- You May Have a Bit of a Lisp (Just at First!)
This is something a lot of patients don’t expect, but it’s true; having something in your mouth that you aren’t used to is going to alter the way you speak for a little while. It may be a little uncomfortable at first, but everyone eventually gets used to it and learns how to speak even with the extra metal!
Just think of it as the first step in your journey towards your dream smile, and practice your speaking and pronunciation as much as you can. It’ll get so much easier over time!
- Food May Get Stuck in Your Braces, and it May Get Stuck For Awhile if You Aren’t Careful
Braces definitely change your relationship with food during the time you’re wearing them. A previously easy task becomes heavily focused on ensuring that once your meal is over, your braces and teeth have been properly cleaned.
Sometimes, even foods that are considered safe for braces can easily become stuck in your brackets, sometimes for long periods of time. In order to be properly prepared for this, it’s important to always carry a travel sized toothbrush and compact floss so you can get any stray particles out at a moment’s notice.
This is ideal for when you’re going out for dinner with friends and family, or to a party - this gives you the assurance that you’ll be taking care of your oral health, as well as not having to miss out on any social events!
Doubling down on items that are still nutrient rich but easy on your braces, such as smoothies, milkshakes, juices and yogurts, can help save you a headache, and give you a quick meal. These are especially helpful after you’ve just gotten your braces, or are dealing with the aftermath of having them tightened.
- You’ll Have Automatic Membership For an Exclusive Club
While this club won’t necessarily be physical, having braces makes you part of a large community. Having braces allows you to more easily recognize others with them, and this creates a sort of unspoken bond between you. You’ll be able to share stories and advice, maybe even work on reaching your treatment outcomes together!
This will also help you feel less alone during the process, and there’s always safety in numbers. Recognizing that there are so many others, even millions of people in your exact situation can certainly help you feel more comfortable, and make the entire process far less daunting.
- You Can Get Them At Any Age
If you’re older but looking to straighten your smile, you should have no reason to feel excluded - people from all age groups looking for a better smile are welcome to pursue it.
There’s a common misconception that braces are only for young adults or teenagers in their formative years, but that simply isn’t true! The AAO estimates that 1 in 5 orthodontic patients is an adult - this makes for a huge adult base!
Adults are actually very likely to be more responsible when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Because braces are an investment they’re likely paying for out of pocket, adults are more likely to take better care of them, remember to clean their brackets and teeth thoroughly after each and every meal, and stay on top of their regular checkups to ensure everything is going smoothly.
Orthodontic treatment doesn’t exclude anyone - if you have any minor to severe dental irregularities, braces will work effectively for almost anyone.
- You’ll depend on Lip Balm and Wax More Than Ever!
Lip balm can be a lifesaver when you’re dealing with the new sensation of braces. You may notice your lips are extremely dry or chapped, especially right after the application, and should carry a nourishing lip balm or chap stick on you at all times to relieve this problem.
This dryness occurs as your lips are slowly being stretched out wider over your teeth to accommodate your new hardware. It’s a totally normal occurrence - just make sure you’re properly prepared for the inevitable!
Wax will also be a necessity during your orthodontic treatment, but not for the same reasons. The early months of braces can be a little taxing as you adjust to your teeth finding new movement and places in your mouth, all foreign pressure and previously unexplored territory. Applying wax to the brackets can keep your lips and teeth from rubbing on abrasions, allowing you to avoid any irritation and soreness that may occur. If you’re concerned about this ahead of time or you begin to experience irritation, make sure you ask your orthodontist for some wax to get you through!
- Braces Correct Your Bite, Too
While many dive into the process with straight teeth in mind, braces are actually quite versatile in the way they can treat a variety of irregularities at once. It’s true that they’ll straighten out any crooked teeth or crowding so you can get your smile back on track, but one of the main functions of braces is to correct a bad bite.
Underbites, overbites, and crossbites can be just as detrimental to the aesthetics of your smile and appearance as misaligned teeth can be. Focusing on correcting a bad bite in accordance with straightening the teeth has the potential to add extra time to the length of your treatment, but it’ll be worth it in the end!
Fixing a bad bite can work to prevent extra and unnecessary wear on your teeth, prevent future TMJ issues, and can even help you to speak more clearly!
- Treatment Time Isn’t Set in Stone
Your orthodontist will do the best they can to give you an accurate estimate of how long your treatment should take, but the timeline can vary based on conditions that may be out of their control. While we have the technology and expertise to diagnose and treat you, sometimes your teeth do unexpected things, and your treatment plan may have to face an extension.
This can actually be a good thing! This means your orthodontist is closely monitoring the situation, has caught any irregularities as they’ve come up, and is actively working to solve the problem. Your treatment taking a little longer than expected to complete just means you’re getting the most out of it, and when your braces finally do come off, there will be a perfect smile underneath!
- Your Orthodontist is An Expert
There’s no doubt about it - having braces is a nerve wracking experience! If you come from a place of very little knowledge about orthodontic treatment, this can also make the process a lot more intimidating for you. The good news is your orthodontist has spent years learning exactly how to treat people just like you, with dental irregularities just like yours.
Orthodontists are specifically trained in the movement and function of the jawbone. This allows them to be your guide when it comes to fixing your bite, teeth, and your jaw’s relation to the rest of your face for both aesthetic and functional purposes. Your orthodontist knows everything a dentist does, and also has years of additional training and knowledge under their belts. The bottom line is that you’ll know you’re in good hands!