What They Don’t Tell You Before Braces

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Teen girl with braces and doctor with patient in background.

We do our best to provide new patients with as much information as possible before they begin orthodontic treatment. But there’s so much to discuss that some potentially helpful advice is inevitably overlooked.

Every patient is unique, and your orthodontic experience is your own. Some of these tips might be incredibly relevant, and others might be totally unnecessary to your needs. But taking in as much information as possible before you get your brackets (or your child’s) cemented on will give you the best chance at comfortable, stress-free treatment after the braces are in place.

Practical Tips for Braces Planning

Following a few simple steps can really help in making your child feel comfortable while the application of the braces takes place. It may be a good idea for them to take a mild pain reliever such as aspirin before their appointment to help relieve the discomfort and tenderness they will be feeling once the braces are in place.

Prior to your appointment be sure to:

  • Say goodbye to favorite snacks that might damage braces and clear them out of the pantry. Certain offenders may have you running back to the orthodontist for repairs including:
    • Nuts
    • Hard candies and lollipops
    • Chewy foods and candies
    • Popcorn
    • Hard foods that require biting into
  • Schedule a dental exam and cleaning
  • Brush and floss so your teeth are clean & ready
  • Take a before picture to remember this special day and compare the final results to

What to Expect During Your Braces Appointment

Once you have arrived to your appointment, there are only a few steps left to do.

  • The teeth will be cleaned and dried for application.
  • A bonding glue will be applied to the teeth for the brackets to be attached to.
  • Once the brackets are in place on each tooth, two archwires will be put in place through each bracket (One wire for the upper teeth, and one for the bottom teeth)

Your braces are a part of your new smile, so add some colored elastic bands to really make them yours!

You will be sore – but you will get used to it

During orthodontic treatment, your teeth are actively being moved to new positions every second of the day. Changing the locations of the teeth can affect blood flow and this may trigger inflammatory responses, which triggers the pain responses in your brain.

The worst soreness is typically right after you get your braces on, and you’ll come to expect the aching feeling that lingers in the few days after your monthly appointments.

Take over the counter pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen right before your appointments, or immediately after to help alleviate some of the pain.

Everytime you experience discomfort and soreness, just think to yourself that your teeth are moving and you’re one day closer to a perfect smile.

Oral hygiene is going to become the most important part of your day

Brushing and flossing often – and correctly – will help you prevent gum disease and cavities, and keep your straightening moving along as planned.

Be sure to:

  • Clean the areas between the braces and your gums using a circular motion
  • Use a back and forth motion to clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth
  • Make sure to get all the surfaces of the teeth, especially in the areas between wires and teeth, and brackets and gums where food is likely to get trapped
  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush or electric toothbrush
  • Brush for a full two minutes, at least twice a day
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste to help protect and remineralize enamel
  • After eating, rinse your mouth with water to help dislodge food particles

Look at the big picture

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or trapped in endless orthodontic treatment, look at the experience from a slightly different perspective. Keeping the planned end date in mind helps you make it through – and crossing off the days on a calendar doesn’t hurt!

Maintaining straight teeth is a lifelong endeavor

After you’ve finished orthodontic treatment and those braces are finally off, it’s time to enjoy life with your new straight smile. To keep things in the same state you waited all those months to achieve, be sure to:

  • Wear your retainers
  • Schedule regular dental checkups to keep your teeth in great condition
  • Keep an eye out for shifting teeth and get in touch with your orthodontist if something seems to be off

You’ll make it through!

No matter what, your orthodontic treatment will be temporary – and the results will be well worth the process. We’re confident that you will find the process of braces worth it. If you’re still unsure about braces, schedule a consultation to speak with Dr. Thomas about your own orthodontic needs,

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