Each year, an estimated 9 million people in the US receive orthodontic treatment. For many, that means getting braces for the first time.
Braces are designed to treat a range of orthodontic problems, from overbites and underbites to crowding to gaps and beyond. Braces are one of the most common orthodontic treatments available today, but that doesn’t mean that new patients don’t have questions.
If you’re preparing to get braces in Cleveland, Ohio, you’re in the right place. Today, we’re going to address many of the questions and concerns we discuss with our patients each day.
Read on to learn everything you need to know before your next orthodontic appointment.
Braces Aren’t Just for Kids
Thanks to movies, TV shows, and orthodontic trends of the past, some people assume braces are for kids. That said, many people were unable to get braces in their childhood. Others may not have needed them in childhood but, due to factors like erupting wisdom teeth or uneven chewing patterns, could benefit from them now.
In recent history, an estimated 25% of braces wearers are, in fact, adults. No matter your age, you deserve to have a smile you love and alignment that supports your oral health.
Braces Aren’t the Only Option
If it has been a while since you last visited your Cleveland orthodontist, you may not know what options are available for you or your teens. Traditional braces have made great strides in the past several decades, but they’re also no longer the only tool used to straighten teeth.
Some patients prefer clear aligners like Invisalign. Though not 100% invisible, these aligners are more discreet than braces and provide a flush fit that won’t alter the shape of your face and mouth. Invisalign is a great choice for anyone with minor alignment issues, like gaps or mild overcrowding, that can also commit to the 22-hour-a-day wear time and upkeep of the aligners.
You May Need Preliminary Procedures
Not everyone is a good candidate for braces right away. You may need to undergo other dental and orthodontic treatments before getting braces. For example, it’s important to address gum disease, decaying teeth, and jaw misalignments in advance.
The best place to start is by scheduling a consultation with your orthodontist in Cleveland. We can discuss the current condition of your oral health and any steps you’ll need to take before getting braces, some of which we can complete in our own office and some of which will require a series of dentist appointments.
You May Experience Some Discomfort
Braces are not as painful as some patients expect them to be, but they can create discomfort. Typically, patients experience the most discomfort while getting braces put on for the first time. This process can take up to two hours and may leave you with a bit of a sore jaw and tooth pain, which you can alleviate with over-the-counter pain medication.
This type of pain may occur each time you have your braces tightened due to the pressure braces put on your shifting teeth. If individual brackets cause any scrapes or sores on the inside of your mouth, cover them with orthodontic wax to create a smooth, scratch-free surface. If you experience any new or severe pain, talk to your orthodontist in Middleburg, because this may indicate a serious (and unusual) problem.
Oral Care Is Crucial
It’s always important to brush your teeth each morning and night, floss at least once daily, and visit your dentist for teeth cleanings every six months. When you have braces, this oral care routine becomes even more important, because the braces create additional nooks and crannies where plaque can build up and cause cavities or discoloration.
When brushing your teeth with braces, make sure to angle the toothbrush so that you’re getting the spaces above and below each bracket. Flossing with braces is notoriously difficult, and you will need either a floss threader or a water pick to clean between each tooth. You may want to start carrying a travel toothbrush with you when you’re out and about because food does have a tendency to get stuck in braces and you’ll want to remove it ASAP.
Treatment Time Varies
Many people wonder how long they’ll need to wear braces before their teeth are aligned and the braces can come off. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to talk to your Cleveland orthodontist.
It tends to take between one and three years for traditional braces to do their job. This wide range has to do with factors including the current state of the patient’s teeth, their oral health, and the type of braces they choose.
You May Need to Adjust Your Diet
As we mentioned already, food will get stuck in your braces. Some food can even damage your braces or get so stuck that it’s difficult to remove.
While you have braces, you’re going to want to avoid certain foods, like sticky candy, popcorn, nuts, and corn on the cob. You should also stick to cooked vegetables and cut fruit because biting into crunchy or hard food can damage the wires and brackets.
Need Braces in Cleveland, Ohio? We Can Help
Getting braces can seem like a major ordeal, but the truth is that it’s a very routine practice. As one of the top providers of Cleveland orthodontics, we can answer any remaining questions you have after reading this guide.
Are you ready to embark on the journey of getting braces in Cleveland, Ohio? Contact us to schedule a consultation so that we can assess your oral health and orthodontic needs.