If you’re reading this article, chances are that you are likely considering getting braces. This can be quite a busy time, so we have listed some of the top things to do before you get braces. These tips will help you feel prepared and ensure you get the best result for yourself and your smile. Don’t forget to ask your orthodontist any questions you may have during your consultation as they are experts in the art and science of straightening teeth and will be able to address any concerns you may have.
If you haven’t already done so, book an appointment with your general dentist to get a routine check-up and clean. This is because your orthodontist needs your teeth and gums to be nice and healthy before your braces are fitted.
Also, be sure to thoroughly brush your teeth and floss in the lead up to your appointment so that your teeth and gums are in the best possible condition on the day your braces are applied.
Some foods are not good for braces.
- Nuts and hard lollies
- Chewy foods (such as toffee)
- Hard crust pizza and bread rolls
- Crunchy fruits and vegetables, like whole apples and raw carrots
There are a number of things you can do on the day of your appointment to help settle your nerves and ensure your appointment goes smoothly.
1. Clean your teeth thoroughly
In order to have the cement adhere to your teeth correctly, your orthodontist needs a plaque-free surface, so if you’re wanting to avoid a professional clean before your application it’s best to gently clean your teeth after your last meal before your appointment.
2. Take a before selfie
When we’re feeling self-conscious about our teeth, we tend to smile with our mouth closed, but before we head intakes a photo with our teeth on display. You’ll enjoy looking back on your teeth before treatment and seeing how much your smile is changing along the way.
3. Run your tongue over your teeth
While the temptation is strong, you’re going to want to avoid poking around your braces with your tongue. After cleaning your teeth take a moment to run your tongue over your teeth to feel the smoothness – it will also be the first thing you do once your braces come off.
The fixing of braces to teeth typically only takes up to 45-60 minutes. Some procedures take as little as 30 minutes. Each treatment time will vary with the nature of the treatment. Generally, after your teeth are conditioned and the oral adhesive is applied, the braces are treated with adhesive and fitted to your teeth. After this the orthodontist will usually connect each tooth with wires.
You can get braces without getting your cavities filled. But it is always better to have your specialist tend to your cavities first. That way, you won’t have to experience any of the pain, discomfort, swelling or dangers that may arise when you let cavities go for too long. If you have any cavities, your orthodontist will give you advice on what your next steps should be.
Your dentist or orthodontist will usually recommend whitening your teeth after getting braces, rather than before. This is because some patients notice uneven tooth colour when their braces are removed. The lighter colour is a result of the brackets protecting the enamel from exposure to all of the food and drink you have consumed during the course of your treatment. Click here for more information on teeth whitening after braces.
Your orthodontist will begin by thoroughly cleaning and drying your teeth. With traditional metal or ceramic braces, they will then secure the metal brackets to each tooth using special bonding glue. Next, they’ll slide metal bands around your back molars to secure the brackets, before affixing the archwires with small rubber bands known as ligatures.
A similar process is followed for lingual braces, however, the brackets and wire are placed along the inside of your teeth.
Once your braces are fitted, you’ll need to make small changes to your day-to-day behaviour to make sure your treatment runs smoothly. Here are some of the habits you can start the day after your appointment so you’re not heading back to the chair sooner than your next appointment!
1. Keep pain relief handy
You may experience some discomfort for up to a week as you adjust to your new braces. Make the adjustment period easier on yourself and take some over-the-counter pain relief like Paracetamol (eg Panadol) or Ibuprofen (eg Nurofen) at the first hint of aches or soreness.
2. Eat soft foods
Not only will soft foods be safer for your braces in the long run, but your teeth will probably not be up to the task of anything particularly hard or chewy. Bananas, soups, and pastas are all great options that will play nice with your new braces.
3. Brush your teeth after eating
Keeping food out of your braces can be tricky, but you will have a much easier time caring for your braces – not to mention the health of your teeth and gums – if you start brushing your teeth after every meal. Get a soft travel toothbrush and pop it in your bag so you’ll always have it on you.
You may notice a slight difference in your smile after four weeks, but generally, it takes two to three months for braces to begin noticeably straightening your teeth. As with all orthodontic treatment, every person’s bite and circumstances are different – meaning the time it takes for braces to start visibly aligning your teeth will differ as well. People with slightly crooked teeth will probably notice a difference sooner than those with severe malocclusion.
If you haven’t made your appointment to get your braces yet you can find the best orthodontist in your area by using our Find an Orthodontist tool.