Life with Braces
There are many benefits to wearing braces. Braces remain the gold standard in creating beautiful smiles in the most efficient time possible. One of the largest benefits to traditional braces is that they move your teeth 24 hours per day, whereas aligners only move your teeth when you are wearing them. Another advantage to braces is that in general, once you leave our office after your adjustment, you really don’t need to do anything for the braces to “work” until your next visit.
Of course, anything worth having in life comes with its own unique set of hurdles; luckily, with braces, there are really only four main challenges:
- Visibility. On your journey to a beautiful smile, there will be a period of time where the braces are visible. Luckily, our office offers clear braces to all of our patients at the same cost as metal braces in order to limit the visibility of braces for those who are concerned.
- Adjusting to Braces. While braces are not painful, there can be some soreness the day after an adjustment and the feeling of having braces on is different from when your teeth were completely smooth.
- Occasional broken or unglued bracket. While true orthodontic emergencies are extremely rare, a broken bracket or a pokey wire can be uncomfortable until they can be addressed. Don’t worry; we will show you all of the ways to take care of these issues to remain comfortable until you can visit one of our Plantation or Fort Lauderdale orthodontic offices.
- Oral hygiene. Braces require extra good brushing so that teeth can remain extremely clean throughout treatment.
EATING WITH BRACES
Eating with braces is not the same as eating without them. Braces are made to break off from teeth if enough pressure is applied. If this were not the case, and the glue that is used to keep braces on teeth was extremely strong, the actual enamel of the teeth could break when biting on something very hard. We would much prefer a broken bracket than a damaged tooth. Also, brackets must be able to come off so that we can remove them at the end of treatment.
Since this is the case, it is necessary to not apply too much force on the bracket while eating. The best way to avoid too much force is to avoid extremely hard foods or extremely sticky foods. Hard foods may be popcorn, ribs, chicken wings, or even worse, ice! Sticky foods would be caramels, taffy, or gum.
In reality, most food can be eaten as long as it is cut up in to small pieces and care is used when chewing.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR APPLIANCES
The best way to care for your appliances is to ensure your teeth are very clean. Every time you eat, it is best to clean any remaining food or plaque from the orthodontic appliances so that your teeth will stay clean. When food is present in the mouth, bacteria converts food debris to acid, which can damage enamel and cause cavities. Brushing three times per day will help to ensure that your teeth remain healthy throughout treatment.
BRUSHING AND FLOSSING WITH BRACES
It is extremely important to brush and floss well when wearing braces. When brushing, you should focus on brushing the areas of the teeth where brackets are glued and the area between the gums and the braces as those are the places that accumulate plaque the easiest and are most likely to get “white spots.” You will also want to use a proxy brush to clean between the wire and the tooth and between every two brackets. Lastly, using a floss threader will allow you to pull floss over the orthodontic wire so that you can floss in between each pair of teeth in your mouth. There is no doubt that it will require more time to keep your mouth squeaky clean while wearing braces, but the beautiful smile that results is well worth a little extra time spent on oral hygiene.
Brushing teeth with braces is more difficult with braces; however, once some simple tricks are learned, cleaning teeth with braces is easily managed. Adjunct tools such as electric toothbrushes or the WaterPik can make the process even more manageable, and we recommend these adjuncts for all of our patients.
DEALING WITH DISCOMFORT
In the past, at every visit, an orthodontist would have to bend a very thick and rigid steel wire that would place large forces on the teeth and teeth would become very sore in the days following when braces were “tightened.” Times have changed and so has the experience of braces. We now use super-elastic Nickel Titanium wires to initiate treatment that do not require bending and therefore apply extremely light forces. These forces rarely result in soreness. When there is occasional soreness, it is usually mild and dissipates rapidly. Taking Tylenol before and or after the appointment is usually sufficient to address any soreness.
If you every have questions about caring for your braces, don’t hesitate to ask us. We’re here to help you smile!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ORTHODONTICS
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.