When the topic of getting braces comes up, you’ll undoubtedly hear numerous tales from friends and family about their own experiences with teeth-straightening journeys. It’s only natural for people to share their stories, but it’s essential to take the occasional horror story with a pinch of salt. Modern-day braces have come a long way, being smaller, more streamlined, and significantly more comfortable than their predecessors.
Many of the issues that used to plague brace wearers are no longer a cause for concern. So, if you’re on the verge of getting braces, there’s plenty to be excited about, as they not only straighten your teeth but also gift you with a beautiful smile. However, if you find yourself feeling somewhat anxious about the prospect of braces, fret not, as there are a few things you should know before taking the plunge into the orthodontic deep end.
- Dry Mouth May be a Thing
For some patients, getting braces may lead to experiencing dry mouth. This could be due to a change in chewing habits before treatment, like constant gum chewing or frequent eating and drinking, both of which stimulate saliva production. After braces are applied, these habits might change, leading to a dry feeling in the mouth. To tackle this, make sure to stay hydrated and sip water regularly. Instead of chewing gum, opt for sugar-free hard candies (avoid biting them!). If the dry mouth issue persists, it might not be directly related to braces, and you should consult your doctor to rule out any other underlying conditions.
- Your Diet Will Need Adjusting
Prior to getting braces, you’ll need to start limiting or cutting out certain foods from your diet to prevent potential problems. Sticky and gummy foods like caramels and gummy bears, as well as foods that require vigorous chewing like taffy or jerky, should be avoided. Additionally, very hard foods that you bite into, such as corn on the cob and apples, will require some modification – try cutting and chewing them instead.
- An Uncomfortable Adjustment Period
When you first get braces, you’ll probably experience some discomfort for the initial few weeks. Having brackets adhered to your teeth is a novel experience, and it will take a bit of time to get used to the feeling. However, don’t worry; this adjustment phase will pass relatively quickly. In a matter of weeks, you’ll hardly remember what it was like before braces adorned your smile!
- Prioritize Teeth Brushing
With braces, brushing becomes a tad more challenging, but it’s even more crucial to maintain excellent oral hygiene during treatment. To be well-prepared, put together a travel pack for your on-the-go oral care. Include a toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste, and a gum-safe toothpick. Food particles can easily get stuck between wires and brackets, and regular brushing will help keep your breath fresh and resolve any minor issues.
- A Minor Lisp May Occur
Don’t be surprised if you develop a slight lisp when you first get braces. Attaching metal brackets to your teeth can impact your speech initially, but don’t fret. With time, you’ll adjust to speaking with the added hardware, and the lisp will subside. It’s all part of the journey towards achieving the perfectly straight teeth you’ve always dreamed of!
- Flossing Challenges
Flossing has never been the easiest task, but braces can make it even more challenging. Many people with braces find flossing to be nearly impossible. However, despite the difficulty, regular flossing is vital for maintaining dental health during orthodontic treatment. Consider using flossing threaders to help pull regular floss through the gaps or try a water flosser, which uses a narrow stream of water to displace food particles. While water flossers can be more manageable with braces, dentists generally don’t recommend them as a complete substitute for traditional flossing.
- Brace Tightening and Discomfort
Brace tightening appointments may cause some discomfort, but rest assured that any pain will soon fade. These appointments bring you closer to achieving the smile of your dreams. The level of discomfort can vary from person to person, but being aware of this beforehand will help you prepare for it.
- Rapid Changes in the First Month
Braces work quickly to reshape your teeth and enhance your smile. In just the first month alone, you should notice significant improvements in the alignment of your teeth. Just imagine the transformation that awaits you when it’s time to have the braces removed!
- Brace Hardware Affects Your Lips
Be prepared for your lips to look slightly different with braces. The hardware can push your lips out, making them appear more pronounced. It’s essential to note that these same brackets might occasionally cause minor cuts to your lips, so having some wax at home can come in handy.
- Athletes Need a Mouthguard
If you’re an athlete, wearing a mouthguard will be crucial to protecting your mouth from potential contact with the braces during sports activities.
Getting braces is a significant step towards achieving a more confident and beautiful smile. While there might be some adjustments and challenges along the way, rest assured that the journey will be well worth it in the end. With advancements in orthodontics and the guidance of your orthodontist, you’ll soon be on your way to flashing a radiant, straight-toothed grin that will leave everyone amazed. So, take a deep breath, embrace the adventure, and get ready to embrace your new smile!