Getting Braces and What You Should Know

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Things to Know Before Getting Braces for the First Time

Braces are a popular and successful orthodontic treatment. Used in both adults and children, braces are an effective way in treating a variety of teeth and jaw problems. From overbite to teeth misalignment, braces offer an effective treatment in a relatively considerable time frame. Despite knowing its benefits, many people still fear getting braces for the first time.

However, braces are actually nothing to fear or dread. In fact, in today’s article, we’ll take on a step-by-step journey to getting braces for the first time.

What should you know before getting braces?

The absolute first step before anything else is you will need to make an appointment with your orthodontist. After a thorough examination, your doctor will diagnose you and decide if you need braces or an alternative form of treatment. Keep in mind that there are many types of braces, and your orthodontist may provide you with several different options to choose from.

Treatment options include aligners such as Invisalign, lingual braces, a headgear, traditional metal braces and more. The additional mechanics such as brackets, wires and ligature ties come in many shapes and colors, which make it fun and easier to get accustomed to braces especially for children.

Below, is our detailed guide on everything else you should know about getting braces.

  1. Consulting your orthodontist

During your orthodontic consultation the doctor will address any questions or concerns you may have regarding your dental health or any questions regarding braces treatment. This would be an ideal time to express any concerns you have with your orthodontist. Whether it is a fear of pain, specific questions on the maintenance of braces, or exact results you would like to accomplish during your treatment to improve self-esteem and overall satisfaction with your smile; your doctor can clear up all your doubts. Your orthodontist will do a head and mouth exam of your teeth and will request an X-ray taken as well, in order to provide an accurate diagnostic for your specialized treatment.

If you choose to start treatment dental impressions will be taken which are molds of your teeth. The orthodontist will need these in order to analyze your case and provide you with the best treatment option.

  1. How are braces installed?

When it comes to wearing standard metal braces, the application process is quick and easy. Have a look at the step-by-step explanation on how braces are applied:

–        Initially, your doctor will place bands on your back molars if needed. This often comes with some pressure, but no pain.

–        Your orthodontist will attach metal or ceramic brackets to each tooth. A brackets purpose is to hold the wires in place. Commonly, brackets are glued to the teeth but cause no additional damage.

–        The wire works in place with the brackets, actively working together to align the teeth. You may feel some pressure and tightness which is completely normal; this is also a sign the braces are working.

–        The next step is inserting rubber bands also called ligature ties over the brackets. These help the wires stay in place as well as providing additional pressure for the teeth to move more efficiently.  These rubber bands come in various assorted colors which make it unique and fun specially for children.

Other types of braces and aligners follow the same pattern of installation, but with slight differences in elements, depending on the device itself. Also, keep in mind that you will have to wear braces for a while, depending on your type of braces and your case.

  1. What will my first week of getting braces be like?

When it comes to getting braces, most people fear living with them daily. However, there is nothing to fear or worry about. Once your orthodontic appliances are placed, you could experience a mild discomfort or pressure. Not necessarily painful, but rather uncomfortable, the pressure is a direct result of the wires pulling the teeth towards their optimal position.

If you are feeling uneasy in the first few days after getting braces, feel free to take a mild over the counter pain reliever to help you while you adjust. At the same time, pay attention to nutrition. After getting braces, you will have to eat soft foods for example mashed potatoes, until the discomfort goes away. Foods like yogurt, oats, rice, and soup can help you avoid aches in the teeth and jaw.

  1. How do I adapt to wearing braces daily?

Living with braces daily is not as difficult as it may seem. Still, you will likely have to make some changes in your everyday routine. Here is what you need to know about life with braces:

–        You will have to steer clear of chewy and sticky food such as candy as well as carbonated drinks.

–        Your treatment may require you to wear a headgear along with your braces. A headgear helps bring the teeth back in their place, and you’ll have to wear it during nighttime.

–        You will have to make regular appointments to maintain your orthodontic appliances firm and effective. If you lose or break a bracket, you should see your orthodontist as soon as possible to replace it. Also, your doctor will tighten the wire as the first signs of progress manifest.

–        You will have to wear your orthodontic appliances at all times over a period of one to three years.

–       After completing your orthodontic treatment, you will have to wear a retainer for support. Retainers are removable and should be worn at all times during the first six months, after the six months your orthodontist may instruct you to wear them every night the rest of your life. In such a way, they sustain the work braces have done in the past years.

–        You will have to keep your appliances clean. Brushing very thoroughly for a minimum of two minutes is important. It is also helpful that you clean your teeth by flossing and gargling with mouth wash. Ultimately, this practice will result in a greater effect and will keep you safe from infections. By maintaining the braces hygiene optimal, you will also avoid teeth damage, plaque build-up and other diseases.

–        For extra protection, you can ask your orthodontist to prescribe fluoride-enriched mouthwash.

–        You will have to floss your teeth with a flexible ‘threader’ which can reach even the most remote parts in your mouth.

–        You will likely use braces wax, otherwise known as orthodontic wax. This is a specifically designed product to coat the braces’ wires and keep the device protected.

Make sure you stay informed on the types of braces available today, their uses, cost, and benefits. Each orthodontic case is different, so it is best to consult your doctor to determine the best treatment for you. Let go of any prejudices you have regarding getting braces and talk to people who have undergone the treatment as well. All in all, braces are not the enemy, but can actually help you get your dream smile with minimal effort.

Supplemental Content

If you or your child have misaligned teeth or any other tooth abnormality, you will want to have this problem corrected as soon as possible. Sometimes the solution is simple and may require minor surgery for treatment, but sometimes it will be work that the dentist cannot carry out and this needs to be dealt with by a specialist. If the teeth are crooked, a dentist will not have the expertise to deal with the problem. Getting braces or Invisalign is the perfect way to get the smile you always wanted and once the treatment is finished, you will be so proud of your new appearance. A general dentist cannot perform the further specialized treatments that an orthodontist can. An orthodontist will have trained to be a dentist and once qualified, trained further so that they can work to straighten teeth. It is around 2 – 3 years in extra training that is undertaken; so, there is no need to worry that they will not know what they are doing.

Firstly, it is likely that your dentist will be able to recommend an orthodontist, but if not, you should be able to find one on your own.  There are a couple of things that you should check if you can before you make an appointment:

  • Reviews – If you don’t know anyone who has used them, can you find any information about them online? Their own website will only have good reviews, so you should be looking on independent sites. People always want to share their experiences – good and bad – so you should be fine.
  • Payment options – Unless there is a medical reason for the braces, you could find that your insurance may not cover the full cost. Often there will be the chance of a payment plan, so investigate the option of using that as it will make it much more affordable.

The First Appointment

When you first meet the orthodontist, a two-way interview will be conducted. During this time, you can ask the orthodontist what will be your treatment options and any other concerns you may have, and they can ask you for a full medical history. Some will offer a free consultation and at this point you can meet the people you will be treated by and where the treatment will take place. However, you go about making the decision, there will be a time when you have made the decision and are ready to get your braces.

The Start of Treatment

To be sure that he/she provides you with the best treatment option, the orthodontist will want to know the exact condition of your mouth and teeth. While the orthodontist will be working solely with the movement of your teeth, they also need to know if there is a problem with the gums. First there will be x-rays taken as these will aid the orthodontist to be able to see any teeth that may have any underlying problems. If this is the case, these teeth will be taken care of first before any further orthodontic treatment. There is no point in straightening a tooth that needs a filling, as it may not last until the end of the orthodontic journey.

If you choose to start treatment, impressions will have to be taken. This step could be the worst part of the treatment for some but there are instructions that will be given in order to facilitate this process and make it more comfortable for you.

The steps for dental impressions are as follows:

  • The orthodontist will fill an upper and lower impression trays with a thick paste like substance.
  • You will have one inserted at the top and then the bottom one will be put in.
  • The substance will begin to harden over the teeth. It is while this is happening that you may feel uncomfortable as breathing can be a little difficult, breathing through your nose will allow you to relax and be a bit more comfortable.
  • The impressions will be removed, and any excess substance will be removed from your lips, teeth and mouth.
  • The molds will be taken from the impression trays and used to design the braces.

Once the braces have been designed, you will have an appointment to have them fitted. If you have not looked after your teeth as well as you should have, then it is possible that you will have to undergo a deep cleaning at the orthodontists before the braces will be put on. During the cleaning your teeth cleaned of plaque and polished with a special paste. This will enable the braces to be put straight onto the teeth. If you have concerns about the cleanliness of your teeth, you could arrange to have the job done at your dentist office a day or so before you will be getting braces. The main reason for this is to prevent plaque on the teeth. Once the braces are in place it will be hard enough to keep the teeth as clean and hygienic as they normally are, but if you have perfectly clean teeth to start with it would be ideal for the start of treatment.

A final good clean, floss and gargle before the appointment should keep the orthodontist happy and allow them see that you are getting braces to improve your look and are going to comply with their requests. As well as the cleanliness aspect, it will reduce the time you have to spend in the chair getting braces fitted, as they will not have to carry out a deep cleaning first.


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Taking Care of Your Braces

Specialized instructions to maintain your teeth clean in braces should be given as a final step after your braces are placed.  Some examples are as follows,

  • Brush your teeth regularly and carefully. You want them to be clean, but you do not want to damage them.
  • Use a Waterpik – This is going to get rid of the pieces of food that have not been dislodged by the toothbrush. It is easy for them to get caught in the braces, between the braces and the teeth and also between the teeth. This why flossing is also very important.
  • Make regular appointments to see the orthodontist. They need to know that things are going as they planned them to and if not, they can alter the treatment they were carrying out.
  • Be careful about what you eat even once you are used to wearing braces. Anything sticky can get caught and will be both difficult to remove as well as leading to the risk of infection and damage to the enamel.

It is understandable that people are worried about getting braces and it is more likely to increase when it is a child. The process can be made easy and worry free by asking questions as this will both put your mind at ease and alert the orthodontist to areas where they need to give you extra information and updates.

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