What to Expect When You Get Braces (Besides a Beautiful Smile)

Orthodontic care is a fun and exciting adventure that has an awesome reward at the end – your new SMILE!  However, some people feel a little nervous because of the unknowns and because they are not 100% sure of the process.  In an effort to take the stress out of this new and exciting situation, allow us to walk you through what you can expect when you get braces.

What to Expect During Your First Orthodontist Visit

Your first visit will be information gathering in the form of a smile evaluation, X-rays and digital models.  We will discuss your concerns and, if orthodontic care is indicated, we will review your various options in order to correct those concerns.  The next step will be placing the actual braces using a light-sensitive adhesive. This will usually take about 30-60 minutes. This procedure is very technique sensitive and placement of the braces needs to be very precise to ensure you have the best outcome.  The precision placement of your brackets will determine the final position and design of your smile.

Below is a video link and a description of how we place your braces:

  • Begin by thoroughly cleaning the outside surfaces of the teeth.  This allows the teeth to act more like Velcro instead of glass when bonding the braces.
  • The teeth are dried and the glue (adhesive) is placed on the bracket before it is positioned on your tooth.  A bright blue light is used to set the adhesive and turn it from a paste to a solid material.
  • Lastly, we place a protective coating on your teeth before it is time to place your wire on.

This process should not cause any pain, however, a small number of people experience mild sensitivity during the drying process.  Many of the materials that are used to have a bitter flavor (similar to biting into a citrus peel) but are safe to use in the mouth.  We take great care to prevent you from tasting the materials so hopefully, you will not have to experience this firsthand.


Bringing a pair of headphones is a good idea if noises at the dental office bother you!

Take some Ibuprofen or Tylenol before you come to your appointment.  Most people will experience a little soreness and the medicine works better by taking it beforehand!

The last step of your orthodontic visit is the placement of the wires and ties. You will be able to select the color of the ties that you would like and you will be able to change these colors at each visit.

What to Expect After Your Braces Have Been Put On

Wearing braces will be a completely new experience for you. Everything from how you talk and eat to how you brush and floss will be different when you have braces.  There is usually a 3-4 day adjustment period for most people to begin to feel comfortable, but they are usually back to 100% within 2 weeks!

To help you fully prepare for what it is like when you have braces, here is a look at a few things you can expect to occur in the months after your first orthodontic appointment:

  • Wearing braces is a time commitment and most treatments are 12-24 months.  Keep in mind that clean teeth move better than dirty teeth and that a broken bracket will add about 4-6 weeks to your orthodontic care.
  • You will have adjustment appointments every 5-10 weeks. This range depends on the movements that we have prescribed and how long it will take to accomplish them.
  • The first 7-14 days you may experience some soreness or raw areas.  Eat softer foods, take some medicine and use WAX. These strategies will help a ton. Remember: you don’t get extra credit for being the tough guy and your experience will be so much better if you address symptoms early!
  • You will have to work harder to keep your teeth clean, but it is more important now than ever!  Your teeth are at a higher risk of getting cavities if you don’t keep them clean during orthodontic care.  In the beginning, be prepared to spend 4-6 minutes each time you brush to fully clean your teeth. We will monitor your cleaning at each appointment and are here to help give tips if you are experiencing a problem area.
  • We will ask that you limit some foods from your diet during your orthodontic care. Hard foods will increase the chance of breaking a bracket, and sticky foods will likely untwist or untie a wire that will cause an uncomfortable pokey wire. Try not to drink sugary drinks unless it is during a meal time.
  • Braces are not permanent and are designed to come off safely once your new smile is perfect!  We work very hard to minimize any chance that a bracket comes off, but it is not uncommon to have 1 or 2 come loose during your entire treatment. If this does occur, call or text our office and we will replace the bracket.  Care does need to be taken to ensure it doesn’t happen regularly as this will greatly increase your time in braces!
  • You will begin to see great improvements very quickly.  Aligning your teeth is the first stage of your orthodontic care and can be the most exciting!  Go ahead and get ready to step up your selfie game!

Are you interested in a better and more confident smile? Contact our office (Strickland Orthodontics) to schedule complimentary Smile Evaluation. We would be honored to be able to explore orthodontic treatment options with you.