What to Expect When Getting Braces
Braces are important for healthier and straighter teeth, but what can you expect from the treatment experience? Braces are meant to correct an oral misalignment–both in the teeth and the jaw–and are typically worn anywhere from one to two years. Post-braces treatment also typically involves the use of a retainer to maintain alignment in the teeth. The exact length of treatment will vary by the individual. Braces treatments can be an involved process since they require regular checkups with your orthodontist, good oral hygiene, and some dietary restrictions. It’s, therefore, helpful to understand some of the expectations for the treatment overall.
Maintenance & Checkups
The ongoing maintenance of your braces is an essential part of successful treatment. Taking care of your teeth with braces is just like taking care of them without, but with a few key distinctions. Braces are metal brackets cemented to your teeth and connected with a metal wire that is adjusted for tension to gradually pull your teeth in line. This means that additional care must be taken with brushing and flossing to ensure that your teeth are clean.
This is important for oral health and to progress your treatment. Be prepared to dedicate more time cleaning your teeth and braces during treatment. Regular checkups are also a crucial part of the braces treatment. Over time the braces will loosen and require tightening and adjustment. This is done by the orthodontist to ensure that the teeth are being properly aligned and to calibrate precise positions to direct where the teeth should move.
Diet & Oral Hygiene
These are two of the most important elements of a successful braces treatment, in addition to regular checkups. During the braces treatment, you will have to restrict yourself from certain foods to help maintain your braces. Foods that stick to the teeth easily and get lodged in the crevices between teeth are common items to avoid eating. These include foods like popcorn, taffy, gum, and other items that get easily stuck on or in teeth. With braces, this is especially important since these food items will become lodged in between the wires and brackets of the braces, leading to greater risk for cavities and erosion of enamel if not properly cleaned–and cleaning braces is more work than just cleaning your bare teeth!
Dedicating yourself to maintaining your braces and overall dental health during the treatment will make the whole experience more pleasant and may even lead to a more expedited treatment–though this depends on the progress in how your teeth are aligning, over which you don’t have too much control. Brushing and flossing thoroughly and making regular consultations with the orthodontist will help ensure that your braces experience is positive and productive–giving you a healthier, straighter smile.