Getting braces is exciting! You’re taking the steps toward better oral health, more self-confidence, and a great smile. You’ve probably heard all kinds of things about getting and wearing braces. What’s true and what isn’t? How do you prepare for braces?
WH Orthodontics is here to bust a few myths about braces. Do braces hurt? How soon can you get braces? Do you have a lot of foods to avoid with braces? Here are the facts and braces tips you need about orthodontic treatment before your first day with braces.
At What Age Can You Get Braces?
Usually, it’s best to get braces once most of the permanent teeth are in, about age 10-11. However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that you consult an orthodontist by age 7.
Why so young for a braces appointment? At that age, we can see what issues are visible with the baby teeth, and we can anticipate future dental issues with x-rays and digital scans of the permanent teeth waiting to erupt.
We may prepare you for braces a couple of years before you actually get braces in what’s known as the two-phase system. You may need a palate expander to widen your jaw and make room for all your teeth. You may need a tongue crib to keep from thrusting your tongue against your teeth.
We will prepare you for the best braces treatment possible, no matter how bad your dental issues may be.
Why Do People Get Braces?
Braces fix the most obvious dental problems, such as an overbite or crooked teeth. Braces can also repair your bite, or how your teeth line up with each other.
Why is this so important? Your teeth are designed to line up a certain way, so biting and chewing are at maximum efficiency. If your teeth are out of place, it could lead to headaches, jaw fatigue, and even digestive problems.
A bad bite can also change the shape of your face. An overbite can cause your chin to look smaller, while misaligned teeth can make your face look asymmetrical. Braces can improve your facial structure and give you a more confident smile!
What To Expect When Getting Braces
Do braces hurt? That may be one of the most common questions we hear. The first week, your mouth will probably be sore as your teeth and jaws get used to having your braces.
Braces have come far since the days when your parents wore them. Today’s advanced metal braces are smaller, more efficient, and more comfortable than traditional metal braces. They’re even available in clear ceramic braces, which makes them less visible.
You’ll want to eat soft foods the first week, like ice cream and mashed potatoes. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to soothe your teeth and gums. You can also use an over-the-counter pain reliever according to the directions on the bottle.
The soreness should disappear after a few days. Once your mouth is used to your braces, you shouldn’t experience day-to-day pain. You may have some discomfort when the braces are adjusted, but that should only last a day or two.
You can use braces wax if the brackets of your braces rub against your cheeks, lips, or tongue. Dental wax differs from regular wax, so be sure you’re using the right stuff!
Foods to Avoid With Braces
Is there food you can’t eat with braces? Yes, but there are a lot more foods you can eat with braces. Also, the food restrictions are just temporary. You can go back to enjoying these foods once your braces are off.
What foods should you avoid with braces?
- Chewy foods — bagels, licorice, taffy, pizza crust, gummy bears or “gummy” anything, jerky, baguettes, taffy, jelly candies
- Crunchy foods — popcorn, tortilla chips, ice, hard cookies, parmesan “crackers,” Doritos, hard breadsticks
- Sticky foods — gum, caramel candies, certain snack bars such as granola bars, protein bars, and oat and other cereal bars
- Hard foods — nuts, hard candies, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raw grains such as oats
- Foods that require front bite — apples, carrots, corn on the cob, whole pears or peaches
Cleaning Teeth With Braces
Good oral hygiene habits are vital before, during, and after braces, but brushing and flossing with braces can be a little tricky. We have some suggestions to make it easier to clean your braces.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth with braces. Softer bristles will be easier on sore gums and will keep from damaging your braces. We recommend an electric toothbrush because it has moving bristles that can get around brackets better.
Be sure to floss your teeth at least once a day with dental floss. Use a floss threader to get around your archwires and between teeth.
A water flosser is a good enhancement for flossing, but it’s no substitute for dental floss. That’s because dental floss has better scrubbing power. However, a water flosser can dislodge food particles from brackets, making brushing and flossing easier.
What If I Have a Braces Emergency?
What happens if a bracket pops off? What if you break a wire? What if you SWALLOW a wire? Braces emergencies are rare, but they do happen. The first thing to remember is not to panic! We can repair any damage to your braces.
It may seem scary if you swallow a bracket or wire, but it likely will work its way through your system with no problems. Don’t worry — we don’t need it back.
The only danger is if you inhale the bracket or wire. If this happens and you experience breathing problems, visit an ER or urgent care clinic right away. Again, this is incredibly rare. Most of the time, the bracket or wire stays in your mouth or works its way through your digestive system.
Contact WH Orthodontics if you have any problems with your braces. We can take care of any repairs!
Preparing for Braces in Topeka, KS
Braces can transform your bite and give you a beautiful smile, but you have to care for them and your teeth during the process. It may seem like a lot to remember, but braces treatment will go smoothly with the right orthodontist.
WH Orthodontics has created new smiles throughout the Topeka, KS, area. We will be with you every step of the way, encouraging you and helping you to transform your smile. Are you ready for braces? Schedule an orthodontic appointment with us today!