Do you know what to expect when you get braces? There’s a lot of misinformation out there and sometimes it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction.
At Sims Orthodontics, we spend a lot of time with our patients who are getting braces in Pensacola, Crestview, Milton or Gulf Breeze. We want to make sure that they understand the type of braces they’re getting, how to care for their braces and teeth during treatment, and what they can expect to see when their braces are removed.
Types of Braces
It wasn’t that long ago that getting braces meant that you would have metal braces. They were the only option available. However, advances in orthodontics and technology mean that people who get braces today have choices.
Here are the various types of braces and some basic information about them.
- Metal braces are still the most common type of braces. They are made of high-grade stainless steel. However, it is important to know that today’s metal braces are both smaller and significantly more comfortable than the metal braces of the past.
- Ceramic braces are a popular option for adults. The ceramic used to make them is translucent, which makes them less obvious than metal braces.
- Gold braces are made of the same high-grade stainless steel as regular metal braces, but they have a coating of 24-karat gold on top of the steel. We have patients of all ages who request gold braces to give their smiles some pizzazz.
- Invisalign system uses clear overlay templates known as aligners. The aligners are computer-generated and can be used to correct certain types of problems with adolescent and adult teeth.
You should talk to your orthodontist about which type of braces are best for you. Some of the choices available are cosmetic and a matter of preference. The most important thing to remember is that you do have some choices when you are getting braces in one of our locations in Crestview or Pensacola.
Caring for Your Braces and Teeth
Caring for your teeth while you wear braces is essential. If you don’t properly clean your teeth – or if you eat foods that distort or ruin your braces – your treatment may be extended.
Let’s start with oral hygiene. We spend a lot of time with our patients who are getting braces to ensure that they know what they need to do to keep their teeth healthy.
The first thing you’ll need to do is brush your teeth regularly. Many people don’t bother brushing after lunch or right before bed, but we recommend brushing four times a day for the best results. It’s very important to ensure that food doesn’t get caught under your braces or between your teeth.
You should brush:
- After breakfast
- After lunch (or immediately after school if brushing after lunch isn’t an option)
- After dinner
- Right before you go to bed
Any brushing that you do after a meal should happen as soon as you finish eating. We recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush in small circular motions. Don’t forget to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth, too!
The next thing you’ll need to do is to floss every day before bed. You don’t need to floss every time you brush, but it is critical to floss so you remove food particles that may be caught between your teeth. You can use a floss threader to make the process a little easier.
You should be aware when you first get braces that your gums may bleed a little when you floss. That’s normal at first, but if it continues, you should make sure to let us know about it.
The final thing you need to do to protect your teeth and braces is to watch what you eat. Most foods are safe to eat, but you should avoid:
- Hard foods like ice, hard candy, and nuts
- Chewy foods like gummy candy
- Sticky foods like caramel and taffy
Chewing ice cubes, for example, can damage your braces and bend the wire out of the brackets. If that happens, your braces won’t be effective and will need to be replaced. That can add time and expense to your treatment.
The good news is that these restrictions won’t remain in place forever. When you’re getting braces, it may help to think of these dietary changes as short-term sacrifices that will lead to you having a healthy, attractive smile at the end of treatment.
What to Expect from Your Braces
Our patients at Sims Orthodontics often ask us what to expect when they are getting braces. Here are a few things we think you should know.
- Braces are not painful to wear. It’s true that you may feel some minor discomfort when you first get your braces, but today’s braces are far more comfortable than the braces of the past.
- You can still do your favorite activities when you get braces. For example, you can play a musical instrument or participate in sports. You’ll need to wear a mouth guard when you’re playing sports, and you may need to adjust to the feeling of playing a musical instrument with braces. However, people with braces do these things and many others without a problem.
- Your braces won’t set off metal detectors, nor will they interfere with your computer or radio. The metal they’re made out of – stainless steel – is not what metal detectors are looking for and metal can’t impact your electronic devices.
- Braces don’t work overnight. They take time because they are literally moving your teeth and – in some cases – your jaw. It’s important to be patient.
The good news is that if you care for your teeth and braces, wear elastics as instructed, and protect your mouth when necessary, in about 18 to 24 months you’ll have the smile you’ve been dreaming of.
Getting braces in Pensacola, Crestview Milton or Gulf breeze locations can be a big change. It’s true that you will need to take special care of your braces and be patient, but wearing braces is the best way to straighten your teeth, correct your bite, and make your radiant smile look its best.
To schedule an appointment with Sims Orthodontics or learn more about our braces, please click here.