Orthodontic treatment involves the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems in the alignment of teeth and jaws, and involves the use of corrective appliances such as braces or Invisalign to bring the teeth and bone structure into proper alignment. We all know someone with braces, but if you’ve never experienced orthodontic treatment before, it can feel daunting and nerve-wracking.
It’s quite a common form of treatment however, and usually nothing to worry about. And it helps to know in advance what to expect, to help alleviate any anxiety about the procedure. Here’s what you can expect when you undergo orthodontic treatment.
Comprehensive orthodontic treatment may take two years
The usual duration of orthodontic treatment is approximately two years, although this will vary depending on how much work needs to be done to align your teeth and your bite. There are Fastbraces options in order to fast track orthodontic treatment and reach your goals sooner. Some realignment changes, especially with clear aligners, can be achieved within six weeks!
If a complex treatment plan is required, the treatment may take longer than two years. While two years sounds like a long time to be dealing with orthodontics, remember that your great new smile will last for a lifetime!
There will be minor amounts of pain involved
While getting braces shouldn’t be overly painful, you will likely experience some discomfort or mild soreness for up to a week afterwards. This can be easily dealt with by using over-the-counter pain relief like Panadol or Ibuprofen and is generally nothing to worry about.
It will take a bit of getting used to – but you’ll get used to it quicker than you might think
Yes, your mouth will feel a bit sore after you get your orthodontics, but this will only last for a few days. Having braces or clear aligners may feel strange at first, as you will have to get used to the new sensation of pressure against your teeth. Chewing and speaking may also be difficult for a little while. However, after a few months you’ll barely notice that you’re wearing them, as having braces will become second nature.
Getting your braces will probably feel like a big deal, but when you look around, you’ll probably notice a lot of people, from teenagers to adults, wearing braces. They’re very common and you should adapt to them fairly quickly.
You’ll need to wear a retainer
Your teeth are making a journey during orthodontic treatment, from one position to another. A retainer will help stabilise your teeth in their new positions while new bone forms around the teeth. You will need to wear either a fixed retainer (thin wires permanently fixed to the back surfaces of your front teeth) or a removable retainer, which is worn at night but taken out during the day. Your teeth are continually moving – they are not permanently fixed in position. You will probably need to wear a retainer for life.
Orthodontics will improve your dental health as well as align your teeth
Orthodontics don’t just straighten and align your teeth, they also deliver some great benefits for your oral health. Straight teeth are much easier to keep clean, which significantly reduces the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. They also function better, and will enable you to chew and speak properly.
You’ll have to change your diet a little once you have orthodontics
Your teeth will be a bit sensitive after you’ve had your braces or other orthodontic appliance fitted, so give them a chance to adjust. In the few days after you’ve gotten braces, try eating softer foods such as pasta, soup or bananas. Once your pain has cleared up you can go back to your regular diet, apart from a few exceptions.
There will be certain foods that you’ll have to avoid once you have braces. Chewy or sticky foods such as lollies, chewing gum, toffee or caramel can get caught in your brackets and eventually lead to tooth decay, so are best avoided.
Hard foods such as nuts or hard lollies, or crunchy foods that strain the jaw, such as whole apples or carrots, can cause brackets to pop off and weaken the glue holding your braces on. This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid all these foods entirely, however. For example, if you want to eat an apple or carrot, just cut it into pieces first rather than biting into the whole thing.
Chewing meat off the bone or corn off the cob is not a wise idea with orthodontics either. And popcorn is extremely tricky to remove from your braces. Anything that can’t be easily cut into pieces (like pork crackling or ice) is also best avoided.
Cleaning your teeth will take longer once you have orthodontics
Keeping food out of your braces can be a challenge, so it’s worth brushing your teeth thoroughly after every meal. Be gentle and careful however, and don’t put too much pressure on your teeth.
It will take a little more time and effort to clean your teeth once you have orthodontics, as you’ll need to make sure food doesn’t get caught or stuck anywhere. And you’ll have to change your toothbrush more often, as the metal brackets will wear the bristles down more quickly than usual.
But the results will be worth it. Good oral hygiene will help your treatment progress faster and will give you the best results. And these habits will be useful to you for life, so it’s beneficial to have them established early on.