Getting Braces: What To Expect Before, During & After Process

We can all agree that braces are not fun. They’re not fun to think about, they’re not fun to get places, and it’s not fun when they have to get tightened.

But there are things you can do to make it not as uncomfortable.

The first thing you can do is to know what you’re getting into, which is one topic we’ll cover in this article.

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How To Prepare For Braces?

There are plenty of ways to prepare for braces, emotionally, mentally, and practically. Let’s take a look at what you can do to make this process more doable.

Do Your Research

This is the first step — reading articles like this one and speaking with your orthodontist so you know what to expect. Any questions or concerns you have, don’t be afraid to ask beforehand.

Thinks About The Upsides

Getting braces may not be comfortable, but it has plenty of benefits. You’ll end up with straighter teeth and a more attractive smile, which in turn will give you more confidence and a healthier bite.

Pick Your Style

Think about what type and color (including clear) braces you would like. Your orthodontist will help you with this, but it can really help to have an idea before visiting the office.

Mentally Prepare For Discomfort

The actual process of getting braces placed (which we’ll cover below) doesn’t take long, but you will probably feel some pressure while the orthodontist places the brackets and wiring. In the following days, your teeth and gums will probably be sore.

Live It Up Before Your Appointment

Before you get your braces, don’t forget to enjoy any hard, sticky, chewy, or crunchy foods you love. Because once you get braces, you won’t be able to eat any of those types of foods. So you might as well live it up while you can.

Stock Up On Supplies

Speaking of foods you can and can’t eat, you’ll want to stock up on foods you can eat before you get braces. So this would include soft foods, soups, smoothie ingredients, mashed potatoes, yogurt, and even ice cream.

Before getting braces, you should be knowledgeable about the process, mentally prepare for that process, and plan for a slight change in diet and lifestyle in the following days.

Process Of Getting Braces Step By Step

Now let’s dig into what it will actually look like getting braces.

First, the orthodontist will place a cheek retractor in your mouth. This is the device that makes it look like a huge gust of wind is being shot into your mouth, making your lips and cheeks are flapping in the wind. This helps them clearly see your teeth without the lips getting in the way.

Then they’ll polish your teeth in order to make the brackets stick to your teeth better. After this, they’ll air dry.

Then they’ll put a conditioner on the front of your teeth for 30 seconds and then clean it off. This also allows the brackets to bond better. Next, they’ll put on an adhesive primer to further the strength of the bond.

The next step involves putting cement on the back of the brackets and then placed on your teeth. Once the brackets are on, they’ll remove any extra cement and then hardened the remaining cement using a special light.

At this point, the retractor that makes your mouth look funny is taken out.

It’s possible you may need to get spacers or braces. We all know what braces are, but spacers for braces (aka orthodontic separators) are either rubber bands or metal devices that go between your molars so your teeth don’t get crowded.

Because this process is so involved and inconvenient, many people opt for clear teeth aligners, like those made by Smile Direct or Invisalign. The process usually involves only one visit to a dental professional and some folks find wearing a retainer-like device is more comfortable and convenient than braces.

Using oral cement, adhesive, conditioner, and special tools, orthodontist are able to safely and effectively place braces.

How Long Does It Take To Get Braces?

The whole process — including the preparation for the brackets, allowing the brackets to bond, and adding the wires — can take roughly 30 minutes. Although if it takes much longer than that, there’s no need to worry — every patient and mouth is different. It doesn’t mean something is wrong.

The process of getting braces usually takes about 30 minutes.

Does Getting Braces Hurt?

After getting braces, you’ll feel some discomfort or soreness. This sensitivity continues as you go home and for the next few days. Don’t forget, you’re moving teeth and along with that, a nerve that’s attached to it!

But after those few days, the soreness should dissipate. It will take some getting used to wearing braces. It will feel weird to have brackets rubbing up against the inside of your mouth, but you’ll soon get used it.

After getting braces, you will feel tightness and soreness, but that will go away after a few days.

First Days After Getting Braces – What To Expect?

You do need to be careful, though, to not do anything that would increase your chances of getting knocked in the mouth. This can jam the brackets into your inner mouth and hurt. In some cases a little wax placed on top of the brackets prevents scratching against the cheek.

Also, you should mindful of what you can and can’t eat while wearing braces.

Before you go home, the orthodontist will do an initial adjustment, which is what causes the tightness and soreness. They will either send you home with some Over-The-Counter pain relievers or instruct you to buy some ASAP.

You should also expect regular adjustments. Over time, the elastic ties that are holding the wires in place will become weaker. Without these adjustments, the braces wouldn’t straighten your teeth properly.

When you go to an adjustment appointment, the orthodontist will look at how your teeth are moving and what progress has been made. It will take about three weeks for any movement to happen, so these adjustments will happen every three to 10 weeks.

When the orthodontist adjusts your braces, they’ll take out the elastic ties and the archwires so you can thoroughly brush. Then they’ll check on your teeth’s progress and then place new wires and elastic bands.

And, just like the first time you got your braces, you’ll feel some tightness after an adjustment. This soreness may last for several hours.

Just think about the glorious day when you’ll go to your final appointment. Getting braces off is one of the best feelings.

In the days after getting braces, you’ll just need to be a bit more careful with your mouth, eating softer foods and keeping on top of your oral care.

Getting Braces FAQ

Anyone who is going to get braces most likely has questions, so let’s cover the most common ones.

Can you make your own braces at home without going to a doctor?

Some people do make fake braces that look real, but it’s a very bad idea. Because no professional is involved and you’d be using products that aren’t meant for oral use, you’re putting yourself at risk of injury or permanent damage. If a tooth is moved incorrectly, the nerve can die, the tooth discolors and can create a severe infection.

How old do you have to be to get braces?

Although anyone of any age can get braces to align their teeth, the ideal period of life to get braces is between ages 10 and 14 years. During this age, the head and mouth are still developing and it’s easier to straighten the teeth. An evaluation for your braces can be as early as 7 years old, when your adult teeth start to erupt. At this time an orthodontist can evaluate issues early, such as crowding or spacing. Planning early can save time.

Can you eat before and after braces?

Any time you visit the orthodontist, including the initial visit, you should thoroughly clean your teeth. So, yes, you can eat before each appointment as long as you brush and floss between eating and visiting the office.

And as soon as you leave the office after getting braces placed you can eat, even though the adhesive and cement holding the brackets hasn’t fully set.

What color braces should I get?

This is completely up to you. Your orthodontist should have pretty much any color available, so you can get all the brackets colored the same or each of them different colors.

If you’re interested in getting clear braces, you should speak with your orthodontist before you visit the office to make sure that can be done.

How much does it cost to get braces?

Traditional braces can cost up to $7,500, but you can find more affordable braces by using things like payment plans and dental discount plans.


  • You should be knowledgeable about the process of getting braces, mentally prepare yourself for that process, and expect to have a softer diet and more cautious lifestyle
  • Thanks to oral cement, adhesive, conditioner, and special tools, orthodontists are able to safely and effectively place braces
  • Getting braces usually takes about 30 minutes
  • Having braces will cause some tightness, soreness, and sensitivity, but that should go away after a few days

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