You’ve gotten the impressions, you’ve scheduled your appointment, and you’ve eaten all the candy and popcorn you can to tide you over for the next year or two. You’re ready––it’s time to get your braces. But what can you expect? Will it hurt? How do you brush?
We’re addressing some of our patients’ most common concerns below. Here’s what you should know about getting braces.
Your Teeth Will Feel Sore
We’re not going to lie––your teeth will feel sore and tender after you first get your braces. They’ll also feel sore any time you visit our office to have them tightened or adjusted, although usually it’s that first visit that’s the worst. Most patients don’t describe the experience as painful; braces don’t hurt in the same intense way that a toothache might, but the constant pressure on your teeth can cause a feeling of tightness and sometimes even headaches.
The good news is that the discomfort is minimal and it can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. When your teeth are feeling sore, eat soft foods until the tenderness subsides.
Your Braces Will Probably Break
Even when you follow all the instructions we give you, it’s very likely that a bracket will fall off of a tooth at some point. Or maybe a wire comes loose, you lose an elastic…the point is, a lot of things can happen and that’s okay! When you have an orthodontic emergency, don’t ignore it. Give us a call.
In many cases, the issue may be minor and we’ll plan on fixing it at your next appointment. There are other times when something breaking can turn into a setback for your treatment, extending the amount of time you’ll be in braces. We know with a busy schedule it can be hard to come in for an extra appointment to fix a broken bracket, but you’ll be thankful that you did.
It’s True: No Popcorn
One way to minimize the risk of those orthodontic emergencies is to follow our guidelines on foods to avoid. This means no popcorn, nothing sticky, and nothing too hard. Even biting into carrots and apples can cause a bracket to break off; don’t avoid those foods altogether, but be sure to cut them into bite-sized pieces.
Brushing Is More Important Than Ever
Plaque loves braces. It accumulates between your teeth if you’re not flossing as often, in the spaces next to the brackets, and anywhere that’s not as easy to reach. When you don’t take the time to thoroughly brush and floss each day, you’re at a higher risk of cavities, gum disease, and staining.
Make things easier for yourself by using a floss threader or water flosser. Bring a toothbrush with you and sneak in a quick brushing after meals when you’re away from home.
You Have to Maintain Your Results
The end result of your time in braces is straight teeth for a lifetime––if you maintain them, that is. Once your treatment is complete, we’ll give you a custom retainer to wear to help keep your smile beautiful in the long-term. Wear it as directed and you’ll never have to worry about your teeth shifting back. (We love seeing you at our office, but we don’t want to see you in five years to get another set of braces because you didn’t use your retainer!)