Do you have straight teeth or crooked teeth? If you have straight teeth you have been blessed with a gift but if you don’t, you might need braces. If you didn’t know, braces are an effective way of treating crowded and crooked teeth. Traditional braces use wires and brackets. The wires are used to put pressure on the teeth and over time correct them while the brackets control the direction and placement of the teeth move in. I used to have braces from the end of fourth grade to the beginning of eighth. At first, I was pretty excited on the results but over time I realized I was gonna wait a pretty long for them. It was a long and painful journey that I never want to happen again. I have made some mistakes in the past that I wish I could erase but of course, that’s not really possible. What I can do is warn others going to go through or already in the process of having braces. In this article, I will be showing you what is and what is not acceptable to do when it comes to before and after getting braces. Here are nine tips things look out for.
1. Don’t throw up while taking your impressions
The person taking a mold of your teeth will ask you beforehand if you are willing. They will give you the option to not take the mold but if you decide to get it over it just know they gave you an option. The mold taste itself wasn’t all too bad in fact it wasn’t even the worst part. The worst part is the orthodontist shoving the mold mixture into your mouth to the point where it feels like you can’t breathe. That’s the part where your body’s instincts kick in and you start to gag.
2. Make a follow-up appointment every six weeks
It’s really important you do this step because it messes up the timeline your orthodontist office and insurance set up. It truly depends on which orthodontist office you go to but whatever amount of weeks they tell you is how regularly you should be going. The appointments aren’t made themselves you are told to do it yourself. I made the stupid mistake of not making an appointment in the six-week time period they told me and was yelled at for not contacting them. If you make it a habit to not make appointments and come in on time then it’s clear that you’re too incompetent to have braces in the first place which makes you look like a lazy person. They will have no choice but to let you go.
3. Prepare for the molar bands/metal rings to be painful and uncomfortable
If you are someone who has to have molar bands placed, your orthodontist will make you put rubber bands in between the last eight molars in your upper and lower jaw. The rubber bands were probably the most uncomfortable thing I had to do in my braces journey. What the orthodontist does is take a small rubber band and insert it in between the back molar teeth. They do that so by the time you come back there’s a big enough space to insert molar bands. Molar bands are metal rings that are used to align your jaw, shape the molars or if there isn’t enough space then molar bands will be used. The bands were super uncomfortable considering I could barely converse or move my jaw without feeling any kind of pain.
4. Don’t eat hard things
During the beginning stages of your braces, one of the first things your orthodontist will tell you is not to eat anything hard. That includes most chips, hard and/or sticky candy, (they get super stuck and are hard to get out) ice, etc. Your brackets are pretty sensitive and foods like these can easily make them break off. The reason why is because the glue isn’t supposed to be strong but rather just enough so that they’re able to remove the brackets when your teeth have straightened.
5. Floss twice a day, every day, or every other day
Flossing is so important especially if you have braces. It’s harder than regular flossing because you have to use a floss threader to carefully put the thread of floss inside and go over the wire. Then you have to take the floss threader out and finally put the floss in between your teeth. The farther back you have to go, the more difficult it gets especially with the molars in the back. If you don’t floss the bacteria in your mouth can build up causing something called calculus. By that point, it starts to harden and you can’t remove it yourself. You’ll have to make a dentist appointment to get it off using an ultrasonic device that breaks it with vibrations and then it is washed away. Personally, I think it would be embarrassing for a dentist to know that not flossing got you into this bad of a situation. So unless you want that, floss your teeth.
6. Don’t get yellow or white bands
Yellow or white bands will make your teeth appear more yellow. Food can also stain white bands to make them look like you haven’t brushed your teeth in months. While having naturally yellow teeth isn’t necessarily something you need to worry about most of the time. If I were you I wouldn’t want strangers to think I don’t brush my teeth.
7. Eat ice cream or take Tylenol after you get your brackets tightened
I remember crying once when I was in sixth grade because my teeth hurt so bad and I was trying to take a bite of spaghetti but my teeth were so sore and sensitive that I could barely chew. The first few days of getting your brackets tightened hurt like hell and there were extreme times when I had to take Tylenol to help relieve the pain. One of the things that I regret not doing is eating ice cream when I had to endure that pain. Ice cream is very soft and creamy so you won’t break anything. It’s cold as well and soothing so just for a split second you won’t feel the excruciating pain. Read this for more tips on pain relief.
8. Brush your teeth daily
This is a very important step whether or not you have braces. However, brushing your teeth with braces vs without is very different. Since the brackets and the wire are in the way you can’t brush your teeth while your toothbrush is straight. The orthodontist will show you how to angle your toothbrush so that its ability to clean under and over the brackets. It is very important that you do because if you don’t brush by the time they take off your braces you will have a permanent yellow box stain in the middle of your teeth.
9. And lastly, wear your retainer
Wearing a retainer is super important when it comes to the aftercare of braces. It is one of the most important steps if not the most important. It is recommended to wear your retainer for a few months full time. If you don’t wear your retainer after having your braces removed your teeth can start to shift and can overlap. If you spent years having braces on and going through all that pain what’s the point of giving up and messing your teeth up all over again.
Best of luck on your braces journey! It will all be worth it.