Daily Life and Orthodontic Appliances

How will Braces, Expanders, Retainers, and Invisalign Affect my Life?

As you can imagine, with braces, expanders, retainers, or any other orthodontic appliance, there’s an adjustment period. And, you may have to do a few things in your life differently as you adjust.

I’ll discuss what to expect, changes you may experience, and how you can minimize any unwanted distractions or deviations from your daily life.


Beecroft Orthodontics, braces

Here’s what you can expect:

  • A general soreness for about a week after the initial appointment and two to three days after the adjustment appointments.
  • Soreness in the teeth as well as lips and cheeks (from rubbing against the braces).
  • Food will get stuck in the braces. Be more diligent with brushing, flossing and your overall hygiene. If you aren't, you can experience swelling, redness, inflammation of the gums, as well as the beginnings of cavities around the braces. This leaves a white ring around the braces that’s unsightly when the braces come off.
  • You’ll have to be more careful with activities where you may bump your lips like wrestling and football. When you play sports, wear a mouth guard. Now, you can’t wear normal mouth guards because they will not fit over the braces and the teeth. And, the mouth guards can’t be form-fitting because the teeth will move. You don’t want them to impede the movement of the teeth. Most orthodontists have special mouth guards for braces and different kits for keeping teeth clean.
  • I often hear: “Do I need to be worried about kissing my boyfriend or girlfriend who also has braces?” I can assure you I never heard of someone getting stuck to someone else with braces. Myth debunked.

Retainers and Expanders

  • When it comes to talking, expect an adjustment period of a couple of days. You may have a little bit of a lisp, but this doesn’t happen with everyone. You may struggle speaking because those appliances are in the roof of your mouth so you can’t form some of your “S’s” and “T’s” by bringing your tongue to the roof of your mouth--causing a lisp. So, just read a book out loud for the first couple of days to speed up the process.
  • Food may get trapped underneath the appliance, so use a water pick. Water picks shoot out jets of water that tend to do a good job of getting rid of any unwanted leftover lunch from an expander or retainer. They are inexpensive and can be purchased at any one of your local stores.


Invisalign is nice because you can take it in and out, so you don’t have to be concerned about issues that can arise with braces, retainers and expanders.

You will wear the trays 20-22 hours each day, so some people find snacking and drinking less convenient. You should take out the trays to snack and drink. To avoid staining the trays, drink through a straw. And, rinse out your mouth after you snack before putting the trays back in.

I’m reminded of a patient I saw about a year ago who was an ER doctor, big triathlete, and exercise fanatic. She loved to sip on red Powerade all day long, but was really worried about staining her teeth. She ended up getting Invisalign but didn’t want the trays to turn red. So, I told her she could take the trays out, drink Powerade, then put the trays back in. But by doing that, she didn’t have the trays in for 22 hours of the day, so I recommended she drink through the straw. She tried that and it actually worked out really well.

It’s amazing how a minor tweak can make all the difference to accommodate your daily activities. Remember, these are minor tweaks, and you shouldn't see too much of a burden on your day-to-day life when it comes to braces, retainers, expanders or Invisalign.

Contact Beecroft Orthodontics today for any further information or questions that might still be troubling your mind or set up an appointment for your oral problems with our experienced team.

Beecroft Orthodontics, 10472 Georgetown Dr. Fredericksburg, Virginia

Phone: 540-898-2200

Daily Life and Orthodontic Appliances

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