A young woman with braces on her teeth

Getting Braces: What You Need to Know

So you've concluded that you or your child need braces. Congratulations on making such an important decision. But now that you've decided, nervousness may set in. But don't worry, whether it's you or your child who will be sitting in the orthodontist's chair, we're here to make sure you feel mentally and physically prepped to take this next step. Learn all you need to know about putting on braces, including what the procedure entails and how your orthodontist will clean your teeth before you get braces.

Understanding Braces

Before you start the process, it's crucial to understand what braces are made of and how they'll affect your teeth.

Braces consist of the following parts:

  • Brackets that are attached to the teeth and have slots on each side
  • Wires that are threaded through the slots in the brackets
  • Tiny rubber bands that hold the wires to the brackets

Some people may even need to have metal bands encircling their back teeth.

There are also ways to customize your braces so that they reflect your unique style and personality.

The Process

Your orthodontist will first call you in to create an impression of your teeth and soft tissue to make your braces. An impression is essentially a cast of your teeth that helps your orthodontist study the relationship between your teeth and jaw.

Another thing to remember to do before the actual day is to visit a dental professional for cleaning. Your teeth need to be adequately cleaned before you get braces so that they properly attach to your teeth. And of course, don't forget to floss and brush before your appointment. If they aren't clean enough, your orthodontist will have to clean your teeth with a polishing paste before affixing the braces.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the actual procedure should take about 90-120 minutes. A retractor will be placed in your mouth to keep it as dry as possible. A special adhesive will be placed on each tooth so that the brackets can attach to your teeth. After all the brackets have been placed, the wire will be threaded through them. The wire will most likely be held to the tooth with the help of tiny rubber bands.

Expect Some Discomfort

After you complete the procedure, you might find that your teeth feel a little sensitive. This is entirely normal. Your new braces may even cause sores in your mouth. At first, it's best to only eat soft foods like pudding, applesauce, bananas, mashed potatoes, etc. You can take over-the-counter pain medications if needed.

However, if you're experiencing high levels of discomfort and the pain won't subside even after taking OTC pain medication, then you will want to consult with your orthodontist.

Braces and Oral Care

Your orthodontist is the best person to ask all your questions about taking care of your braces. Remember to schedule regular checkups so you can keep track of your progress. You also need to make sure you're brushing and flossing regularly and even using an oral irrigator to get rid of any food particles that get caught in your braces. It's also probably best to avoid sticky foods.

Getting braces is undoubtedly nerve-wracking, but taking the necessary steps to prep for it should help you feel more confident and comfortable during the procedure. Next stop: A perfect smile!

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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