The decision to get braces is a major first step towards better oral health. So if you’ve made that decision, whether it’s for yourself or your child, you should be congratulated! By wearing braces for several months or a few short years now, you’ll be able to avoid many other dental issues in the long run. While it’s true that the procedure involves several steps, there’s no need to be intimidated by the process. In fact, that’s exactly why we’ve collected the information in this article – to explain what you should expect during the traditional orthodontics treatment procedure.
The Consultation Visit
The first step in enjoying a straighter, more beautiful smile is the consultation visit with your dentist or orthodontist. This is the time when you and your oral health care provider will decide which type of teeth-straightening method is the best choice for you. Although the focus of this article is traditional metal braces, there are other treatment options available as well, such as clear plastic aligners, for example. The type of treatment that is best for you will depend on a variety of factors, such as the severity of your dental issues. For purposes of this article, we’ll assume that you and your dentist or orthodontist have chosen traditional metal braces as your teeth-straightening method.
Prior to Treatment
The First Step in Getting Your New Braces
Your dentist or orthodontist will start the process by taking X-rays of your entire mouth as well as each individual tooth. If your problem is overcrowding, your dentist may insert spacers in between your teeth during this visit as well, in order to prepare you for having your braces inserted. This visit is also the time when an impression will be made of your teeth. This can be done either in the conventional way of using a tray filled with dental putty or, if your oral health provider employs more advanced technology, it may be accomplished with digital scanning of your mouth.
Inserting Your Braces
You’ll need to return to your dentist or orthodontist every few weeks after your braces are inserted for what’s called “adjustments.” This involves your oral health care provider assessing how your teeth are shifting, and swapping out the old arch wire and ligature bands for a new set. This is also referred to as “tightening” your braces. Just as that name implies, you might feel a little discomfort for a few days after first getting your braces and immediately after each “tightening” visit, but that discomfort is temporary.
Most people get used to their braces relatively quickly and experience just a few days of minor discomfort after each adjustment.
Your Last Appointment
Tips on Living with Braces
While you’re wearing your braces, your dentist or orthodontist will probably recommend some or all of the following:
- Stick to soft foods for the first few days after you get your braces. This will be helpful as your teeth and gums get accustomed to the new appliance. Eggs, pasta, smoothies and soups are great choices.
- Avoid chewing anything hard. For the duration of your treatment, try not to chew anything too hard (like ice or hard candy, for example) since that might damage your braces. You should also stay away from foods that are chewy (caramel, for instance) and foods like nuts that can break into small pieces and get stuck in your braces.
- Maintain good daily oral hygiene habits. It can be challenging to thoroughly clean your teeth with braces on, so it’s important that you brush and floss often – preferably after every meal. Your dentist or orthodontist may provide you with a specially designed toothbrush to make brushing your teeth less challenging.
- Don’t whiten your teeth while you’re wearing braces. If you do, your teeth will be two different shades when your braces are removed!
- Wear a mouth guard whenever necessary. If you engage in any kind of vigorous activity or sports, it’s a good idea to wear this type of protection to avoid damaging your braces.
If you’ve decided to get braces for yourself or your child, congratulations! It will probably be one of the best decisions you could make to ensure good oral health in the future. To find out more about traditional orthodontics treatment procedures, contact your dentist or orthodontist today and schedule an appointment.