Getting braces put on is a very unique experience, and learning to deal with braces for the next several months can take some time. Understanding what to expect after having braces put on will prepare you for the process. If you are properly informed, you do not need to be nervous or confused when your braces are finally put on. Though it can take a little extra time and effort, the end result is definitely worth it!
What Will Your Smile Look Like With Braces?
Depending on the type of braces you get, your appearance may change a little when you get braces. Traditional metal braces will be a silvery metal bracket that is attached to your teeth, and then a metal archwire will be attached to the brackets. Some people have brackets that clamp onto the archwire, while others will have rubber bands that connect the brackets and wire. If you have an overbite or underbite, you may also need to wear rubber bands that connect the bottom and top rows of teeth. These gradually realign your bite to make it more effective. You can pick a color if you have rubber bands, so braces can be a fun fashion accessory.
If you get clear braces, the appearance will be more discreet. The only really noticeable part of your braces will be the thin metal archwire that helps to shift teeth into the proper alignment. There is also the less common option of lingual braces that fit on the back part of the teeth inside the mouth rather than the exposed front area. The most subtle option for straightening your smile are invisible braces. These clear plastic trays fit over your teeth without looking all that noticeable. Your orthodontist will give you a new set every few weeks to gradually move your teeth.
Will Braces be Uncomfortable?
It is natural to be concerned about the comfort of braces. At first, you may experience some discomfort because braces apply a gentle, even pressure on the teeth. This can lead to a dull aching sensation. Orthodontists advise that you only eat soft foods at first and take over the counter painkillers if discomfort persists. The other main issue tends to be that braces can rub sore spots on the inside of the mouth. The skin will toughen up after a little while, but until then, you can apply orthodontic wax to the rough brackets to keep them from poking you. It can take a week or two to get used to the feeling of the equipment in your mouth, but after that, it should not regularly feel uncomfortable or unpleasant. The amount of discomfort varies from patient to patient, but it is not debilitating or excessive.
Eating with Braces
At first, you will probably want to stick to soft, easy to eat foods like mashed potatoes, smoothies, soups, and oatmeal. Once any discomfort goes away, you can resume eating most of your normal foods. However, having new orthodontic equipment in your mouth may make you want to change your eating habits. The shape of braces generally prevents you from biting down firmly on hard or crunchy items. You may need to start tearing or cutting your food into smaller pieces that can fit into your mouth easily. You will also need to avoid sticky, gooey foods like gum or caramel, because it can be almost impossible to remove them from the brackets and archwire. You do not want food to remain stuck in your braces because it can cause cavity-creating oral bacteria to grow.
Cleaning Your Teeth with Braces
It might be a little tricky to clean your teeth when you have braces in the way, but it is definitely important. If you do not practice good oral hygiene, plaque can build up and harden around the brackets. When the braces are removed, you can end up with lighter stains where the brackets were if you do not regularly clean your teeth. Bad hygiene can also lead to cavities that can cause problems. To avoid all these issues, make sure you are cleaning your teeth well. Try to brush your teeth after every meal to remove any food that can get stuck under the wires. You should use a fluoride toothpaste and brush for two minutes at least twice a day. Keep in mind that braces tend to wear down toothbrush bristles, so you will need to replace it more than every three months. Flossing is still important while you are wearing braces, but it is considerably harder. Instead of traditional floss, it might be wise to get a flossing threader designed for patients with braces.
Can Braces Break?
Though braces are made of sturdy metal, accidents can still happen. However, you do not need to panic if a bracket comes loose or an archwire starts to slide around. You can often gently push an archwire into a more comfortable position if it has come loose and is poking you. If the bracket is no longer bonded to the tooth or a rubber band has popped off, the archwire will typically hold it in place until it can be fixed. Therefore, there is no reason to worry about braces suddenly breaking and causing a great deal of damage. The main problem with broken braces is just that they are not functioning correctly. If left untreated, the amount of time you will need to wear braces may be expanded. If something happens to your braces, you will need to call your orthodontist and set up an appointment to fix the issue. Most broken braces can quickly be fixed in just a few minutes.
How Long do Braces Take to Work?
Results will vary depending on many factors such as bone density, misalignment severity, and even the age of the patient. However, you will generally start to notice changes within four to six weeks. Within a few months, others may notice that your braces are starting to be effective. Each time you get your braces adjusted or switch to a new Invisalign tray, your teeth will be slightly straighter. It can take a few years for the braces process to be finished, depending on how crooked your teeth were, but you will enjoy straighter and straighter teeth as time goes by. You will normally meet with your orthodontist every four to six weeks, and they will adjust your treatment plan depending on how quickly you are progressing.
What Happens When My Braces Come Off?
Some patients are disappointed after their braces are removed because they still have to wear orthodontic equipment. However, you will be happy to know that retainers are far less inconvenient than braces. A retainer is a device that helps to keep teeth in their new position while the jawbone gets used to the new alignment. They prevent your teeth from getting crooked after all of your hard work. Your orthodontist may fit you with a permanent retainer that is fixed to the inside of your teeth, but removable ones are far more common. A removable retainer has a plastic piece shaped to the roof of your mouth and a metal wire that fits over the outside of your teeth. It can be removed while eating, and you will not need to wear it constantly.
While you have braces, you can expect slight discomfort and inconvenience, but most patients quickly get used to managing their braces. Overall, the advantages of having braces definitely outweigh the few minor annoyances. When braces are removed, you are left with a straight smile. Not only does it look more aesthetically appealing, but well-aligned teeth also make it easier for you to speak and chew properly. As long as you wear your retainer for the recommended amount of time, you can expect to enjoy the benefits of braces for years to come.