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Life With Braces

life with braces

At Infinite Orthodontics, we don’t want you to go home empty handed, we want you to know how life with braces will influence your daily routine. We put together some instructions based on what kind of treatment you had with us, and hopefully you can get a few extra tips you might not have already known!


Congratulations on your new retainer! We Bet you thought this day would never come! Here are a few reminders to help you with the care of your new retainer:

  • Wear it at all times (except when eating or brushing). After six months of wearing your retainer 24/7, you may begin wearing your retainer at night time only.
  • When your retainer is not in your mouth, keep it in the retainer case we provided. Animals WILL chew it up.
  • Your speech may be slurred for a few days, this is normal. Your tongue will adapt. You might also have excess saliva at first, but this only lasts a short time.
  • Keep your retainer clean!!! Brush your retainer once a day using an old tooth brush and liquid hand soap. Soak it once a week in denture cleaner.

If you should lose or break your retainer, please call the office right way. We will need to take a new impression in order to make your new retainer. Your treatment fee included ONE set of retainers. There is a charge for replacement retainers.

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Please do not eat for an hour after the appliance has been cemented and eat only soft foods (soup, Pasta, pasta, ice cream, jell-o) the rest of the day. At first, swallowing may be difficult. Take very small bites and chew your food thoroughly. Aspirin or Tylenol may be taken for discomfort. Warm salt water rinsing may also be helpful.

Turning is recommended right before bedtime so that the pressure is felt only during sleep. Turn the screw in the center slot from front to back until the next hole appears. Let the key drop out at the back of the appliance. Never bring the key forward to remove it.

Please work hard to keep your expander clean! Brush thoroughly around the gums and clean between the appliance and the roof of your mouth. We recommend a WaterPik to help you. Please let us know if your expander becomes loose, or if you have any problems with turning it. We’ll be happy to see you to help you out.

Herbst Appliance

The Herbst Appliance is designed to stimulate forward growth of the lower jaw and push the upper jaw back. The upper tubes and lower rods apply pressure to make the appliance work. They are tightened 2-3 times during the treatment. It will take 5-10 days to become totally comfortable with the appliance. Some helpful hints are listed below.


The back teeth will not touch each other for the first 1-2 weeks. It will be difficult to chew some types of food in the beginning, but shortly after, normal eating habits will return. Eating soft foods such as milkshakes, soups, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, and SOFT fruits for the first few days is recommended. Foods like pizza, steak and other chewy foods should be avoided for the first week. (See the next section for some food tips).


Brushing teeth 4 times per day will be mandatory throughout treatment. The herbst appliance cannot be damaged with a normal brushing technique. A soft bristle brush with a child sized head will work best.


The appliances are built to be very strong and breakage rarely occurs. However, nothing that is put in the mouth is totally indestructible. Care should be taken not to chew ice, hard or sticky candy, chewy or crunchy food. DO NOT SLIDE OR ROCK JAW FROM SIDE TO SIDE. This will cause REGULARLY SCHEDULED APPOINTMENT IF THERE IS A PROBLEM! Patient responsibility is important!!


In the unlikely event that anything becomes unhooked and comes out of your mouth, it is very important that you DO NOT THROW IT AWAY. Please call us for an appointment so that we may see you and evaluate the problem. BRING ALL PARTS WITH YOU TO YOUR APPOINTMENT! It may save time and repair charges.

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Foods To Avoid

Our goal is to provide you with a beautiful smile. We can only do that if the braces stay attached to your teeth. We do not want to interfere with nutritional intake, but we do ask you to watch what you eat. The foods below are absolutely o limits for the duration of your orthodontic treatment.

  • Ice
  • Pizza Crust
  • Pretzels
  • “Itos” family of chips (Fritos, Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos)
  • Sticky, gooey candy (Caramel, gum, starbursts, etc)
  • Hard candy (peppermints, jolly ranchers, jaw breakers, etc)
  • Beef Jerky or Slim jims
  • Bagels, Hard rolls/bread, meat on a bone
  • Nuts and Popcorn
  • Corn on the cob (cut it off the cob)
  • Raw carrots and whole apples
  • Pens, pencils, bottle caps, etc. (If it doesn’t belong in your mouth, don’t put it there!!)

Foods To Enjoy

  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, sliced fruit, most berries (but watch out for seeds)
  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, cake

Now that you understand how life with braces can have an effect on your daily life, we’ll like to see you visit our office to get more tips on taking care of your oral health.