Dental Braces: Everything You Need To Know + Aftercare
I underwent dental braces treatment to treat my crowded and crooked teeth. It is like yesterday that I still remember my first appointment with my Ortho! How excited I was and at the same time nervous too! I had a million questions before getting braces and right before getting them on I couldn’t wait to see the final result! Are you thinking of getting dental braces? I’ve you covered! In this post, I share everything you need to know about braces, my personal experience, and tips.
Types of dental braces
Commonly there are three types of braces- metal, clear and lingual. Your Ortho chooses among metal or lingual, which would be best according to your situation. Metal braces contain metal brackets, they are placed on the front of teeth, thus they are very noticeable. But they are easy to clean comparatively with the lingual ones. On the other hand, lingual ones are placed behind your teeth. Cleaning becomes a bit difficult though there are techniques to clean. Accumulation of food is high than the metal ones.
You are always asked if you would like to have metal braces or ceramic braces. Ceramic braces are nothing but clear braces (picture provided below). Though they are not easily noticeable if care isn’t taken properly there are chances of the clear brackets turning pale yellow! Ceramic braces also cost more than the metal ones. However, which ever type you choose- metal or ceramic the final result is the same!
How much does it cost?
I had braces last year and at that time it cost me around INR 25K. The average cost ranges from INR 30K to INR 40K. The prices differ from clinics to clinics also depending upon- dental insurance, if the clinic is government or private. Many clinics also offer payments in installments. Do your research properly and get a free consultation first. I visited two separate hospitals then finalized the second one considering, price, traveling time etc. It is advisable to ask your Ortho the cost, time period and extractions if needed any. If you still get confused then speak to your friends or relatives who had braces.
Age & dental braces
I was 19 when I had braces and most commonly I have seen teens in their 15 or 16 getting braces. Some even get it as early as 12. When I spoke with my dentist he told me that age isn’t a huge factor, if your teeth and gums are healthy you can do the necessary treatments. When talking about braces there are only two important factors- time and money! So age doesn’t have to do anything with braces. But it is advisable to get it as early as possible because the entire braces time is anywhere from a year to 3 years! Plus, you also have monthly appointments with your Ortho.
There may or may not be tooth extraction involved. It depends if you have crowded teeth or milk tooth still sitting in there! (Which was my case!) Hence if there are extractions your gums take time to heal. Therefore it is advised to get it ASAP if your dentist recommends it to you.
Food & dental braces
Yes, there are certain foods which you need to avoid which are hard and may likely knock off the bracket. Hard foods like apples, hard candies, nuts etc. Although apples are not advisable to eat while on braces but my Ortho suggested me to have it cut in small pieces.
You can eat food which is soft and doesn’t take much time to chew. Since through out your braces journey, you will experience sore gums and teeth. So try to eat food which is soft. And you can have as many ice creams as you’d like! Because the coolness from ice creams will help ease your sore gums.
Does it hurt? How much?
As I said, you will experience soreness throughout your braces journey. It doesn’t hurt that much though only there is discomfort while talking or biting down on something hard. (Remember, avoid hard food!) From my experience with braces, if you ask me to rate on the scale of 1-10 (1 being low) how much it hurt me, I would say 4. But I remember having extreme pain twice. And that was when my Ortho was putting on a short wire. And then once when I had my first elastic chain or power chain. (You’ll learn what are all these braces stuff when you get them!) The pain, however, died down slowly once the procedure was done. But my gums did feel sore for a couple of hours! The pain depends from person to person and on your teeth situation. If there is a major movement of teeth, of course, it will hurt. But fret not your Ortho will prescribe you certain pain medications as well.
What to expect during the first few days?
During the first few days, you will experience discomfort while talking or simply on moving your lips too while smiling. You will also get lip sores and the only way to prevent them is by using dental wax. Your Ortho will give a kit containing dental wax or you will be prescribed. You can also get it at your local pharmacist store or online. Use dental wax on the brackets where it could likely cause lip sores. And do not forget to remove the wax before eating.
Also, this is very important- a lip balm! If you are getting braces then a lip balm is a must to use throughout the journey. Yes for men too! There are colorless lip balms available too. You would have come across men’s lip balm many times. Nivea men lip balm is very common and it contains SPF as well.
Your Ortho will provide you with the Do’s & Don’ts. Follow their instructions and try not to miss or skip any appointment. Each appointment takes you a step closer to the end results!
When to call your Orthodontist?
Besides visiting your Ortho on regular appointment dates which are commonly held once in a month. You can also call them or visit them when there is any issue. Issues like- if the wire or the brackets break, the wire is poking etc. Do not try to fix the situation on your own.
Brushing with dental braces
Brush twice daily. After eating make sure to swish with water to remove any food particles stuck in your braces. This would become the most boring task with time but you gotta do it to keep your teeth and gums healthy!
Firstly, throw away your old toothbrush and get a new toothbrush which is soft. You can use either manual or electric toothbrush, only point to remember is that the bristles should be soft. As we talk about brushes, change your toothbrush after every 2-3months. As braces are going to wear the bristles down fast!
You should use a proxy brush to get rid of any chunky food particles. Then the brushing technique which you should follow is- brush above the wire, under the wire, and over the wire to clean around the braces and teeth.
Use a simple regular toothpaste, not whitening ones. you don’t want to end up having pale yellow boxes on your teeth. If you want to keep the habit of using a whitening toothpaste then start using it before getting braces. So that your teeth get used to it. And lastly, use a mouthwash!
Sports & dental braces
You can participate in sports if you have braces. In case you play rough sports then use a dental mouth guard. If you play sports then it is advisable to share this with your Ortho.
DIY braces care kit
You will receive a box or pouch containing all the required braces care tools from your Ortho. In case you don’t receive then you can create your own kit. It’s that simple! I created my own braces care kit since I did not receive any kit from my Ortho nor they were offering.
So here’s what my braces care kit contained-
- Soft travel toothbrush,
- Tongue cleaner,
- Proxy brush,
- Travel sized toothpaste (optional),
- Dental wax,
- Mint gum (optional),
- Dental mirror,
- Paracetamol tablets (on prescription),
- Lip balm and floss!
Once you have completed your braces treatment (Yay!) you’ll be given retainer to wear. Your Ortho will instruct you how to wear, how to remove, how many hours in the day to wear and when to come for the next appointment. This is for temporary retainers- the plastic ones (picture provided below).
There is something called permanent retainer too. Let’s simplify it, this type of retainer is nothing but a wire placed at the back of your teeth. Your Ortho will tell you how long it is needed and when to come for the next appointment to get it removed.
I have both permanent and plastic retainers. I have a permanent retainer on the top and plastic one for my bottom teeth. Cleaning the wire retainer isn’t hard, it is quite easy, I always brush the back of my teeth. And most of the time I don’t even know that it’s even there until I touch the wire with my tongue!
I clean the plastic retainer with mildly warm water as suggested by my Ortho. Plastic retainers are to be removed while eating and stored in the case provided.
- Never skip or miss any appointments.
- Keep your braces and teeth clean.
- Follow your Ortho’s advice properly.
- Avoid hard foods and drinks too which could stain your teeth.
- Remember, dental wax and lip balm will be your best friends on this journey!
- Be patient!
And once you are done with your braces treatment the result will be something like this! 😀 Aligned teeth and a beautiful smile! All the best! 🙂
I hope this post was helpful and if you have any doubts, let me know in the comment section below! I will get back to you ASAP! 🙂
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Note: Please don’t make any DIY in huge quantity. For any DIY try to finish it within 10 to 15 days.