Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Braces FAQ

eating with braces
You may have some basic questions about braces on your teeth. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about braces asked by patients.

Are braces painful?

Braces were once bulky and more painful than they are today. Nowadays, braces use high-tech wires and smaller brackets to produce shorter treatment times. While wearing braces in not pain-free, many people experience little pain. The most pain occurs right after the orthodontist adjusts your braces, but that pain remains only for a short time and is easily treated with over the counter medications.

How long will I need to wear my braces?

The average length of time people wear braces is between six months and three years. Your orthodontist will be able to give you an estimate of the amount of time you will wear your braces.

How frequently will I need to visit the Orthodontist?

Office visits occur about every four to six weeks.

Can I use a device that looks like a retainer instead of wearing braces?

Retainer-like teeth adjustment devices are usually for people that need only a slight adjustment in their bite. Braces are for individuals who need more serious teeth adjustment.

How long do I need to wear my retainer after my braces come off?

Because teeth are set in bone, you’ll need to wear your braces full time for a while. Eventually, you’ll only need to wear retainers at night. Retainers help hold your teeth in place until the bone around them grows and solidifies around the teeth. Your orthodontist will tell you if can discontinue wearing your retainer.

How often do I need to brush my teeth with braces?

Brushing and flossing are important when you wear braces. If you don’t routinely clean your braces, food and other debris will become stuck around the brackets. You should brush your teeth after every meal and before bed to keep your teeth as clean as possible while wearing braces. Also, routinely use a fluoride rinse to protect your teeth from cavities.

What foods should I avoid eating?

Hard, sticky foods like caramel and gummy bears should be avoided. These treats stick to teeth and give you a greater chance of getting cavities. Hard foods like carrots and apples take a lot of effort to chew. They may break off the brackets or snap the wires of your braces.

More questions about braces? Visit your local dentist. For me, that's Daniel J. Derksen, DDS, PLLC, my dentist in Lansing, Michigan. He was happy to walk me through all of my options when I had to get braces. Years later and my smile is the best it's ever been!

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