Achieving straighter, whiter teeth has never been easier to do than it is now. Cosmetic dentistry has evolved with impressive results over the years. Today, there is a wide range of solutions available to address most dental issues, like crooked and misshapen teeth. And in this regard, braces remain a highly popular option.
Braces, Fort Lauderdale dentists say, are a proven teeth straightening treatment that works by applying continuous pressure over a certain period of time to move the teeth and change the bone shape slowly in the desired direction. Braces are made up of the following:
- Brackets — There are small squares made of tooth-colored plastic or stainless steel bonded directly in front of the teeth using a special bonding agent. They hold the arch wires that help move the teeth.
- Arch wires — These are attached to the brackets, guiding the movement of each tooth. They can be made of clear or tooth-colored metal.
- Bands — These are wrapped around each tooth, providing anchor for the brackets. The band of the last tooth is equipped with a buccal tube to hold the end of the arch wire in place.
- Spacers — These are separators placed in between teeth to create space for the orthodontic bands.
- Ties — These are fine wires or small rubber rings used for fastening the arch wires to the brackets.
Each of these components works hand in hand with the others to make your teeth straighter.
Here are four things you must learn about braces so you can know what to expect if you are advised to get this treatment.
1. Braces can hurt
Getting braces involves some discomfort, but this is mild and manageable. You can feel the worst pain immediately after the braces are applied and the wires are tightened. The best way to keep it under control is to take over-the-counter medication or hold ice against the outside of your lips or cheeks.
Also, you may feel some stinging as the brackets and wires scrape your tongue and cheeks. Minimize the pain by applying a wax over the braces.
2. Making some dietary changes is necessary
A change in diet is one of the more challenging aspects of getting braces. Luckily, this is just temporary. You can go back to your usual diet once your dental problem is resolved.
Foods you must avoid once your braces are applied include:
- Crunchy foods like hard candy, nuts, and chips
- Sticky foods like gum, caramels, licorice, and toffee
- Chewy foods like gummy candy and beef jerky
Important Note: You can eat chips, apples, and corn on the cob, provided that you cut or break them into small bits. So make sure to break the chips, slice the apples thinly, and remove the corn from the cob.
3. Treatment duration varies
How long you’ll wear the braces depends on the severity of your dental problem.
Your cosmetic dentist will give you an estimate on how long you’ll need to wear braces, and this greatly depends on how severe your dental problem is. But take note that the timeframe is just an estimate. How your teeth react to the treatment matters and can be cause to adjust the treatment period.
For most people, it usually takes about a year to treat minor misalignments and at least two years for more severe cases. But for adults who wore braces when they were teens, it will take about six months to a year.
4. Caring for your teeth and braces is important
If you have braces, cleaning your teeth becomes even more important. Otherwise, bacteria can grow in between your teeth and mouth, which can lead to cavities and bad breath. Flossing is crucial as well as it prevents the accumulation of plaque along your gums that can turn into tartar, leading to gum diseases.
So make sure to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly despite the fact that it now takes a bit longer and is more difficult to do.
In the event that you are into sports, wearing a mouthguard is highly advised. A cosmetic dentist in Fort Lauderdale can create a customized mouth guard for you so it fits perfectly on your teeth. This way, if something accidentally hits your face while playing, such as a ball or another player’s elbow, your braces will not break or harm your cheeks.
It is normal for you to have some concerns before getting braces, but doing your own research will give you an idea of what to expect so you can easily decide if this is the right treatment for your specific dental problems. Also, this will help you in preparing your mind and body for the necessary adjustments you must make once your braces have been applied.
With braces, you may need to make some sacrifices in your life, but rest assured that you’ll reap your reward soon – and that is a straighter, healthier smile.