Do you like your smile? If not, you’re not alone. Out of 2,000 Americans surveyed, 61% of the respondents said they wished they could change something about their teeth. Among several other insecurities, crookedness and gaps between teeth contributed significantly. Fortunately, these issues can be fixed with the proper procedure, and starting young is the key. We at Brentwood Pediatric Dentistry specialize in teeth alignment for patients of all ages.
So, if you’re curious about the process, here’s what to expect when you’re getting braces.
Benefits of Getting Braces
Aside from affecting your appearance, braces have other benefits you might not know about. Some benefits include:
- Improved Oral Health: teeth that are properly aligned are easier to brush and floss
- Prevent Jaw Problems: misaligned teeth can harbor more bacteria, which can result in jawbone erosion if not treated
- Improved Speech: for some, teeth that do not line up can cause minor speech impediments
- Improved Confidence: people who have straight teeth are less anxious about their smile
Braces are not forever, but you can reap the benefits long after being removed, making them well worth the investment.
Types of Braces
Braces have evolved quite considerably over the years, and several options are now available.
- Metal: the traditional braces with brackets and rubber bands
- Ceramic: same as the metal option, only ceramic braces are tinted to match your tooth color
- Lingual: fitted behind your teeth and, unlike standard braces, are more discreet
- Invisalign: uses alignment trays instead of brackets but requires a certified provider to fit
Your orthodontist will discuss your best options with you according to your requirements.
What to Expect When Getting Braces
If you’ve decided to have braces fitted, you might be anxious about what to expect on the day. To help you out, let’s review the process.
Applying the Braces
Depending on which type you choose, the application will differ. For example, with Invisalign, your orthodontist will take a digital 3D scan of your teeth, and with the other types of braces, your orthodontist will take a set of digital x-rays. These scans are to plan the course of treatment to realign your teeth.
Metal, Ceramic, and Lingual:
The procedure to fit these braces only takes an hour or two; however, it could take longer if you have a more complicated problem.
To begin, your teeth are cleaned and dried thoroughly, which will allow the braces to adhere to your teeth. Bonding glue is then applied to your teeth, and the brackets are affixed. Once the glue is set, the orthodontist will attach a series of wires and rubber bands. These bands can also be colorful if you’re quirky enough.
These two components work together to realign your smile throughout your treatment by applying pressure to the teeth and surrounding bones.
As previously mentioned, this treatment uses custom-made alignment trays to restructure your smile. The plastic trays are transparent, so they’re more discreet, and they’re removable, which is helpful when eating. The trays are switched out throughout the treatment every two to four weeks until your teeth are in the correct alignment.
Your orthodontist will need to check the treatment’s progress every six weeks, and new aligner trays will be provided until the procedure is complete.
Your First Week
The first thing you can expect is a little bit of discomfort in your teeth. As the wires and bands apply pressure to your teeth, they will begin to shift, and this is when you might feel sore. This is entirely normal, and you will get used to it after a few weeks.
Eating is allowed, but while your braces are still fresh, it’s advised to stick to softer, gentler foods until you’re more accustomed to the discomfort. At this point, you can resume your regular diet.
You will be provided with orthodontic wax, which you can apply over your brackets if the wires cut into your cheeks or lips. If you need, visit your local drug store to get some over-the-counter pain medication.
How Long Do Braces Stay On?
Every mouth is different, but you can typically expect a duration of anywhere from 18 months to 2 years if you have no complications in your case. The type of braces you choose and the extent of your misalignment will each affect how long your branches stay on.
At the end of your treatment, you will be provided with a plastic retainer to ensure your teeth remain in their perfect alignment. Do not skip wearing this.
Average Cost of Braces
Again, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and the complexity of your case affects the cost. Other factors include which braces type you decide on, which orthodontist you choose, and the location of their practice. Additionally, new technology like Invisalign will be more costly than traditional braces.
A rough estimate of what you can expect to pay is anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000. Of course, you can always enquire with your health insurance to see if they cover dental.
5 Essential Braces Care Tips
Braces are expensive, so you want to give them the respect they deserve. Your braces will thank you if you follow these five essential braces care tips:
- Avoid crunchy foods (like popcorn) that can dislodge the components of your braces
- Avoid sticky, chewy items (like toffee apples) as these can result in a bracket or more coming off your teeth entirely
- Brush after every meal using a soft-bristled toothbrush, paying attention to tricky areas like between the wires
- Keep up with your appointments so your teeth can continue to shift correctly and not extend the duration of your treatment
- If you chose Invisalign, always keep the trays in their protective case when you remove them for eating, etc.
Taking care of your braces will ensure they perform at their optimum level, so your treatment is not extended or delayed.
Find Your Perfect Smile at Brentwood Pediatric Dentistry
No matter your age, you deserve to have a smile that you are proud to show off, and that gives you the confidence to make that great first impression. Giving your child the gift of a perfect smile can go a long way to increasing their self-confidence as they age through the more challenging years of their life, so why wait?
Contact us at Brentwood Pediatric Dentistry to schedule your first appointment when you’re ready to find your perfect smile.