Having straight teeth can seriously boost your confidence.
Braces are a simple way to transform your look. But do they hurt?
Many people are hesitant to get braces because they don’t know what to expect once the braces are on.
If you have been thinking about getting braces for yourself or your child but aren’t sure what to expect, keep reading.
The Placement Appointment
The actual placement of braces is a piece of cake and will not cause you any pain.
If you try to eat meals within the first few hours after getting your braces on, you may have some trouble. It won’t be painful, it will just take you longer than usual to chew.
This is because your mouth needs some time to adjust to the feeling of braces and will need to learn how to chew with them. Your teeth might feel more sensitive than usual.
For the first few days, you should try to avoid hard, difficult to chew foods and should opt for liquid-based foods. Examples of good foods to eat during this time include mashed potatoes, ice cream, macaroni and cheese, soups, yogurt, and shakes.
If you needed an excuse to eat some of your favorite comfort foods, this is it!
2-3 Days After Placement
Things can start to get a little uncomfortable at this point, but don’t panic. Your teeth are starting to realign and the braces are just doing their job.
Your teeth are not used to feeling pressure from archwire and elastic ties. To ease the discomfort of lip and cheek tissues from sharp wires, your orthodontist will show you how to use a special wax to create a barrier between the two.
If you are experiencing soreness, your orthodontist may also suggest using salt water rinses and over the counter pain medication such as Motrin and Advil. These usually work better than Tylenol for this type of discomfort.
Your orthodontist will help you get through this period of time.
5 Days After Placement
At this point, the pain and discomfort associated with the initial placement of your braces should be gone.
Your teeth should have gotten used to your braces. You shouldn’t have any problems eating and should be able to eat pretty much anything except specifically banned foods.
Especially hard foods might still be a little difficult, but overall you can resume normal eating at this point.
Eating With Braces
Everyone will benefit from eating a healthy, well-balanced diet whether or not they have braces.
For those with braces, healthy foods that are hard like carrots or apples should be cut into smaller pieces. This makes it less likely that eating them will cause damage to your braces.
There are certain foods to avoid when you have braces. These foods can either increase your risk of cavities or break your braces.
Damaging your braces will cost you extra time visiting your orthodontist to have them repaired and could extend the time you have to wear them. It’s important to follow your orthodontist’s recommendations to get the most out of your braces treatment.
Foods to avoid include sweets, sodas, and chips. These types of foods create plaque acid that causes tooth decay and gum disease. It’s especially hard to clean your own teeth when you are wearing braces so avoiding these foods is your best bet.
Foods that are overly sticky or chewy such as fudges, caramels, and toffees can damage the wires and loosen the brackets on your braces. Hard and crunchy snacks like popcorn, hard candy, and nuts can also break braces or make them less effective.
Finally, you should avoid foods and liquids with staining potential as certain elements of braces are susceptible to staining.
Regular Orthodontic Appointments
You will need to visit your orthodontist regularly for maintenance on your braces.
Your orthodontist will change the archwires on your braces and the elastic or metal ties around them. If you have colored elastic ties, you will be able to choose a new color at each of these appointments if you desire.
During these appointments, your orthodontist will also make any necessary adjustments to your braces and monitor the overall development of your treatment plan.
These regularly scheduled appointments will also be used to adjust your teeth as necessary. Remember that braces work by gradually moving your teeth, so adjustments will be made to aide in this process.
When you get a new wire and for the first few days after these appointments, you will probably experience some discomfort. You may feel pressure or slight pain.
Just like before, this discomfort will go away in a few days and is a necessary part of getting straight teeth.
If you do experience pain or discomfort during your orthodontic treatment, rest assured that your discomfort can be managed.
As mentioned above, over the counter pain relievers and orthodontic wax are great at relieving pain from braces. If you choose to take pain medications, beginning them before your appointment to get ahead of the pain and keeping up with the doses per the manufacturer’s recommendations is the best way to effectively manage your pain.
Salt-water rinses done 6-12 times a day and chewing sugar-free gum to increase blood flow to the tissues in your mouth will also help.
If You Are Thinking About Getting Braces
If you are thinking about getting braces, the next step is consulting an orthodontist. Your orthodontist will be able to give you specific information about what treatment plan is right for you.
Contact us today for a consultation.