Top Tips for Living with Braces
Currently, 4 million Americans are wearing braces, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. If you have or are thinking about getting braces to help straighten your teeth, here is some information to help make the process a little bit easier.
How Long Do You Wear Braces and How Often Should You See Your Dentist?
The length of the process will depend on how much your teeth have to move. On average, traditional braces are worn anywhere between 12 and 24 months. During the treatment, regular adjustments need to be made to ensure that your teeth are being straightened correctly. This means you should expect an appointment every six to eight weeks. These regular appointments are important not only for moving your teeth but for ensuring that the process doesn’t take longer than necessary. Wearing braces does represent a substantial commitment, so make sure you’re willing to schedule and keep those appointments to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Will Braces Affect Your Speech?
While braces are great for achieving straight teeth, many people are afraid that they will impede normal speech. While certain words may be harder to pronounce right after braces are fitted, after a few days your mouth adjusts to the braces and any speech issues will usually be resolved. At most, some patients report having a slight lisp after having their braces put in; however, the problem is hardly ever a permanent issue throughout treatment.
Can You Eat Normally With Braces?
While wearing braces can give you the straight teeth you’ve always wanted, it is important to take precautions when it comes to eating certain foods. Sugary, sticky, or overly chewy foods should be avoided to prevent damage, as should harder foods such as apples, carrots, or hard bread. These can damage or break the brackets and wires (and necessitate another trip to your dentist’s office). If possible, cut foods into smaller bite-sized pieces to make chewing easier. This can also cut down on the amount of food that gets stuck between brackets, which will then need to be carefully cleaned.
When it comes to drinks, try and stay clear of sodas and fruit juices. These are often sugary and acidic, a combination that can lead to tooth decay and tooth erosion. If you do want a sweet drink, make sure to use a straw in order to limit the exposure of the liquid to your teeth and braces.
How Important is Overall Dental Hygiene?
While dental hygiene is always important, it’s arguably even more so when you have braces. By keeping your mouth clean, you can help prevent the onset oof decay, inflamed gums, and tooth decalcification. Decalcification occurs when the calcium is stripped from the surface of your teeth. If this happens, you could be left with white spots once braces are removed. Straight teeth are great, but the effect can be lost if they are stained after all of that work!
What Should You Do if You Damage Your Braces?
Accidents can happen, no matter how careful we are. If you experience any damage, head in to see your dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible. If put off for too long, it could affect treatment and cause your teeth to lose their new positioning. In this case, it’s better to err on the side of caution and book an appointment as soon as possible.
How Should You Clean Your Braces?
Make sure to clean your mouth and braces an hour after each and every meal. Take special care around your braces and make sure to check for anything stuck in between your teeth and the brackets. You can also see about mouthwashes designed for braces to ensure that your mouth gets as clean as possible. You may need to invest in special cleaning tools, as recommended by your orthodontist.
Braces are important for helping us achieve straight teeth. Whether you have braces or are looking into getting them, remember these tips and always consult your dentist if you’re ever unsure of anything. While it may seem like there are a lot of guidelines, wearing braces can be easier than you think! And in the end, any adjustments you need to make to your lifestyle will be well worth the effort.