Instructions After Treatment Begins

Now that your orthodontic treatment has started...

It is normal:

  • for the tongue, inside of cheeks and lips, and teeth to feel tender.
  • for speech to be temporarily difficult.
  • for canker sores to appear.
  • to temporarily experience increased saliva flow.

It is not normal:

  • for eating to stop completely.
  • to be up nights with severe pain.
  • to miss work or school due to extreme discomfort.

If these conditions persist or if anything unusual occurs, please contact our office immediately at 612-332-0130.

Suggested Solutions:

  • Soft diet for a few days. Try pudding, Jell-O, soup, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, apple sauce, oatmeal, macaroni and cheese, or mashed potatoes.
  • Acetominophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) as needed. For more severe discomfort, Dr. Ziman will prescribe stronger medications.
  • Wax or cotton rolls as needed to cover protruding parts of braces or appliances, especially when sleeping.
  • Rinse with warm salt water or 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water (use mouthwash for flavoring) to help heal canker sores and sore gums. Peroxyl can also be purchased over the counter at most stores if you prefer.

Dietary Reminders:

  • Anything that tastes good--including food and beverages--probably has sugar (sucrose, fructose, lactose, galactose, etc.) It takes 20 minutes for cavity formation to begin after any kind of sugar exposure. Brush after all meals and snacks within 20 minutes and avoid between meal snacks. All junk food (including candy, soda, and gum) should be sugarless or diet. Many nutritional foods contain sugar such as fruit, fruit juices, milk, or ice cream. Teeth don't care where the sugar comes from.
  • Hard, crunchy foods snap braces off of the teeth resulting in slowed treatment progress, the need for extra repair appointments, and risk of ingesting a foreign object. For example, chips, nuts, popcorn, granola, sunflower seeds, Jolly Ranchers, suckers, and chewing ice should be eaten carefully and in small portions, or not at all. Broken braces resulting from inadequate diet control are primarily responsible for increased treatment length.
  • Foods into which teeth are submerged to get a bite can pull several braces off at once. Foods such as apples, bagels, submarine sandwiches, pizza, and carrots should be cut or torn into pieces before eating. Slower eating is also helpful. Most foods can be eaten but you must be careful and more selective.
  • Remember: Cavities, gum disease, and broken braces are all preventable with your help!

Hygiene Reminders:

  • Brush after all meals or snacks within 20 school, home, or work. If brushing cannot be done, rinse with water several times. Toothpaste is helpful, but not essential.
  • Floss nightly, using threaders where needed to provide access under the wires.
  • Swish nightly for one minute before bedtime with the flouride rinse provided or purchase commercial variety (ACT or Fluoriguard) to suit your taste. Do not eat or drink anything more for 2-3 hours after use.


  • We recommend remoldable mouthguards for any sport where one could suffer a blow to the mouth. Wear a mouthguard while playing football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, hockey, baseball, basketball, wrestling, or volleyball!