How to help yourself during orthodontic treatment

The success of your treatment depends on your co-operation.

Always keep your appointment - if you miss one, please telephone for another as soon as possible.

Your teeth will be tender for the first 72 hours after your braces are fitted. To overcome this tenderness as quickly as possible, you must use your teeth. Chew evenly and carefully. Chewing sugarless chewing gum (e.g. Extra) will help to relieve the discomfort. Rinsing your mouth out with a very warm salty water solution before and after meals (one teaspoon of salt in a large glass of very warm water) will also reduce the pain. Take a mild painkiller every four hours if the tenderness is severe. This initial soreness will be the worst of it so hang in there!


  • Clean your teeth thoroughly after meals, especially after any meals not at home (e.g. lunch). The braces themselves will not damage the teeth, but the food left around them will cause both tooth decay and swollen gums. Colgate Orthodontic and Travel brushes are initially given to you. Replacements can be purchased from your local pharmacist or from our surgeries.
  • If you have a sore spot, cover the sharp edge with relief wax or cotton wool and contact the surgery if soreness persists.
  • If you break anything, contact the surgery, and bring the pieces in when you come.
  • Complete co-operation in wearing of elastics is absolutely essential. Take them off for cleaning only. Telephone or write to the surgery when supplies are low.


  • Don’t eat sweets (lollies, chocolates etc.), in particular “sticky” ones.
  • Don’t eat large pieces of food - cut into small pieces.
  • Don’t fiddle with your appliances with your tongue or fingers or pens.

Regular visits to your dentist are as important during this treatment as previously.