What to expect when getting braces.

Everything you need to know from the day your braces get put on to managing the changes you'll experience over the course of your treatment.

Getting your braces put on

Don’t panic! Getting braces is nothing like what it was years ago. Modern braces are more comfortable, more flexible and lower profile (sometimes even invisible) — so set aside your worries. 

It’s common to be nervous about getting your braces put on though, especially if you’re unsure of how it happens — or what you’re meant to do afterwards. This guide will help answer some of your questions and provide a few tips to help make your treatment as easy (and quick!) as possible.

In this guide, we refer to the actual application of your braces as 'band up day'. Band up is a little different depending on what type of braces you are getting, but whichever treatment you choose the application process itself is completely painless — so there’s nothing to fear.

people laughing on beach


Before you get your braces, make sure you've had a checkup with your dentist to address any issues such as cavities that will require attention prior to commencing your treatment.

What happens on the day

Metal braces

A good set of Digital X-rays helps us plan your course of treatment over the coming months.

A couple of short appointments will be necessary and then your braces will be fitted During band up, your orthodontist will prepare your teeth by cleaning and drying them thoroughly so that your braces will bond to them. Next, bonding glue will be painted onto your teeth (this tastes a bit funny but it's entirely safe for your mouth), which adheres the brackets onto the surface of each tooth.

Wires and bands (the components which actually shift your teeth into a new position) are then attached to the brackets.

Invisalign braces

With Invisalign, your orthodontist will create a digital 3-D image of your teeth. This helps to predict how your teeth will realign and how long your overall treatment will take.

A series of custom-made, removable aligners will be made for you in the U.S.A. and, once they arrive, it’s simply a matter of showing you how to fit them over your teeth and take them off. You’ll go home with a few sets of aligners, which are switched over every fortnight as your teeth gradually shift into the correct position.

You will see your orthodontist every six weeks to be supplied with more aligners and yo have your dental progress checked. 

Your first week with braces

Things will feel weird at first — and it may take several weeks before you get used to the feeling of wearing braces on your teeth. They might be sore or feel like they're protruding from your mouth, but remember that this is only a temporary feeling.

You can eat and drink as soon as you get your braces, but in those first few days, it's a good idea to stick to soft foods which will cause minimal irritation to your teeth and gums. Once the initial discomfort has eased, you can return to a more normal diet — so long as you steer clear of foods that may damage your braces.

Our Clinical Team will supply you with information in order to ensure you feel secure and prepared. 

It’s normal to feel some discomfort the first time you get braces put on, and when you get them tightened. That’s because your teeth are shifting into a new position as they realign, which causes a sensation of pressure in your mouth. This feeling disappears within a few days.

In the meantime, you can use over the counter pain medication such as Panadol or Nurofen to alleviate any soreness.

Some people develop sores in their mouth following band up, as they get used to the wires and brackets which can rub against your cheeks, lips and tongue. It’s important that you avoid chewing or biting any sores which may develop, as this will cause them to worsen. Instead, apply the orthodontic wax we provide you with to any problem areas, to cover the angle of the wires. 

girl with braces and glasses

Your take-home toolkit 

When you leave the clinic after banding up, you’ll be provided with a gift bag which includes all the tools you need to take care of your braces at home. This includes a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, orthodontic wax and extra bands. Our Clinical Team will show you how to use these items before you go home.

Want to prepare for the days after getting your braces?

Check out our daily braces checklist to make sure you’re staying on track.

Download the checklist

adult braces


Food and drinks with high acid content (like orange juice or tomatoes) can sting your mouth and irritate sores further, so avoid these if your mouth is particularly sensitive in the first week.

What to eat while you have braces

After the initial setting in period, you can return to a more normal diet, with just a few modifications. Eating the wrong types of food can cause discomfort and irritation to your teeth and potential damage to your braces (such as broken brackets or wires).

So remember: if you're feeling tempted to eat something on the 'no-go' list, it could lead to an uncomfortable session in the clinic as we remove that chewy toffee from your braces! Plus, if anything breaks it could mean having to wear your braces for even longer.

If you’re wearing Invisalign braces, food won’t be an issue because you can take out your braces to eat.

But if you’ve got traditional metal or lingual braces, be sure to:

  • avoid crunchy foods like crisps and popcorn, which can dislodge the wires and brackets of your braces;
  • avoid sugary and high acid foods and drinks, which can erode your tooth enamel and cause decay;
  • no chewy lollies - try soft chocolate like Flakes;
  • Steak and chops can be eaten but cut into smaller pieces. You must not eat meat off the bone.
  • Cut apples off the core, corn off the cob and grate your carrots.
  • No crunching on ice.
adult braces and eating

Be sure to eat slowly, using your back teeth to chew as much as possible, and your tongue to mash the food against the roof of your mouth instead of relying on the front teeth.


Use a straw to drink beverages that could damage or stain your teeth — such as those with high sugar content, carbonated drinks and coffee. If you can’t avoid them, you might as well send them straight down into your belly and save your teeth from sugar overload!

Cleaning your braces

Anyone can suffer from common dental problems such as plaque, gingivitis and demineralisation at any stage of their life. But when you have braces, you're more susceptible to these issues — which means you'll have to be more diligent about brushing your teeth than usual. So instead of twice a day, it's recommended you brush after every meal with a soft-bristled toothbrush, to avoid particles of food becoming trapped in your mouth.

Remnants of food, sugar or acidity (such as citrus) facilitate the process of plaque buildup and tooth decay. For people who have braces, cleaning these particles away is particularly important so that they don’t stick around and cause problems like cavities.

If you have Invisalign, you'll be able to remove your aligners when cleaning your teeth — which will make brushing and flossing a lot easier. However, don't forget to clean your aligners thoroughly as well, just as you would your teeth.

brushing teeth in mirror

Use floss or an interdental toothbrush to access those tricky spots between your teeth and your braces. Interdental toothbrushes, unlike floss, will give you a bit more control because they’re made of a stiff wire — much like a toothpick with a fine bristle on the end. This allows more precise cleaning in hard to reach areas. They are especially useful for dislodging bits of food that may get stuck while eating.

Rinsing your mouth with water (or a saltwater solution) after meals will also help to keep your teeth and braces clean, and neutralise the residual acids that linger after meals.

Lifestyle changes with braces

Apart from the additional cleaning effort required and some temporary dietary changes, having braces won't create any major disruptions to your life. However, in order to ensure your treatment time goes as smoothly and quickly as possible, here's a few extra tips on how to make braces work for your lifestyle.


If you play a musical instrument such as the flute, clarinet or trumpet (any instrument that involves mouth control), you'll still be able to do so while wearing braces. Just bear in mind that it could take a little time to readjust, and could make your mouth feel sore if you do so in those first few days after getting braces put on or an appointment to tighten them.


Your orthodontist suggests the use of mouthguards while playing sport. They slip over your braces to protect them from potential damage during high impact sports. Over the counter mouthguards from your Chemist are specifically designed to stop braces from breaking after bumps or scuffs on the field and provide satisfactory protection during the period when your teeth are moving into their new position. 

Don't forget that with Invisalign braces, you can take your aligners off for short periods when necessary (for instance, while playing sport or eating). 

Follow up appointments

With metal braces, you'll need to attend regular follow-up appointments in order to adjust and tighten your braces. This allows us to keep your teeth moving into the correct position. It's also an opportunity to check the progress of your treatment.

These appointments happen every 4-6 weeks and only take 5-10 minutes. In the grander scheme of things, these sessions only take a tiny part out of your day — and skipping them will only mean your treatment time drags out longer!

With Invisalign, you’ll need to come in periodically so that we can review the progress of your teeth as they realign. While this might seem like a hassle, keep in mind that Invisalign appointments only take a few minutes — so you'll be out the door and on with your day with little fuss.

booking appointments

What happens if my braces get damaged?

Every now and then the wires or brackets attached to your braces may break. This is most commonly caused by eating the wrong foods, impact from playing sport, or habits such as nail biting or pencil chewing.

If something goes wrong, call our office as soon as you can to come in and have your braces fixed. Don’t stress if it happens at a time when the clinic is shut — just cover any protruding wires or sharp edges with your orthodontic wax in the meantime, so that it doesn’t poke at your mouth and create discomfort.

adult braces


 In an emergency, a piece of sugar free gum can be moulded around a broken wire to protect your mouth in place of orthodontic wax.

Contact us on 9713 9000 if you require urgent repairs.

Getting into the right mindset

We all know that the idea of getting braces can seem very off-putting. But there's a reason why thousands of people all around the world continue to get them; braces mean a little investment, for a very big payoff.

Wouldn't you prefer to spend your life sporting a winning smile, rather than simply wishing you had one? This is your opportunity to stop dreaming about it and make it happen.

Your teeth are with you for life — so once you achieve a gorgeous smile, you’ll have it forever. Not only that, you’ll get to enjoy all the other benefits that beaming confidence and beauty will bring you! So getting braces is the time to get excited...because it means something great is about to happen.


Interested in braces?

Book a consultation with Dr Pistolese to find out which treatment is right for you.

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