For people with tooth and jaw alignment issues, braces are the best option to achieve a winning smile. But it is essential to know what to expect from your braces before and after they are applied and removed.
Things to Know Before Getting Braces
There are several factors to consider about braces, before and after they are applied. Your unique case may require a specific type of braces; the length of time you will need to wear them can vary, as well as the overall cost.
Types of Braces
Metal braces are the traditional style of braces that are composed of high grade stainless-steel brackets which are adhered to your teeth and are connected by metal archwires which need to be periodically tightened to increase the level of pressure on your teeth. Your orthodontist may also add rubber bands to your braces to increase the force to address significant bite problems.
Ceramic braces are similar to metal braces; however, the brackets and archwires are either clear or tooth-colored for a discrete alternative. Ceramic braces also don’t irritate the soft tissues in your mouth as much as metal braces.
Clear aligners use a series of prefabricated trays that are customised to your mouth to correct a variety of cosmetic orthodontic issues. Because they are almost invisible, they are often used for adult orthodontic work, as they interfere less with their quality of life.
How Do Braces Work?
Braces work by applying constant pressure to your teeth to gradually move your teeth along your jaw. Your teeth are not connected directly to your jawbone. There is a soft membrane that connects your teeth to your jaw and controls how your teeth are positioned. Braces encourage your teeth to move along this membrane until they find the correct alignment.
You will need to visit your orthodontist approximately every 4 – 6 weeks to tighten the archwires and replace worn out rubber bands. The length of time between visits depends on your treatment timeline and the types of braces to have applied.
Are Braces Painful?
You may experience some discomfort in your teeth before and after braces, as your mouth needs time to become used to the sensation. You may also need to practice speaking and eating with braces, until it feels comfortable and natural. You may also experience some tension and mild headaches immediately after the braces are applied, which can be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers. If you continue to experience discomfort, talk with your orthodontist at Southern Smiles about how to relieve discomfort associated with braces.
What to Expect After Braces
The biggest benefit you can expect after braces is beautiful, straight teeth. However, there are some important things to remember after having your braces applied and removed to ensure that they perform effectively.
How Long Do I Need to Wear Braces?
The length of time you need to wear your braces is usually between 12-24 months depending on your level of growth, how severe your orthodontic problem is, and how well you care for your braces and teeth.
Changes to Your Diet
For most types of braces, you will need to make adjustments to the food you eat. Chewy and sticky foods like lollies, dried fruit and gum can become stuck around your brackets and are difficult to remove, while hard, crunchy foods can snap wires and damage brackets leading to injury and repairs.
Caring For Your Teeth and Braces
To keep your smile bright while your teeth are being straightened it is important to keep a good oral hygiene routine. However, when wearing braces you may need to modify your brushing and flossing techniques to clean correctly around the brackets and wires.
If you play sports, it is recommended that you wear a specially designed mouthguard to go over your braces to protect both your mouth and the device from damage.
After your braces are removed, it is vital to wear your retainer to prevent your teeth from relapsing. Clean your retainer each time you take it out of your mouth with water and brush it regularly with a soft toothbrush to remove bacteria to keep your new smile healthy.
Some patients may experience some discolouration around the brackets after wearing braces. This can be corrected with professional teeth cleaning and whitening after your have your braces removed.
Braces can help to straighten your teeth and give you a smile that you can be proud to show off. Call Southern Smiles Dental on (02) 8503 9902 to talk with our experienced staff about what you can expect from your braces, before and after.