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Braces Information

Click here to view a labeled diagram of braces components.

Braces Instructions

Candy and foods that are sticky and chewy, or hard and crunchy, create the biggest problems for kids and adults wearing braces or retainers.

Therefore, in general:

  • Nothing hard
  • Nothing sticky
  • No big mouthfuls
  • No biting into anything hard

Specific Foods to Avoid

  • Taffy
  • Hard candy
  • Sticky candy, such as caramels, Sugar Daddies™, Starbursts™, carameled apples, Sugar Babies™, licorice, toffee, Tootsie Rolls™, Now & Laters™
  • Popcorn
  • Peanuts
  • Ice
  • Taco chips
  • Whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first)
  • Hard French bread crust and rolls
  • Spareribs
  • Corn-on-the-cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating)
  • Bagels
  • Pizza crusts
  • Carrots (uncooked)
  • Doritos™
  • Pretzels
  • Plain chocolate candy is all right, as long as you brush afterwards.

Remember: Crunchy, chewy, sticky, gooey foods can damage your braces and lengthen treatment time. AND, your help and cooperation in following your doctor’s instructions about what to eat and how to keep your braces in good shape lead to great results!

What to Do If There is an Emergency:

We are always available to accommodate to any orthodontic emergency, should one ever occur. Our emergency number can be accessed on our after hours message by calling our main office number, (517) 263-1563 after business hours, and on weekends, so please be assured we are on call 7 days a week.

Any severe or unusual pain, accidents, or trauma to the teeth or braces are considered orthodontic emergencies so please do not hesitate to call us if any of these occur.

Other less severe situations may be alleviated at home until they are seen the next business day, but if you have any doubts, please do not hesitate to call. Some of these may be a loose band or bracket, a poking wire, or a missing elastic or metal tie.

Emergencies can be taken care of at home temporarily. Here are some examples of what you can do:

Poking Wire

If your cheeks, tongue or lips are sore from a sharp piece of your braces, place a small amount of soft dental wax that was given to you at your bracketing appointment and call us the next day. If you don’t have wax, a little piece of wet cotton will also help until we can see you.

Poking WireWire with wax
If the wax does not stay, you may try to push the poking wire with the end of a pencil eraser to tuck it behind the main arch wire and make it more comfortable for your lips and cheeks.

Only do this for the softer, thinner wires that can be bent around; some thicker wires will not allow you to push them or bend them around.
Using an eraser to manipulate a wire

Loose Band or Bracket

If anything feels loose or broken, keep any parts that detach from your braces and carefully put them in a zip-lock bag. Call us during business hours and bring your broken pieces to the repair appointment.

Missing Elastic or Metal Tie

If you notice any of your braces are missing the ties that hold the wire in place, if the wire is loose or anything feels different, please call us during business hours for an appointment.


After the placement of your braces, or after a wire adjustment, you may experience mild to moderate discomfort while chewing and biting. This discomfort will disappear in two to four days. Any over the counter pain medication that you take for a headache will help. If pain is severe or does not disappear with your usual analgesics, please call immediately for an emergency appointment.

Lost Retainers

If you lose your retainers, please call us the next business day for an appointment to make you some new ones.