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The Most Important Things to Know Before Getting Braces

Getting braces is a bittersweet journey. You soon will have a beautiful smile but the process can be uncomfortable. Many patients going into this situation have questions about the changes they will experience and what is going to happen during and after the procedure. Lucky for you, this article will tell you what you need to know about getting braces as we answer some of the most pressing questions people have about the process. These frequently asked questions will give you insight about things to do before getting braces, what to expect during this orthodontic treatment, and general tips for dealing with this exciting change! The reality is, braces are not incredibly fun, but being aware of what you are about to experience will make the process easier and help you understand that the long-term investment will be worth it.

Do braces hurt?

Braces can cause discomfort, but it is mild and manageable. You will experience periods of discomfort along your quest to straight teeth but the pain is predictable, making it easy to take preventative measures. There are a couple of different instances where most people will experience discomfort: when your braces first get applied and when they get tightened. The first few days from when you get your braces are usually the most uncomfortable. Your mouth will feel weird and you may talk funny. Your jaw, teeth, and gums might feel some pressure or aching for the following couple of days but this can easily be managed, much like a headache. One of the most important things to do before getting braces and before getting your braces tightened is taking an over the counter medication like ibuprofen prior to your appointment and the days following.

Another type of discomfort that may occur comes from your brackets and your wires scraping your tongue and the insides of your cheeks. You can easily prevent this from happening by applying orthodontic wax to the areas of your braces that are causing trouble. This rubbing will create sensitive spots in your mouth but using an oral numbing cream can help minimize the issue. These are all normal experiences of traditional braces. Invisalign users will also experience similar pains from the stress put on the teeth and the inside of the mouth getting irritated from the trays. Regardless of what type of braces you choose, your resulting smile will be worth overcoming these minor issues.

Is cleaning your teeth hard with braces?

Something you might not think about is how braces will impact routine activities like your daily oral hygiene. It is still just as important to floss and brush your teeth, but with braces it might take some getting used to. Flossing your teeth is one of the most crucial activities in taking care of your oral health. Flossing is already a tedious task, but now there is a wire in the way, so what do you do? Essentially, you need to get the floss through the wire and in between the brackets, and then it is the same as flossing without braces. It can be troublesome to get the floss in the small area behind the wire, but you can get a flossing threader which is a tool that can help make this process a lot easier. Visualize this solution like a threaded needle for your teeth: the flossing threader is the needle and the floss is the thread. The thin flossing threader can easily fit in the gap of the wire and pull the floss through.

Brushing your teeth with braces is less daunting than flossing but still will be an adjustment. The most important takeaway is making sure you are thorough and brush after each meal to release the lingering food. You will need to clean each bracket individually as well as brushing your teeth like normal to ensure cleanliness. Purchasing a flossing threader and a toothbrush with a small brush head is a great thing to do before getting braces so you are prepared when the time comes. Patients that have Invisalign will be able to brush and floss their teeth as normal but will want to make sure they are cleaning their trays frequently. This is always a topic of concern for people, but rest assured you will still be able to properly brush and floss to keep your oral hygiene in check.

Can you not eat certain foods with braces?

On the days when you are experiencing discomfort as a result of your braces, it will most likely be tough to chew certain foods. Stick to eating soft foods like pasta, smoothies, and sandwiches during periods of discomfort. Besides pain avoidance, there are foods you should steer clear of the whole time you are wearing braces as they can be detrimental to your expensive wires and brackets. Hard or overly crunchy foods like nuts and hard candy could potentially snap your brace off your tooth. Sticky and overly chewy foods like gum or beef jerky put stress on your braces and can be dangerous for your wires. Other foods to avoid are ones that you have to bite into, like apples and corn on the cob, they can be harmful if they are not cut for proper consumption. These suggestions apply to traditional metal braces. People that opt for braces like Invisalign will not have to worry about avoiding certain foods.

Have more questions about braces? If so, contact Fortson Dentistry today to set up a free braces consultation!