If you’ve decided to have fixed braces fitted, you’re on your way to having a beautifully straight smile that can be maintained for life with the right care. Using advanced technologies and techniques, fixed metal braces consist of small metal brackets with a wire running through them. Modern braces are often much faster and more comfortable than they used to be, however, they may take some getting used to. In this blog we’ll run through what to expect when having your fixed braces fitted, with top tips on how best to live with them.
Getting your braces fitted - what to expect
Fitting appointments usually last between 1-2 hours. Your orthodontist will first clean and dry your teeth, before applying a gel adhesive to attach the brackets to the front surfaces of your teeth. Archwires will then be placed through the brackets, and elastic bands will be used to keep everything in place.
Be sure to ask your orthodontist any questions you may have about caring for your braces during this appointment. It’s also the best time to get your maintenance supplies, like orthodontic wax, an interdental brush and floss, to make cleaning your teeth and reducing any discomfort easier. You shouldn’t feel any pain when your appliance is being fitted, but you may feel some discomfort in your mouth the first 1-2 weeks.
We’d highly recommend booking your next appointment before you leave, so that you don’t forget! It’s important to make all your follow-up appointments as your braces will frequently need to be adjusted. Missing or delaying appointments could mean that your treatment will take longer.
How to live with wearing braces - 6 tips
- You may feel some soreness and discomfort for the first week or so as you adjust to your new braces, but luckily there are ways to relieve this. You can take non-aspirin pain relief, and use orthodontic wax to reduce irritation in your mouth. You may also find that using a warm cloth or a heated pad can lessen jaw ache. Another tip to help with pain is to gargle salty water for a few minutes, made from a glass of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of salt.
- You can eat as soon as your braces have been fitted, however, the adhesive won’t fully set for 24 hours, and there are certain foods which could damage the brackets and wires. For the first few days it’s advisable to stick with soft foods like pasta, eggs, oatmeal, soups and smoothies. Cutting your food into small pieces before eating will also help. Hard and crunchy foods, and sticky and chewy foods should be avoided as much as possible when living with fixed braces. These food types could cause damage or become stuck in your appliance. It’s harder to clean your teeth properly with braces, so consuming chewy foods and especially sugary foods and drinks leave you at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, decalcification and other oral problems.
- To protect your teeth, it’s best to clean them after every meal and snack, or at least rinse your mouth with water. Keep up a good oral health routine with mouthwash and floss - using a floss threader will help you get around the wires more easily. An interdental toothbrush can also make it easier to gently clean between the teeth. For when you’re not at home, it’s simple to make a small cleaning kit to keep with you. Include a toothbrush, toothpaste, wax, floss and lip balm to make cleaning easy.
- For those who play sports or musical instruments, you’ll need to take extra care with fixed braces. Wearing a mouthguard will help to protect your braces, teeth and mouth whilst participating in sports activities. If you play an instrument you may find it a little difficult to adjust with your braces at first and you may find that sores develop. However using wax and gargling with salt-water can help with discomfort.
- If you’re experiencing severe pain, any part of your appliance has broken or become loose, or there is something sticking out that can’t be dealt with on your own, call your orthodontist straight away. Delaying the call could cause further damage or delay your treatment time. If there’s a piece that has come off, make sure that you bring it with you to your appointment.
- And last but not least, smile! A lot of people wear braces nowadays and wearing them shouldn’t hold you back. Your treatment will fly by but in the meantime you should feel confident that you’re on your way to having great teeth - it’s definitely a conversation starter!
At Oldham Orthodontics we offer a range of effective, comfortable fixed braces to give people the smiles they’ve always dreamed of. For any more advice, or to find out what braces would be best for you, please give our office a call on 0161 6220987, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a free appointment.