If your dentist has prescribed fixed metal or ceramic braces to correct your natural teeth, you may wonder what will happen when the braces are actually put onto your teeth. Read our brief overview of the procedure so that you know what to expect.
Fixed braces are made from fine wires that are fitted to your teeth using brackets and elastic bands. Braces gently move your teeth so that they are correctly positioned. Once the braces have been fitted, they stay in place until your teeth have been successfully realigned. Braces can be made from plain metal or natural-coloured ceramic.
You will need to visit your dentist for several consultations so that he or she can assess and measure your mouth and teeth for braces. The actual process of having your braces fitted should take between one and two hours.
First, your dentist will clean and dry your teeth to create a good bonding surface for the brackets form part of your braces. Special bonding glue will then be applied to your teeth and the brackets will be attached. The dentist will then place an archwire into the brackets before using elastic bands to secure the braces into position.
Getting braces fitted is not painful, but you may experience some soreness for a week or so afterward. Taking over-the-counter painkillers will relieve any discomfort that you may experience. You may also want to eat soft foods for a day or so as your mouth adjusts to this dental fixture.
Fixed braces can't be removed-they stay in your mouth 24/7. Braces can make it tricky to clean your teeth, so you will have to take extra time and care when brushing and flossing.
Particles of food can get trapped in your braces and could lead to the formation of plaque, a common cause of tooth decay, so it's a good idea to brush your teeth after every meal. You may find that your toothbrush wears out quickly too-be sure to replace your brush more frequently than you did before you had your braces fitted.
If you don't already do so, use an antibacterial mouthwash to keep your teeth extra clean and safeguard against bacteria.
When choosing foods to eat, take care not to eat hard or sticky items, such as nuts and sweets, that could dislodge the bands or brackets on your braces.
You may find that the brackets rub the inside of your mouth, causing painful sores. Your dentist will provide you with orthodontic wax to apply to the brackets to prevent this issue.
If mouth sores do appear, avoid touching them with your fingers and tongue. Acidic drinks and foods, such as fruit and fruit juices, can irritate mouth sores. Avoid these food and drink items until the sores have healed.
To numb painful areas, you can dab an over-the-counter oral anaesthetic onto your mouth with a cotton bud. This step can be useful if you have problems getting to sleep because of the pain. Another way of relieving the discomfort of mouth sores is to rinse your mouth with a solution of salt and warm water a few times each day.
Once your braces are fitted, it will take you a month or so to get used to them. Any problems with soreness should abate within a few weeks, but if problems persist or arise after this time, you should consult with one of the friendly dentists at Dental Smile Clinic for treatment and additional tips.