Dos and Don’ts for your First Week of Orthodontic Treatment (and Beyond)

When you leave our office after beginning orthodontic treatment, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a beautiful new smile you’ll appreciate for life! However, wearing braces or clear aligners will require some adjustment – especially during the first week. Read on for a few tips!


  • Eat soft foods. Tender teeth will have an easier time biting down on cooked noodles, mashed potatoes, pudding, yogurt and soups for the first week. After that, you should be able to resume eating normal foods EXCEPT the items on our “Don’t” list!
  • Start brushing after every meal. This will require taking a toothbrush to school or work, but it’s very important to keep food and bacteria from settling into your brackets. If you wear aligners, brushing your teeth before putting them back in will help keep your trays clean.
  • Take Ibuprofen to ease soreness or discomfort. In the first few days as your teeth begin to move, some soreness is normal. This will go away towards the end of the first week but until then, it’s okay to take Advil or Motrin as directed.
  • Keep wax with you at all times if you have braces. Dental wax can help form a smooth barrier as your cheeks become accustomed to the feel of the braces. We will give you wax and show you how to use it – just make sure to take it to school or work in case you need it!
  • Swish with salt water. If you do have irritated spots in your mouth, add half a teaspoon of table salt to one cup of warm water and swish for 30 seconds. It will help sore areas to heal faster.
  • Call us right away if you have a broken bracket or lose an aligner. When your orthodontic appliance isn’t able to work properly, your teeth won’t be able to move as they should. The sooner we can fix the problem, the sooner we can get your treatment back on track.


  • Eat sticky candy. While wearing braces, you’ll need to temporarily say goodbye to gum, Skittles, Starburst and caramels, all of which can potentially pull off wires and brackets.
  • Bite into whole fruits and vegetables. We want you to keep eating these healthy foods, but wearing braces will require you to cut up apples and pears and to cut corn off the cob.
  • Chew on ice, nuts, corn chips, popcorn and other hard items. These are all potential hazards for broken brackets.
  • Drink soda and other sugary beverages. Whether you’re wearing braces or aligners, extra sugar on your teeth means an increased chance of cavities and decay.
  • Remove aligners for anything other than eating, brushing and flossing. Aligners need to be in your mouth at least 22 hours per day in order to work their magic.
  • Forget to smile. Start practicing now so you’ll be ready to show off your beautiful new set of teeth!


Bankhead Orthodontists Are Here from the Beginning of Treatment Until the End

From the day you first enter our office, our Experts in the Art of Orthodontics will be happy to answer any questions you have about life with braces or aligners. Our number one priority is for your treatment to be successful, leaving you with straight, beautiful teeth for a lifetime, so just call us and we’ll provide any answers you need!


If you or your child needs orthodontic treatment, work with the experts at Bankhead Orthodontic Specialists. Serving the St. Louis, MO, Metro area as well as southeastern Illinois via six convenient locations, these trained specialists offer traditional, lingual and clear braces as well as Invisalign® to provide patients with highly customized solutions. Call (636) 978-8848 today to schedule a consultation, and visit the website for more information.

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