You’re getting braces — that’s great! Braces are both a smile-changing and a life-changing experience.
As the braces experience is different for everyone, we want to provide you with as much information as possible so you know what to expect. And if you haven’t yet decided on braces, we hope this information can help you make that decision.
First, we’ll cover what to do before you get your braces, so you’re prepared. Then we’ll go into what to do after your braces are on, including how to clean your teeth properly and what foods to avoid.
Preparing Your Teeth for Braces
First, make an appointment with your dentist for a routine cleaning and check-up. This will ensure your gums and teeth are healthy before we fit the braces onto your teeth. And if you have any cavities, we recommend getting those filled before we put your braces on.
You may wonder if you should whiten your teeth before getting braces. We recommend you wait until after you get your braces off, since some people may notice minimal tooth discoloration once we remove the brackets. That’s because the brackets will cover a small part of each tooth, so that area won’t be exposed to what you’re eating and drinking while your braces are on.
On the day you’ll get your braces applied, thoroughly brush and floss before your appointment. That will ensure your teeth are plaque-free, allowing the cement to adhere to your teeth.
Also, we recommend purchasing orthodontic dental wax ahead of time, as it will take a few days for your mouth and tongue to get used to having braces. You can place the orthodontic wax wherever your brackets rub against your mouth, preventing sore spots.
And make sure to take a “before” selfie to track your progress as your teeth move into their correct position. Plus, you can compare your before-and-after smiles at the end of your treatment to see just how far you’ve come and how beautiful your teeth look!
How are Braces Affixed to Your Teeth?
Before putting on your braces, Dr. Grewal (Dr. G) will clean and dry your teeth. He will then apply bonding glue to each tooth and carefully affix the brackets to the teeth, followed by metal bands around your back molars to secure the brackets.
Then, when the brackets and bands are in place, Dr. G. will fit the archwire to each bracket to connect them. Then he will attach small rubber bands, called ligatures, to hold the archwire in place. The rubber bands come in many colors; you can choose whichever color you like. Plus, when you come in to have your braces adjusted, Dr. G. will change the rubber bands, allowing you to update your look each time if you choose to do so.
What Will Your Smile Look Like With Braces?
Your appearance may change a bit depending on the type of braces you get. With traditional (metal) braces, you’ll have silvery metal brackets with rubber bands and a metal archwire running through them. If you have an overbite or underbite, you may also have rubber bands connecting the teeth’s bottom and top rows.
With clear or ceramic braces, the only noticeable part will be the thin metal archwire connecting your braces. And if you are a candidate for lingual braces, these fit on the back part of the teeth, and it doesn’t even look like you’re wearing braces.
No matter what type of braces you get, remember this: your smile will look incredible when your orthodontic treatment is complete!
Easing Discomfort After Getting Braces
When you first get your braces on, you may not experience pain or discomfort immediately. However, within a few hours, you may feel discomfort because of the gentle pressure the braces put on your teeth to move them into their new position. Fortunately, any pain usually lasts only a few days.
You may also experience discomfort after coming in for your routine appointment to get your braces tightened. To help ease you through any pain or discomfort, make sure you have pain relief available, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. And eat soft foods, like soups, smoothies, oatmeal, pasta, and bananas. These foods won’t put too much pressure on your teeth and are easy to eat.
Cleaning Your Teeth
At first, cleaning your teeth with braces can be tricky. However, you’ll soon get used to it — and it’s vital to practice good oral hygiene so that plaque doesn’t build up and harden around the brackets. Here are a few essential points:
- Brush your teeth after eating to ensure that plaque doesn’t build up under the wires or between teeth. Use a soft toothbrush and replace it every three months. And keep an extra toothbrush with you for when you eat outside the home.
- Use interproximal brushes (looks similar to a pipe cleaner) to get at the tight areas between your teeth and brackets.
- Floss your teeth at least twice daily using waxed dental floss and a floss threader. It’s essential to floss at night to remove anything that could be stuck between teeth or around the braces.
Foods to Avoid
Not all foods are good for braces! Some can damage your brackets or archwires and cause unnecessary repairs. These can include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Hard candy
- Toffee, caramel, and other chewy foods
- Foods with a hard crust, such as pizza
- Crunchy vegetables and fruits, like whole carrots or apples
- Corn on the cob
You may be able to eat some of these foods if you cut them into smaller pieces that can fit into your mouth easily. However, avoid sticky or gooey foods.
When to Expect to See Changes
You may notice slight changes to your smile after four weeks. However, you’ll likely see more progress after two to three months. As each person is different and has unique circumstances, the time it takes to notice differences will vary. Just keep at it and come in for your scheduled appointments; before you know it, you’ll see the changes you’re looking for.
We Want to Help You Achieve a Beautiful Smile!
Love Orthodontics offers a FREE consultation to anyone interested in getting braces. We provide many types of braces, and Dr. G. can help you determine what’s right for you! He will complete an exam, take x-rays, and explain treatment plans and costs. We also have an insurance coordinator on staff to help determine if your insurance will pay. Additionally, we have interest-free financing for those who need it. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get a healthy and beautiful new smile!