Everything You Need to Know About Having Braces
First - a little bit about braces:
Before we get into the details of having braces, it's good to make clear what braces are and what they do. Dental braces are made to correct and align teeth and jaw asymmetry and alignment. As they say, braces help you get the perfect smile!
Do Braces Hurt?
Many people claim that braces do hurt, but often times, what they're actually talking about is soreness. Especially on the first few visits, having braces will leave your gums sore. Usually, you'll feel a bit of tension when you first get them on or get them tightened, and within a day, you'll feel a bit of soreness. But don't worry - the soreness shouldn't be too extreme, and it subsides within 3-4 days. Within a week, your teeth should feel normal again.
When you first get your braces, the inside of your mouth isn't accustomed to the wires and brackets. Talking, chewing, and moving your mouth may result in the wires scratching the inside of your mouth, and this could sometimes result in ulcers or sores. These should go away in about a week. Many dental facilities will also provide you with wax that you can put on your brackets or wire to help ease the rubbing. Over time, though, the skin in your mouth will get thicker, and it will be harder to develop sores because of your braces.
What is getting your braces on for the first time like? What are appointments like & how frequent are they?
Before you get your braces, you will need to have a consultation with an orthodontist to determine what your treatment plan is going to look like (the amount of time you need to have them on, etc.)
When you first go to the orthodontist to get your braces on, the dentist will tell you to bite into a soft mold. This will provide a good idea of what your teeth look like. You may also have an x-ray taken and a picture taken of your jaw for before and after photos.
The dentist will use a strong glue to stick the brackets onto your teeth. Wires will then be put into the brackets. You will be able to choose the color of the rubber bands on your braces (which is probably the best part)!
Getting your braces on for the first time brings some weird experiences - you'll have to get used to having extra things in your mouth, and the wires and brackets on your teeth.
Depending on the dental office and orthodontist, appointments are usually every 4-8 weeks. If you don't have a broken bracket that needs to be re-glued, orthodontist appointments will likely take 15-25 minutes. Usually, your regular orthodontist appointment will consist of taking off the wires and adjusting it or switching to new wires. (Yes, you can choose different colored rubber bands.)
How long do I have to have braces?
The amount of time braces need to stay on your teeth depends on the state of your teeth - how straight they are, whether you have an overbite or underbite, etc. After looking at the positions of your teeth with an x-ray picture, your orthodontist will determine how long you need to have your braces. Most people have braces for 1-2.5 years. My teeth were more crooked, my mouth was smaller for the size of my teeth, and I had an overbite, which resulted in my treatment being on the longer side - 2.5 years.
What can I eat with braces?
Eating food with braces can be a challenge. Although I have, some time or another, broken every food rule while eating braces, there are some foods you should definitely avoid. Not doing so might cost you a broken bracket!
- Hard taco shells
- Sticky and hard candy
- Corn chips
- Hard cookies or crackers
- Sticky or hard chocolate
It's recommended that you consume these foods instead:
- Hull-less popcorn
- Bananas, grapes, oranges, strawberries, and other fruits without pits
- Light crackers or cookies
- Mashed potatoes
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Ravioli, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, and other noodle dishes
When your teeth are sore after recently getting an adjustment/tightening, you may want to opt for softer foods such as yogurt as to avoid more soreness.
What happens if my bracket falls off?
If a bracket falls off, don't worry too much about it. During your next dental visit, you should tell your dentist and they will re-glue a new bracket onto your tooth for you. If losing brackets has been a big problem and multiple brackets are falling off, you may want to watch your diet and make sure it isn't food that is causing this.
How do I brush and floss with braces?
Brushing and flossing with braces can be a bit of a hassle. It's still important to remember to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. Your dental hygiene is extremely important during this time because not carefully maintaining your oral health may lead to permanent yellow splotches around your brackets when your braces are taken off (additional to the risk of cavity and gum disease). Even if you teeth are sore, it is important to brush, even if it is lightly.
When flossing, you should use the dental floss and flossers provided by your orthodontist. The flossing process is a bit more complicated, since your wires are blocking regular floss string from getting into the gaps between your teeth. Your dentist will explain this process.
If you want to spare the hassle of flossing with the flossers every day, the water flosser is an excellent alternative. It is recommended by dentists and can clean the gaps between your teeth quickly and with more accuracy. A link is provided below.
I hope this article helped you to better understand what braces are like and what you should do when you get them! If you have any additional questions, concerns, or opinions, or just enjoyed this article, feel free to comment below.
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