Your teeth are crooked. You long to straighten them, but Invisalign seems too expensive and your alignment issues are too advanced for Invisalign to correct. So you turn to a tried-and-true option: traditional dental braces. You’ve seen plenty of people wear them, but how much do you actually know about braces? Well, here are four bits of information that you should know before the brackets are placed on your teeth and you begin treatment.
You may experience pain.
The hard truth is that braces do come with some discomfort, but it usually goes away after a while. Although the brackets for braces these days are smaller than they used to be, they still take up some space in your mouth and can rub, scrape, or even cut the insides of your cheeks. Over time, the tissue will become acclimated to your brackets and won’t bleed, hurt, or be irritated. In addition, at every adjustment appointment, your orthodontist will change the tension in the wires to get your teeth to move into the desired position. As a result, you will likely feel sore for a few days afterward. While unpleasant, these pains are temporary and should subside. You can use over-the-counter pain medication to manage the pain and eat softer foods while you adjust to the new setting on your braces.
You won’t be able to eat certain foods.
For the best and most efficient straightening results, you need to follow your orthodontist’s instructions. These include avoiding some kinds of food, such as the following:
- Foods that require excessive chewing like beef jerky, gummy candy, and gum.
- Very crunchy foods like chips, nuts, and hard candy.
- Uncut foods that you need to bite into like apples and corn on the cob.
- Sticky foods like licorice, caramels, and toffee.
If you steer clear of these foods during your treatment, you’ll be much less likely to encounter a setback like brackets breaking off, things getting frustratingly stuck in the brackets or wire, or the wire popping loose.
You don’t have to be a teenager to have braces.
When you think of braces, you likely envision a teenager wearing them; however, basically anyone can benefit from dental braces. When your child turns 7 years old, an orthodontist can tell whether they will have certain oral issues and can start creating a treatment plan to address it early on when it’s easier to get the desired results. In general, however, the ideal age for braces is between 10 and 14 years old. With that being said, patients of all ages with healthy teeth can wear braces and achieve the smile they’ve been dreaming of.
The average treatment time is two years.
If you opt to straighten your teeth with traditional braces, you should be aware of the time commitment involved in both the short and long terms. Every few weeks, you need to go to your orthodontist’s office for an adjustment to keep your teeth moving in the right direction. Now, continue doing so for 2 or more years. This process takes some time, so try to be patient and do your best to facilitate your treatment.
In the end, traditional braces are a great way to reach your smile goals and get the straight teeth you’ve always wanted. By knowing this information going in to orthodontic treatment, you’ll be more prepared to face braces with the end goal in mind. If you have additional questions about braces, contact your orthodontist!
About the Practice
At Thrive Dental and Orthodontics in Frisco, TX, Dr. Nathan Coughlin is a board-certified orthodontist and is joined by his wife and partner Christine Coughlin, a general and cosmetic dentist. Since graduating from the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, he became a Diplomate of Orthodontics, a distinction that few orthodontists in the United States achieve. To schedule an appointment at Thrive Dental and Orthodontics, you can call (972) 371-0616 or click here.