Crooked teeth can be a real aesthetic concern for some people. Regardless of how old you are or what condition your mouth is in, crooked teeth can affect someone’s confidence. Even if a patient has white teeth or great oral hygiene, a nice straight set of teeth may be what sets a smile apart from others, especially in a world where first impressions last. Crooked teeth can be a source of low self-esteem in some others. Furthermore, recent studies show that crowded and malpositioned teeth may also hinder proper gum and teeth cleaning in some circumstances and affect the gum health of an individual negatively. One of the main solutions for crooked teeth, is to move the teeth in a nice and desirable position. The most common way of doing this is through dental braces. This is a controlled and effective treatment modality that provides patients with straighter and more beautiful teeth.

Getting braces might be a treatment which may suit you, if you feel you may benefit from a straighter set of teeth. However, a lot of patients can be apprehensive or a little resistant to the thought of braces and may have questions and concerns. The following blog attempts to quench some of these frequent asked questions and hopefully reduce concerns. Orthodontic care is both a time and financial investment, which is why it’s vital you have the right information and know exactly what to expect.

These are 6 important things to know before getting dental braces.

1) Age Doesn’t Matter

Dental braces can be most commonly associated with the young, so it is no surprise to see kids, teenagers and young adults have their teeth straightened by braces. But, you don’t have to be young to have braces. This corrective treatment has no age limit but they’re not suitable for patients with weakened gums or poor dental health.

2) There Will be Some Discomfort

At first, you may experience some discomfort when you first get them in. Wearing and getting used to new braces can be a painful process. However, getting braces is generally not an overall painful experience.

The new sensations following your fitting, such as soreness and aching, is due to the extra pressure on your teeth. Your mouth will take some time to get used to having metal or plastic close to the tissues of your gums. These painful side effects should subside after a couple of weeks.

Usually, there can be discomfort expected with wire changes. When the dentist changes to a thicker wire, there is more torque and pressure expressed onto each individual tooth, as a result of the edges of the larger wire engaging more intimately into the brackets.

It’s important to remember that the aim for wearing braces is to obtain a healthier mouth and a more attractive smile.

3) Changes in Diet

Once patients have got braces in, it can be difficult to accept that changes in your diet will be required. Cutting out some of your favourite foods can be tough but it is temporary, for as long as you’re undergoing treatment.

During the first few days, it may be best to stick to soft foods like pasta, peanut butter and yoghurt. As the discomfort and pain begins to subside, you can start adding some foods back into your diet.

When wearing traditional meta or ceramic braces, there are only a few foods that you should definitely avoid. These include crunchy foods such as nuts, hard candy and chips, as well as chewy and sticky food such as gummy candy, toffee, gum and caramels. It’s also wise to avoid any foods that require you to bite into like apples and corn on a cob. With ceramic braces, it’s also wise to avoid foods that could potentially stain (such as spices, wine etc.).

4) Most Consultations Are Free

Scheduling a consultation is the best place to start, when deciding whether or not you want to get braces. Visiting the dentist for the first time for an obligation free chat is the easiest way to find out what are the best options for you.

Wearing braces is a long-term measure, with plenty of follow ups and appointments for adjustments, so it’s important that the area where you have braces done is close to home.

5) Treatment Periods Can Last 2-3 Years

When discussing your treatment options, the dentist can often give you an estimate of how long you need to wear braces. The more misaligned your teeth are, the longer you usually have to wear them. The typical duration of treatments for most children and teens is usually around 2 years, however, milder misalignments may be corrected within a year, while more severe cases can take up to 3 years. Predicting exactly how long is difficult with each individual, as many factors can affect the length of treatment. For instance, the speed of movement is different for everyone. In some cases, the speed of the treatment is ultimately determined by yourself (diligence in elastic wear etc.).

If you’re an adult getting braces to correct teeth that have moved slightly out of position, and you previously had braces as a teen, you can expect to wear braces for shorter time periods.

6) Cleaning is Vital

During your dental braces treatment, it’s imperative to clean your teeth thoroughly on a regular basis. If you fail to clean your teeth properly, bacteria can grow between tight places, which can lead to bad breath and cavities you’d rather avoid.

Brushing your teeth will take slightly longer when wearing braces, as it’s important to spend time individually brushing around each brace. Be sure to also to clean in between your teeth. This can be achieved by utilising thicker floss or the use of interdental brushes, or a water flosser. Sometimes poor cleaning during braces can lead to unsightly white spots around brackets. Acid producing bacteria cause minerals in your teeth to leach out, causing a difference in opacity of the underlying enamel.

It’s normal to have some concerns before deciding on any of the available teeth straightening treatments. If you are still considering whether or not braces are right for you, get in touch with the caring and friendly team at Blackburn Family Dental Care. Our experienced and dedicated orthodontists are available for consultation and provide exceptional treatments in teeth straightening for adults.