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What to Expect if You're Getting Dental Braces

What to Expect if You're Getting Dental Braces

Orthodontic or dental braces are “wire-based appliances” used to improve an uneven bite, crooked teeth, or having too much space between teeth. Improving such conditions lead to better teeth health and appearance. In many cases, dental braces also improve the way a person talks and chews. Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after getting your orthodontic braces.

Referral

During your regular dental check-up, the dentist might inform you that you will greatly benefit from having orthodontic braces. If that’s the case, he or she may refer you to an orthodontist, a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of misaligned jaw and teeth.

Of course, it’s also possible that you decided to have braces on your own, especially if you have concerns like an uneven bite or crooked teeth. If that’s the case, you might not need a referral; you can contact a trusted orthodontist and set an appointment with him or her.

The Consultation

The next step in getting your orthodontic braces is consulting the orthodontist.

Whether you’ve been referred by your dentist or you visited the orthodontist on your own, you still need to explain your situation in detail. Discuss with them things like the discomforts you’re feeling and when you started experiencing them. If available, bring your latest dental x-rays and related laboratory results.

To assess your teeth and jaw alignment, they’ll ask you to bite into rubber material for a few minutes in order to make a plaster model of your teeth. They might also order a dental x-ray or digital scan of your mouth.

After a thorough examination, the orthodontist would determine if you would really benefit from having dental braces or require other treatment.

Should you need orthodontic braces, they will use the mold and scans to set up your treatment plan and create a mock-up of the braces.

Setting the Timeline

In some cases, you don’t go straight from consultation to the installation of braces. For one, you need to get your teeth professionally cleaned a couple of days before.

Additionally, if the orthodontist finds any concerns you need to address first, they might postpone the installation until everything’s sorted out. For instance, if your mouth is “overcrowded,” they might advise you to undergo tooth extraction first so that there will be adequate space in the jaw for the existing teeth.

They may need to extract teeth as well if you have impacted wisdom teeth. These may cause unwanted forward pressure and movement of your posterior teeth.

orthodontic braces

Getting the Braces

On the day you’ll get the braces, remember to brush and floss your teeth. Are you worried about injections? Remember that the procedure doesn’t use needles. Furthermore, most people don’t experience pain, although there are reports of some pressure.

Here’s an overview of what will happen:

  • The orthodontist will use a retractor so you can comfortably keep your mouth open; this also helps keep the mouth dry.
  • They will then apply a mild solution on each tooth surface before rinsing.
  • Afterward, the orthodontist will apply adhesive on each tooth and the bracket will be placed on top of the adhesive.
  • Excess adhesives will be removed and the rest will be cured with a special light.
  • With all the brackets in place, the orthodontist will start threading the wire through each bracket. Please note that this process varies depending on the type of braces you need.

Generally, the entire process takes about 90 to 120 minutes.

Aftercare

After getting your orthodontic braces, you’ll receive instructions for aftercare. Remember that you’ll need some time to get used to wearing braces and that you might feel uncomfortable in the first few days.

Should you feel some discomfort, consider rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater. You can also eat soft, cold foods such as yogurt and ice cream. The orthodontist might also prescribe you pain-relief medication.

Listen closely and take note of the instructions the orthodontist gives you regarding brushing and flossing your teeth. You might need to purchase orthodontic toothbrushes with concave tips to clean your teeth and the surface of the braces at the same time. Special flosses are also available for people with braces.

In the meantime, avoid chewy, sticky, and hard foods that require a big bite or a lot of chewing. Consider foods like pudding, mashed potatoes, and soup. Over time, you’ll be able to tolerate other kinds of foods much better.

Final Reminders

Don’t forget to show up to your dental appointments after getting your orthodontic braces. This way, the orthodontist will be able to spot any concerns right away and you’ll receive the oral care you need.

Learn more about Cosmetic Dentistry here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Are you too old for braces?
https://www.health.harvard.edu/oral-health/are-you-too-old-for-braces
Accessed March 25, 2021

Dental braces
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/braces/about/pac-20384607
Accessed March 25, 2021

The Basics of Braces
https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/braces.html
Accessed March 25, 2021

Braces
https://www.aaoinfo.org/blog/parent-s-guide-post/beginning-treatment/
Accessed March 25, 2021

Impact of fashion braces on oral health related quality of life: a web-based cross-sectional study
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12903-020-01224-1
Accessed March 25, 2021

AAO – Brushing And Flossing While Wearing Braces
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obuCKwrlfbM
Accessed March 25, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Jun 17
Medically reviewed by Grazielle Millo-Paderes, DDM, MSc