Getting Your Braces On: Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Your smile is often the first thing people notice about you. It tells people you are a fun, friendly person. It can be a source of great confidence, or of powerful self-doubt. A crooked smile can send the wrong message to people you are looking to get to know.
The use of orthodontics to create the perfect smile is common place in the United State, but braces are not a new invention. Archaeologists have found rudimentary braces in the mummified remains of the ancients. Since then, the process has changed drastically.


Determining If You Need Braces


The first step in the processisto identify if you are candidate for braces. The most common use for braces is to straighten teeth. However, an orthodontist can also use braces to remedy a misaligned jaw. A misaligned jaw resultsin either an overbite or an underbite. Both can cause problems when chewing, issues with speech
development, and jaw pain.


The Process of Getting Braces


Once it has been determined you are an eligible candidate for braces and proper prep work has been done, schedule a time with your orthodontist for the procedure to take place. Make sure you schedule enough time in your day for the work to be done, as the procedure takes between one and two hours.
The first thing the orthodontist will do is have your teeth cleaned and dried thoroughly. You should note that this is not a deep cleaning, just a surface clean. If your teeth are too dirty, the orthodontist may reschedule until your teeth can be cleaned deeply.
Once your teeth are clean and dry, the surfaces of your teeth are ready. A dental epoxy will be applied to your teeth. This may have an unappealing taste. The dentist usesthe glue to apply the bracketsto each individual tooth. Then he or she can attach an archwire to the brackets with small rubber bands to hold your teeth straight.
Over the course of your treatment, your braces may need to be adjusted to insure the processis working correctly.


FAQ About Getting Braces


How Long Do I Need Braces? Each mouth is unique, so the treatment time for braces depends on the patient. The average time of use is between 18 and 24 months, but can range from nine months to five years.
Do Braces Hurt? Braces don't hurt, but they can leave your mouth sore. You may feel discomfort the day you get them and on days they are adjusted. Try and avoid contact sports where getting hit in the mouth is common place.
Do I Get to Choose My Own Colors? Check with your orthodontist to see which colors of rubber bands are available.
What Does it Feel Like? Braces can be uncomfortable at times, but modern braces are designed to reduce discomfort. Within the first week of having braces, your mouth may be sore. After four to six months, most patients tend to forget about them.
Will i Have to Eat Through a Straw? Not unless you want to. For the first few days after your braces are on, you will want to stay away from hard and crunchy foods. You can use this as an excuse to eat your favorite ice cream. Once the soreness has disappeared you are free to eat most everything you ate before. Try and avoid chewing gum and foods that are too crunchy, as these have a tendency to get stuck in your braces and break brackets.
Tips for Having a Positive Experience with Braces
Avoid Snags. If your braces have hooks, it's possible they will dig into the side of your mouth. Make sure to wear rubber bands at all times, or use the wax the orthodontist gives you to cover hard edges. This will help to avoid snags and make sure your treatment continues to run smoothly.


Carry Your Goods. Life gets busy and you may be on the go. So what happens when you feel something caught in your teeth and you are far from home? Create a small packet of toothbrush, toothpaste, wax, and flossto carry around with you. That way you will have it when you need it.

In Case of Emergency. There may come a time when a wire breaks. Don't panic, and don't try and fix it yourself. If you bend or try and remove a broken wire you could cause additional damage. Cover any sharp or pointy ends with wax and contact your orthodontist. Your emergency kit may need to include additional rubber bands or lip balm if you are prone to dry lips.
Smile. Braces are temporary and incredibly common. There is no reason to feel self-conscious about having your smile tweaked.
In addition to increased self-esteem, a few benefits from straightened teeth are a heightened ability to clean your mouth and a relief of unnecessary pressure on the gums.
It is important to express any apprehensions or ask any questions you have with your orthodontist; he or she can help relieve your fears.