Are you nervous about getting braces and have a few questions and concerns? Find out what to expect and get ready for braces!!
There are a number of reasons for you to need braces. Well aligned teeth not only make an attractive smile but they are also easier to keep clean and therefore less prone to problems like cavities, toothaches and gum issues. Braces correct teeth alignment problems like crooked, overlapped or overcrowded teeth, bad bite etc.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind once you decide to get braces:
- Age for braces:
Teeth can be straightened with braces at any age, starting from teenagers to adults. Usually, braces are preferred between the age of 10 and 14 years as this is when the jaws and head are growing and it is easy to intercept orthodontic problems. With that being said, a lot of adults are getting braces and there is no stigma attached to adult orthodontic treatment.
- Length of your treatment:
The time for which you will have to wear braces depends on the severity of your teeth problems. On average people have to wear them between 12 and 24 months. You will need to visit your Orthodontist every 4-6 weeks to ensure that your treatment is moving along in the right direction and also to have adjustments made. At the end of dental treatment, when your braces come off, your dentist will make a retainer for you, which can be fixed or removable. You will have to continue wearing it to keep the teeth in their new place.
- Get all the dental problems treated before you start:
Once the braces are placed, your orthodontist will remove them only at the end of treatment. So it is important to tackle all dental problems before you start. Cavities should be filled and problematic wisdom teeth should be extracted. Get a professional dental cleaning done. Make sure that your teeth and gums are in the best of health.
- Foods to be avoided:
During the initial days, it will be difficult to eat most foods with a mouth full of braces. This is the time when you are getting used to them and it is wise to eat only soft foods. It is best to avoid sweet, sticky and hard foods throughout your treatment period. Sticky foods like toffee and gummy candy, and hard and crunchy foods like nuts, hard candy can make the brackets pop off and wires to break. You will have to make an extra trip to your orthodontist to repair them. With braces, brushing becomes difficult, so it is best to avoid eating too many sweets as it can cause cavities. Crunchy foods like apples, carrots as well as hard crust foods like pizza, bread rolls should be eaten by cutting them into small pieces and chewing them. Biting into such foods should be strictly avoided.
- Keeping your teeth clean:
It is very easy for food to get entangled in braces. Food particles and plaque will accumulate easily around the metal brackets and wires. This can increase the likelihood of you getting cavities, gum problem, stains around brackets as well as bad breath. Brush with a fluoridated toothpaste after every meal to avoid the unsightly display of foods that have got caught in the braces, followed by flossing. Your dentist can recommend a special brush called proxy brush and floss threader to help you. So remember that you will end up spending a few extra minutes every day cleaning your teeth after you have finished your meal. Also, visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and teeth whitening. A little discipline and diligence will go a long way in making your braces a success.
- Will braces hurt?
Initially, you will definitely feel uncomfortable with the brackets and wires in your mouth. Your jaws and mouth may feel a little sore. Eventually, the soreness will fade away. As your teeth begin to move you will experience mild pressure. But if you feel any sharp pain, visit your orthodontist immediately, as this may be due to the end of a wire or bracket that is impinging on your cheeks or lips.
- You have many options:
The most traditional and common type is fixed metal braces. These are glued on the outside of your teeth. They hold wires and elastic bands that move the teeth. If you do not want metal in your mouth, then ceramic brace is an option. These are less visible but a bit bigger in size. Another option, which has become very popular nowadays is a set of clear and removable aligners that can correct minor problems with teeth alignment. Invisalign is the most commonly used brand. Being transparent, they are the most aesthetic option and also provide superior oral hygiene as you can remove them every time you eat and brush your teeth. Your Orthodontist will let you know which is the best option for you.
Getting braces is a big commitment. But a lot of times it is a much-needed treatment for a healthy and attractive smile. Be patient, follow your dentist’s instructions and before you know it you will have the smile of your dreams!!