What to Expect When Getting Braces for Teeth

Although most of those who are prescribed braces for teeth are children and teenagers, 20% of people wearing braces today are adults.

Are your teeth crooked? Do you have gaps you’d like to close up? Maybe you hesitate when asked to smile in a photo. It may be time to visit an orthodontist to talk about getting braces for your teeth.

The idea of getting braces can produce anxiety, especially if you don’t know what to expect.

Keep reading to learn all about the process of getting braces and how to manage your braces once they’re in. You’ll be ready for your brighter smile in no time.

Types of Braces for Teeth

Whether you’re getting braces for gap teeth or because you have an overbite, there are different types of braces for teeth to consider. You may opt for traditional braces, ceramic braces, or clear teeth aligners. 

Traditional (metal) and ceramic (tooth-colored) braces are affixed to your teeth. Clear teeth aligners go over your teeth and are removable for eating and brushing.

Each of these choices has pros and cons, so you’ll want to go over all of them with your orthodontist.

What to Expect When Getting Your Braces

If you choose clear teeth aligners, a mold will be made of your mouth. You’ll receive a set of custom clear trays to change out every few weeks throughout your treatment.

If you go with traditional or ceramic braces, you will first need to have x-rays or a 3D scan done. These will help to determine if you need spacers or if removing teeth for braces is necessary.

Once your mouth is ready to go, the orthodontist will place brackets (metal or ceramic) on your teeth with a special adhesive. Wire will be run through the brackets and secured so straightening can begin. 

Managing Pain

It is completely normal to experience some pain after starting your braces treatment. There are several options for managing this pain.

If the brackets irritate the inside of your mouth, you can use orthodontic wax. This can be placed directly over the brackets to cushion them against your inner cheek and lips. You can even eat while using orthodontic wax, and you can continue to reapply it until you adjust to your braces.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medication such as Tylenol or Advil can relieve pain following brace installation or a tightening. You can also buy OTC oral anesthetics in a spray, lozenge, or gel to apply directly to any irritated area.

Maintaining Your Braces

There are many do’s and don’ts when caring for dental braces.

You’ll need to brush more often and for longer to make sure you’re getting out any food particles hiding among those brackets and wires. This will also prevent stains on your teeth that could be there after brace removal.

Take care with what you eat. Try to avoid food that is crunchy, hard, or sticky. These can do damage to the brackets and/or wires and prolong your treatment. You should also plan to cut up food you would normally bite into, such as apples.

Be sure to follow all your orthodontist’s directions. Attend your follow-up appointments and correctly use any peripherals, such as headgear or bands.

So You Think You Need Braces…

If you believe your dental issues could be resolved with braces for teeth, speak first to your dentist. Once they’ve confirmed braces are in order, arrange a consultation with an orthodontist. Treatment can get underway quickly and easily.

It’s no fun to have teeth that may not be up to par. Luckily, there are options available that will have you smiling—even for photographs!