and tricks for living with braces:


There are also specific foods that you should avoid when you have braces or orthodontic appliances. Chewing on pens and pencils, nuts, power bars, jerky, gum, popcorn, hard or sticky candies, bagels, and chewy breads are some of the things that are particularly hard on braces. Anything extremely hard like ice or very chewy like taffy should be avoided.

There are still lots of food you can eat, and even a few that are hard and crunchy. 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.


Brush and floss just as you usually would, frequently and thoroughly, but pay special attention to above and around your braces. Special brushes will be given to you, and a member of our team will show you how to “thread” the floss under the wires of the braces and angle the toothbrush to get into hard-to-reach areas.


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.

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.