Braces are metal or clear brackets joined by an archwire. Braces work by placing constant pressure on each tooth to move them to the desired position. The braces are tightened at each returning visit to the dentist, applying slightly more pressure to the teeth to continue to move them into their ideal position.
There are two types of braces; metal or clear. There are no differences in treatment between the two, only appearance. The clear braces tend to be a little more ‘invisible’ and aesthetically pleasing.
For some of our common questions on braces once they are on, click here, or for some information on eating with braces, click here.
Please find our patients most commonly asked questions prior to having their braces fitted:
Do I need to take time off work/school to get my braces fitted?
Many of our adult and teenage patients have the braces fitted on and attend school or work after. Fitting of the braces usually takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour and does not hurt. Some discomfort may start in about 6 hours after the braces fitting that can be managed with Panadol or an anti-inflammatory pain relief like Ibuprofen.
What should I expect after getting my braces fitted?
We receive many questions from new patients and parents wondering if the fitting of braces is an uncomfortable appointment. While this is not the case, afterwards over the course of a few days to a few weeks, there can be some interim adjustments that you would probably expect as outlined below:
You will feel pressure on your teeth at first.
You may feel discomfort about 4-6 hrs after braces are put on and the next few days especially when chewing. But don’t worry as this is normal and will get better within a week or two! Pain reliever such as Nurofen can help you for the mean time (ask your pharmacist for advice first).
Soft foods such as mashed potato, yoghurt, jelly, blended foods and ice cream are best to eat at this point. After a period of 1-2 weeks, eating rapidly improves.
Eating with braces takes some practice but you will adapt to this soon enough! Make sure to chew your food slowly and carefully and brush after meals whenever possible or rinse your mouth with water to help get food out of your braces.
You may have irritated lips, cheeks or sores in your mouth as you get used to the braces. To help with the discomfort, dry the brace rubbing onto your lips/cheeks with tissue or paper towel and put wax on top of it. You can also try rinsing with some warm salt water and sleep on your back rather than on your side. Topical gels are also available in pharmacies that help relieve the discomfort ie: Bonjela, Kenalog in Orobase (ask your pharmacist for advice)
Your teeth may feel loose after a week or two. Don’t be alarmed as this is normal and will only last a short time.
A positive thing is that the more uncomfortable/ inconvenient bits about having braces are experienced initially and this improves rapidly over the course of a week or two.
One thing our patients find is knowing and being aware of the above information contributes to an overall more positive experience with us at Smiles & Faces Orthodontics.
How long are orthodontic adjustment appointments?
Orthodontic adjustment appointments are usually scheduled every 4 to 8 weeks. The adjustments are usually 10 to 20 minutes in duration and for this reason, most appointments can be scheduled before and after school or work. Occasionally, the teeth may feel tight or sore after each adjustment for a day or so after.
Will my/my childs speech sound different during orthodontic treatment?
The speech changes with orthodontic treatment are generally minimal and temporary in nature, and depends on the orthodontic appliance chosen.
If you are considering outside fitting braces, these speech changes are minimal, if any. If an upper expander is required, the initial lisping can be more pronounced, especially with the ‘S’, ‘TH’ and ‘SA’ words. To minimize this, we will give you a passage to practice reciting out loud which will help return to speech back to normal much quicker.
How does eating change when my braces are put on?
The biggest change after fitting of the braces is the way in which you eat. For the first week or two, a soft diet consisting of blended foods, stews, porridges may be best. Not to mention the ice-cream, yogurt or jelly, which would be soothing for the teeth. Sometimes the back teeth may get sore temporarily. This gets much better by the end of a week.
After this, simple modifications in eating hard and crunchy foods is advised. This often means cutting an apple into wedges, being mindful or careful of crunchy chips and cereals, and cutting down on sweet and sticky foods and soft or energy drinks.