Two girls, one with braces, smiling and sharing a pair of headphones.

Life with braces

With any treatment, it’s natural to feel curious – or even worried – about how things will change. The good news: there’s probably less to worry about than you think.

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Will it hurt? Will I talk funny? Will I need to change my daily routine? Put your mind at ease so you can get back to living life to the fullest.

What do braces feel like?

No matter what kind of braces you choose, it will feel a little strange to have brackets and wires in your mouth. But only at first. Most people get used to them within a couple weeks. Here are a few tips to help you through:

  • An icon of a face with bumps on the cheeks.
    Will I be able to feel my braces?

    As you get used to your braces, your mouth may feel sensitive and your brackets might make your teeth feel larger. If your brackets are rubbing against your cheeks, lips or tongue, your orthodontist will give you soft wax to apply. If a wire is poking you, call your orthodontist – they may need to adjust it or cut it shorter.

  • An icon of an ice cream sundae.
    Do braces hurt?

    Almost everyone experiences some tenderness when their teeth move, especially 1-2 days after adjustments. Eat soft foods and ask your orthodontist about how best to relieve any discomfort. If you need a morale boost, start picturing the end result: a beautifully straight and healthy smile!

  • An icon of a tooth with arrows pointing to the left and right.
    Are my teeth supposed to feel loose?

    During your treatment, you may feel your teeth loosen a little. Don't worry! This is on purpose. The tissue and bone structure will grow to support your teeth in their new positions, so they will stay straight once your braces are taken off.

  • An icon of a speech bubble with a smiling face inside.
    Do braces make you talk funny?

    When you first get your braces, you may feel that your voice sounds funny or that you’re speaking with a lisp. This can be exaggerated if you have lingual — or “behind-the-teeth” – braces. Try slowing down your speech until you get used to your new braces. The more you practice, the sooner you’ll get comfortable.

FAQ: do I need to change my lifestyle with braces?

It’s natural to feel uncertain – or even anxious – about how your braces will impact your habits. You might be surprised to learn how little things will change.

  • An icon of a burger and drink.
    Food and drink: what can I eat with braces?

    You can still eat many of your favourite foods, but you’ll want to be careful. Certain foods can damage your bracket or wire. Choose softer foods that you can cut or tear, and avoid sticky, hard or crunchy foods like bubble gum and hard candy. Your teeth may also be tender right after your orthodontist appointments. Stock up on soup, pasta or other soft foods that don’t require much chewing.

  • An icon of a soccerball, baseball bat, and baseball.
    Sports: can I still play if I have braces?

    You can absolutely stay active, exercise and play sports while wearing braces. Depending on the sport, it may be a good idea to wear a protective device – like a mouthguard or lip protector — so your braces don’t cut the inside of your mouth. Ask your orthodontist what they recommend.

  • An icon of a trumpet.
    Music: will braces prevent me from playing trumpet or trombone?

    If you play a wind or brass instrument, you can keep playing! Your orthodontist may recommend a special mouthguard or lip protector to protect the inside of your mouth. If so, you can usually order this through their office.

Pro tip: especially with invisible or ceramic braces, make sure you brush and floss regularly to avoid staining!
  • An icon of a desk.
    Work: will people still take me seriously if I have braces?

    Braces aren’t just for kids. If you’re feeling self-conscious that your braces might make you look less professional, ask you orthodontist about ceramic braces to help make them less noticeable. Ultimately, this is a personal style choice. Embrace your investment in your oral health!

  • An icon of a camera.
    Photos: will my braces look weird in pictures?

    Don’t let your braces hold you back from smiling. If you don’t like the way your braces look, you can ask your orthodontist about ceramic braces that blend in to your teeth. Otherwise, embrace them! Choose elastic colours that reflect your fashion sense and personality. Just make sure to brush and floss regularly so you’re always camera-ready.

Always ask your orthodontist for the best recommendations on living with your braces.

How do I take care of my braces?

Good oral hygiene is extremely important when you’re wearing braces. Think of it this way: you are investing both time and money in a beautiful new smile. It’s worth the extra effort to take care of it properly.

  • Six toothbrushes in a glass.
    Brush your teeth regularly

    Brushing with braces isn’t hard – but you will need different tools and to do it more often. Use a “tree brush” to check behind your archwire for any remaining food. An electric toothbrush can make it easy to remove plaque in tiny, hard-to-reach spots. Make sure to ask your orthodontist for a recommendation and follow their instructions precisely.

  • A patient holding dental floss between her hands and an orthodontist's gloved hand pointing to the middle.
    Floss your braces

    Your orthodontist will show you how to floss with braces. It may take a little longer than normal, but it’s easy enough once you have the hang of it. In addition to regular floss, you might also like to use a water flosser to make sure you’ve removed any food from in between teeth and around brackets. Again, make sure you follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

  • A man wearing headphones, smiling at his smartphone.

    What happens after my braces are removed?

    For the first few days after your braces come off, your teeth may feel sensitive as they get used to standing on their own. This feeling won’t last long.

    As they settle in, you want to make sure your teeth stay in the correct place. Almost everyone needs a retainer to help your smile keep its shape. If you do, make sure to wear your retainer as instructed.

    As always, it’s very important to keep brushing and flossing regularly. Ask your orthodontist about any other instructions you should follow after your treatment.

A smiling girl with braces, leaning against a wall.

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