There are all kinds of reasons why you may be considering braces. Whether you have bite issues, too much teeth space, a speech impediment, or you simply want straight teeth, before starting treatment, knowing what to expect and what actions to take throughout will ensure you get maximum results.
At the end of orthodontic treatment, you’ll be left with a stellar grin that you can’t wait to show off, not to mention improved oral health. However, to get to this point, here are some things to know and do before, during, and beyond treatment.
Choose the Right Braces
Understandably, you’ll want to pick braces that align with your needs and lifestyle. There are several factors that must be considered before deciding. These include whether you want fixed or removable braces, the costs involved, and the length of treatment. The main types of braces are metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, self-ligating braces, and clear aligners. Naturally, each will come with its pros and cons, so you’ll need to weigh up each one and compare to find a suitable brace.
If you don’t like the idea of wearing braces all day and night, you may like the sound of night only clear aligners from ALIGNERCO. One of the main advantages of these aligners is less wear time. ALIGNERCO explains that you can wear night only clear aligners while you sleep, meaning you won’t have to worry about managing them around daily activities and meals. Whatever braces you decide on, make sure you fully understand what you’re getting yourself into.
We all understand the importance of brushing our teeth twice a day, so whatever brace you decide on getting, you need to keep up with this throughout treatment. If you opt for fixed braces, you’ll need to rinse your mouth with water beforehand. This will help loosen any food that’s become lodged around the braces. Make sure you’re using the correct brushing technique too. Simply position the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use gentle, circular strokes over your braces and teeth.
If you decide on aligners, the main advantage to this is you can take them out before brushing your teeth. However, use this opportunity to clean your aligners with warm water. Also, remember to put them back in!
Floss Each Day
As well as brushing your teeth and gums twice a day, you must get into the habit of flossing if you’re not already. Flossing when you have braces is crucial for both your smile and oral health. Regardless of what method you opt for, ensure you’re flossing regularly as this will stop gum disease from occurring and tooth decay.
Once you start flossing, this enables your braces to work at aligning your teeth, which will leave you with a more confident, vibrant smile. Some people find using a water flosser helps with braces. This is because you can use an orthodontic tip that is effective at eradicating plaque around your dental braces, as well as boosting gum health.
Whatever kind of brace you decide on, you need to think about cavity prevention. One way to prevent cavities and strengthen enamel is by using a fluoride mouthwash during treatment and beyond. When picking a mouthwash for braces, pay attention to ones that contain sodium fluoride. These products will boost your oral health and keep your teeth and gums in good condition throughout. Mouthwash can freshen your breath, prevent discoloration and staining, and is regarded as a safe, excellent addition to your oral hygiene routine.
Avoid Whitening Products
For those wearing fixed, metal braces, you must avoid whitening products altogether. This includes strips, gels, and toothpaste. The reason for this is simple. As the brackets cover part of your teeth, once they’re removed, any areas where the braces were will be darker than the whiter portion. This means you’ll end up having to undergo additional whitening treatment. Obviously, if you decide on aligners, this does not apply as you can remove them. Most people with braces decide on teeth whitening treatment once they are finished with braces.
Carry a Mirror
While it may sound like a strange tip, it pays off to carry a small mirror around with you during treatment, especially if you’re wearing fixed braces. This is because food can easily get trapped in your braces, which can not only look unsightly but increase your risk of gum disease. If you’re going out for food, you can check your braces once you’ve finished eating to look for any stubborn bits of food left behind. If it’s not practical for you to carry a small mirror, simply use your smartphone camera. It can also help to bring a small toothbrush and flossing stick along, which you can use in the restroom to get rid of bits of food.
Avoid Certain Foods
Speaking of food, there are certain ones you must avoid when wearing braces. While you will be fine to eat whatever you like if you opt for aligners, those who have chosen traditional braces need to pay close attention to their diet. If you’re the type of person who gorges on sweet treats and hard candy, now is the time to forego your favorites, at least until treatment is over. This is because hard foods can break the metal wires in your brace. You don’t want anything to go wrong while wearing braces, so sticking to soft foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt, soups, and scrambled eggs is key.
Have Pain Relief at Hand
While most people with braces only experience minor discomfort, others have said it can be painful. If you are struggling with pain, there are products you can buy that can help. These include oral anesthetics like Anbesol or Orajel. You can purchase over-the-counter pain medicine too like ibuprofen, which can help in relieving pain. Some brace wearers find gum massages, ice water, orthodontic wax, and ice packs helpful for alleviating pain too. Should the pain not go away or continue to worsen, make sure you speak to your orthodontist for advice and support.
Wear Your Retainer
If there is one tip that must be stressed, it’s to wear your retainer! Too many people in the past have made the mistake of thinking treatment is completely over once the braces come off. However, this is not the case. To keep your teeth perfectly aligned, you need to ensure you’re wearing your retainer. You may not be aware, but your teeth naturally shift over time, so to stop them from moving back into their old spots, getting into the habit of wearing your retainer is key. For the first 8 weeks especially after your braces treatment, it’s advised to wear your retainer for a minimum of 12 hours a day.
Think Of the End Result
Achieving your dream smile isn’t going to happen overnight. This means you need to be patient when wearing braces and think of the end result. There may be struggles along the way, but if you think positively and look towards the future, this can help make the treatment time speed up and give you the best results.
Before you start the journey of achieving your dream smile, knowing what to and what not to do during braces treatment will minimize the risk of anything going wrong. You’ll want to see results fast, so to avoid prolonged treatment, make sure to take the above into account.