Life with Braces (FAQ) | Buttram Orthodontics

Life with


Life with Braces FAQ

If you have questions, we have answers! We believe patient education is key to creating beautiful results in the shortest amount of time.

Check out these common questions about life with braces, and if you still need answers, please reach out to us.

You’ll be relieved to know that getting braces does not hurt. When Dr. Buttram places your braces on, we’re simply bonding brackets to your teeth and attaching the archwires. This won’t cause you any pain. 


The first week you have braces, you may experience some minor soreness as your teeth and gums are adjusting. You can take some Tylenol® or another over-the-counter pain reliever to counteract the soreness. This should subside after the first week or two.

Your treatment time will depend on a few factors, including your overall oral health, the severity of your case, and your diligence in wearing your clear aligners if you choose Invisalign®.


On average, a full treatment can take anywhere from 10 to 18 months, although your case may be shorter or longer.


Once Dr. Buttram completes your complimentary exam, we’ll have an estimate of how long your treatment period will be. The length of your treatment may change, depending on how quickly your teeth are moving and whether you wear your appliances as instructed. 

Yes, your orthodontic treatment won’t stop you from living life on your terms! As long as you wear a mouthguard when playing sports, you won’t have to sit on the sidelines during the season. 


With any type of braces, it’s incredibly important that you wear a mouthguard while playing sports. A mouth guard can protect your teeth from serious damage.

You can still eat at your favorite restaurants in Panama City! You’ll be able to eat tons of delicious snacks, meals and desserts with braces too. 


Knowing what to eat your first week with braces takes some of your own discretion. During the first week of your treatment, as your teeth and gums are adjusting, you may want to choose softer foods, like pasta, tuna, mashed potatoes, or soup. You can integrate harder foods into your diet as soon as you’re feeling up to it.


Here’s a list of foods you can eat with braces:


  • Dairy — cream cheese, pudding, milk
  • Breads — tortillas, pancakes, muffins, 
  • Grains — pasta, rice, cereal
  • Meats — soft chicken, soft meatballs, lunch meats
  • Vegetables — cooked carrots, peas, beans
  • Fruits — bananas, kiwis, strawberries, grapes
  • Treats — ice cream (no nuts), milkshakes, Jell-O, frozen yogurt

As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid foods that are considerably chewy, sticky, crunchy, or hard. These food items are infamous for damaging brackets and wires and breaking orthodontic appliances.


Chewy, sticky foods can stick to your wires and pull them out of place. Hard foods can pop your wires out of place or break a bracket. Next thing you know, you’re visiting us for an emergency orthodontist appointment. As much as we’d love to see you, we want to keep your treatment on track. 


Here are some examples of foods to avoid when wearing braces:


  • Chewy foods — bagels, hard bread rolls, Twizzlers
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, ice, dried fruits, Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos
  • Sticky foods — caramel, gum, Laffy Taffy, Starburst
  • Hard foods — nuts, Jolly Ranchers, hard pizza crusts, Nerds
  • Foods that require biting — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

As weird as this sensation may be, this is normal! Your teeth and gums are adjusting to your braces. The whole point of your treatment is to guide your teeth into alignment, and with this movement comes some minor tooth wiggling.


Toward the end of your treatment, once your teeth have shifted into the desired position and you enter the retention phase, your teeth will stabilize and stop wiggling. 


If any of your teeth are wiggling considerably and it concerns you, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re here to calm your fears and ensure that you’re working toward the best possible results from your treatment.  

This will be determined during your initial exam. Some patients need rubber bands to align their bite, while others don’t. It all depends on your unique case.


Elastics, or rubber bands, are one of the most common appliances used during treatment with braces, and can also be used with clear aligners in some cases. Elastics are hooked around a bracket on the top teeth and a bracket on the bottom teeth, or button/hook on the top aligner and button/hook on the bottom aligner, to exert persistent (but gentle) force. 


Over time, this force aligns the teeth and jaw bones and treats malocclusions (poor bite conditions), like overbites, underbites, cross bites, and open bites.


Orthodontic wax is used in the case of minor orthodontic emergencies. If a wire pops loose, or a bracket is irritating your cheeks, orthodontic wax can be applied to the bracket or poking wire to provide temporary relief until you’re able to visit us.  


To apply orthodontic wax, you’ll wash your hands, then pinch off a small piece of wax. You’ll roll this piece into a ball, then apply it to the DRY wire or bracket. Squeeze the wax into place to make sure it doesn’t fall off, then run your tongue over the wax to feel for any looseness. If there is too much saliva upon placement, the wax will not stay attached well. 


Be sure to give us a call so Dr. Buttram can get your braces fixed at your next appointment.

Experience a stunning new smile

And enjoy the journey along the way.