Many adults and teens feel like they will look childish with braces on. However, that still doesn’t stop more than 4 million people wearing braces each year in the U.S. Yes, braces are harder to clean and require more care. However, that care only takes a few extra minutes each day, and you have orthodontic options that can make you extremely happy with your braces. Find out how you benefit from orthodontics!
Your First Week with Braces
When you first get brackets and wires on your teeth, you will have tooth sensitivity for a few days. That sensitivity and soreness will wear off, but during that time, stick to soft foods such as pasta, yogurt, mashed potatoes, etc. Over-the-counter painkillers (like acetaminophen) can help curb pain that first week and at each braces adjustment.
Your braces will feel bulky in your mouth at first, but will quickly start to feel normal. Even though there are changes with braces, you can be successful with your treatment if you do everything the orthodontist tells you. This includes using your bands like they tell you, having good oral health and avoiding foods that can cause you trouble.
There are foods you want to avoid that will either break your brackets or wires or that will become stuck in them. Many foods on this list are also full of sugar, which is what makes plaque that coats your teeth. When plaque sits on the teeth, it decays them and erodes them. Avoid foods like:
- Hard candies
- Chewing on ice
- Apples, carrots, and hard fruits and veggies
- Popcorn (because of kernels), nuts and chunky peanut butter
- Chips and hard snacks
- Caramels, licorice, taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Starbursts, Sugar Daddies, Skittles and similar candies
- Corn on the cob
- Dried fruit, fruit snacks and gummies (which get stuck in brackets and teeth)
Taking Care of Your Teeth
Caring for your teeth through proper oral hygiene is essential if you want to love your braces and if you want your teeth to be in good shape when they come off. Patients who skip brushing and flossing will end up with tooth decay, tooth erosion (worn away areas of the teeth) and stains on their teeth when the braces come off. Don’t let that be you! Follow these tips for taking care of your braces successfully:
- Brush, brush, brush! Aim for three times a day instead of just the recommended two times. The American Dental Association recommends that patients brush for at least 2 minutes every time, at least morning and night. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush that will be more gentle on your teeth and switch out your brush every 3 months.
- Floss your teeth. Flossing is the thing that is most often skipped, especially by children and teens. However, flossing gets about 40% of your tooth surfaces that brushing misses. It is one of the only ways to dislodge stuck food that will decay your teeth. Floss 1-2 times a day. However, invest in flossers or threadable floss, which you can pull through the cracks in your teeth, getting under the wires. This makes flossing so much easier.
- Use a Waterpik and brush. Patients often get food stuck in their teeth that flossing and brushing can’t get out. A waterpik is a small device that shoots water. You shoot the water where you want to dislodge the food or particles in brackets or in between the teeth. A braces brush looks like a tiny Christmas tree. It can get all the gunk out of your brackets and wires with ease.
- Don’t chew on non-food items! Pencils, fingernails, and any other hard item can break your braces.
Benefits that Braces Can Give You
Some patients love their braces, while others don’t. If you are the latter, just remember why you are getting braces: you are looking forward to that beautiful, straight smile. You only have braces on for 1-2 years. If you get through that time, you get to have a straight, beautiful smile for life. Studies show that your smile goes a long way as well. It’s one of the first things others notice about you. In studies done about straight teeth vs. crooked teeth, the impressions others got were quite impressive:
- Invisalign (Align Technology) found that people with straight teeth were 45% more likely to be hired for a job.
- They were seen as 58% more likely to be wealthy and successful.
- People perceived people with straight teeth as healthier, happier, and even smarter than others.
- A whopping 73% of people were more likely to trust someone with straight teeth as well!
Whether you love your braces or not, just remember the amazing benefits that come from having a straight smile. It will not only improve your social life, but straighter teeth are easier to clean and less prone to tooth decay and oral health diseases as well.
Being Happy with Your Braces
The best way to be happy about your braces is to choose braces that you love. Some patients prefer metal braces because they are the most economical choice, while others like Invisalign because they are removable. Patients also enjoy clear, ceramic braces that are like traditional braces, but made from white, ceramic material. If you want the sturdiness of metal braces, but want them hidden like Invisalign, you can also choose our lingual braces option.
These are braces hidden behind the teeth. If you are self-conscious about your appearance and want to straighten your smile quickly, this may be the option you want. No matter what you choose, remember that this is your only time with braces! Enjoy going through this journey and even get your braces at the same time as your friends to make it more fun. For tips about adjustments, appointments and any extra tips for your braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!