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Things To Know Before Getting Braces

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Until recently, getting braces was associated with awkwardness, and people who wore them (particularly school-going kids) were often the butt of jokes. However, times have changed and braces have now become a rite of passage.

With advances in technology, braces have not only become more effective but also stylish thanks to customizable features and plenty of fun colors to pick from. Even the stigma that adults use to experience when wearing braces has declined overtime with the invention of clear brace aligners.

If you are considering getting braces for yourself or your child, here are a couple of things that you should know before booking an appointment with an orthodontist.

How Braces Function

Braces work by applying pressure to the teeth and jaws in order to change their alignment and alter your smile. They also correct your bite, thus improving digestion.

However, it is important to note that braces can't solve cavities or other dental problems such as infections.

You’ll Need To Have Some Prior Dental Work 

Before getting your braces installed, your orthodontist will clean your teeth and conduct some prior dental work. In some cases, they may remove your wisdom teeth so that they don't interfere with the treatment.

The goal of this preliminary dental work is to correct any issues that might affect the functionality of the braces.

Making Adjustments To Your Diet  Is a Must

Once you start wearing braces, you will need to check what you eat and avoid certain foods altogether. Sugary foods such as candies, caramels, and gummy bears should be avoided since they can stick to your braces and cause tooth pain. It is also advisable to steer clear of foods that are hard to chew such as raw carrots, apples, and corn on the cob.

What is the Ideal Age For Braces?

For many parents, braces only enter the conversation when the child’s teeth are clearly misaligned, overcrowded, or overly spaced. However, waiting for this long means that the treatment will take more time and money than if you had discovered the problems at their early stages. 

Ideally, you should take your child for an orthodontic evaluation yearly from the time they hit 7 years until their teenage years. This ensures that any budding problems with the teeth or bite are identified and corrected when the kid is still young. The orthodontist may also prescribe routines and medications to prevent other conditions in the future. 

When Should a Child Start Wearing Braces?

Generally, the best age to get started with braces is between 11 and 14 years. At these ages, the child’s permanent teeth will be fully grown but their mouth and jawlines will still be developing, which makes it easy for the braces to correct the teeth alignment, fix spaces, and strengthen the bite. 

What to Know About Braces

If advised to wear braces, your child’s oral care routine will also need to change for the better to avoid interfering with the braces. In particular, the child will need to brush at least twice a day. If possible, they should also integrate flossing and mouthwash into their routines to ensure they completely get rid of anything that can harbor bacteria.

The orthodontist may also require the child to avoid foods that can damage the braces or interfere with their working. And contrary to the popular view that only junk snacks, gummy bears, and candy are bad for developing teeth, even erstwhile healthy foods like carrots are not advisable to take when one is wearing braces.

What are the Medical Benefits of Braces?

In the last few years, braces have gone from being entirely worn by young kids and teenagers with highly misaligned teeth to being a universally popular solution for all forms of teeth misalignment, even among adults. Although the exact reasons for this increase in popularity and use are varied, there is no doubt that new research showing that braces have more benefits than previously thought had something to do with it. Below are some of these benefits:

Better Bites

The term bite typically describes the way the upper and lower teeth grasp foods as you chew. While their primary use is to correct misalignment, braces also enhance the strength and alignment of your bite, making it easy and comfortable for you to chew different types of foods.

Poor bites are normally caused by gaps in the mouth, either due to missing or crooked teeth, and can make the chewing experience extremely uncomfortable, as the jaws and gums have to do more than they’re used to. By realigning the crooked teeth, braces reduce pressure on the jaws, which not only strengthens the bite but also eliminates pain when chewing.

Increased Esteem

Apart from being a literal pain, crooked teeth can also be a big hit to one’s self-esteem, particularly when it comes to smiling. Often, people with such teeth will avoid talking in social settings and even sharing jokes with friends. Braces help correct most forms of poor alignment and if worn correctly, can improve one’s smile, which subsequently leads to increased confidence and willingness to smile in public.

Common Problems With Metal Braces

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The American Association of Orthodontists estimates that more than 4 million Americans wear braces. Despite being around in various forms for more than a century, braces are still very popular, even with the introduction of modern teeth alignment technologies like Invisalign.

Nonetheless, not everyone who wears braces has a happy experience. Some people experience varying levels of discomfort in their mouth, which may be exacerbated when the braces loosen or break. And while most of the said issues are easily managed at home, others may need advanced medical assistance.

Below are 5 of the most common problems associated with wearing braces and how to deal with them:


This commonly occurs in the first several days of getting the braces. It can be easily relieved at home by holding a piece of ice covered with a cloth against your cheeks for several intervals of 5-10 minutes. Another common remedy is rinsing your mouth with salty water. You can also seek over-the-counter pain medication.


Braces make it hard to fully get rid of stuck food bits from your mouth. Where the said food is acidic or has staining properties, the bits may end up discoloring the areas they stick to. Further, it is also quite common to find stain patches on the teeth under treatment after removing the braces. In both cases, the stains can only be removed by a teeth whitening procedure.

What To Know Before Getting Braces

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Remember when you were in high school, and the "cool" kids were always making fun of the kids who had braces? Remember when everyone thought braces were awkward and childish? If you do remember all that, first of all, congratulations on reaching old age! Secondly, how about we tell you that these days, braces are the opposite of awkward and 'uncool'?

Well, due to modern technology, braces now consist of fun band colors, creative hashtags, and all sorts of dynamic designs. They almost look nothing like the bland, mechanical contraptions of yesteryears.

Whether you are an adult or a kid and desire to, or rather, have to wear braces in the near future, here's what you need to know about them:

They Improve More Than Just The Smile

While they're primarily for straightening the teeth, modern braces correct teeth and jaw alignment issues, and also improve the bite.

Get Your Dentals Sorted First

If you have pending teeth cleaning, or any other dental treatment, it is advisable to first have it done before getting braced up. This is because some dental treatments, such as removal of wisdom teeth, are known to interfere with orthodontic treatments.

Adjust Your Diet Accordingly

A few months before you get your braces, you need to considerably limit, or completely stop consumption of certain "high-risk" foods such as sugary and sticky foods like gummy bears. Particularly, avoid foods that require yanking or biting into, like corn on the cob and sugarcane, as they can disorient the teeth alignment and strength.

Are Lingual Braces For You?

A less well-known choice for fixing misaligned teeth is lingual braces. They have some advantages over the more popular options providing a better cosmetic solution for patients. They do have some disadvantages as well, though, and we take a look at the considerations which need to be be made before choosing lingual braces.

Lingual Braces. What are they?

With lingual braces you will still have wires and brackets in your mouth as you would expect, the big difference is that these wires can't be seen. Whereas normally, you would expect to see braces attached to the front of the teeth, lingual braces are hidden because they are fitted to the other side of the teeth.

How are Lingual Braces Fitted?

As you might imagine, fitting braces to the backs of teeth is a more difficult job for the orthodontist. There is less room to fit the braces and the placement is more awkward. To overcome these difficulties and provide a better fit, an impression is taken to create customized brackets, perfect for each individual's mouth.

The brackets are attached to the backs of the teeth at the same time, with the use of a tray to cement them in place. Normal braces don't require this level of customization, with standard brackets used and cemented to the teeth one at a time.

The Advantages of Lingual Braces

One of the main downsides to traditional braces is their visual appearance. The lingual option gives all the benefits of the more traditional design but without changing the appearance of the patient's smile.

If when the braces are removed there are any discolored marks left on the tooth enamel, they won't be seen anyway. Also, because the braces are customized to the patient's mouth they will often be more comfortable than braces fixed to the outside of the teeth.

Are Braces Worth the Cost?

Braces are not only a great way to get an aligned smile that looks great, but help you promote good oral health for the rest of your life.

You may have perceived braces as being for only aesthetic purposes, but that could not be further from the truth! Whether you're a young child, pre-teen, teen, or adult, you can benefit from making an appointment to see if you need braces.

Not everyone does end up needing braces, so it's not a big deal to get a consultation and find out what's going on. Often times your dentist will be able to confirm whether braces are needed or will point it out during a routine dental check up.

Braces are absolutely worth the cost because they are going to give you a fantastic smile and make flossing and general oral care easier and more effective. Crowded teeth and more can often require further treatment in order to make sure that the teeth are aligned or are placed more closely to where they need to be.

Confidence and more can be yours through braces, but the health benefits cannot be stressed enough. They are practical and while you may have to purchase an electric toothbrush in order to try and keep food particles out of your brackets (or can go with something more transparent like Invisalign braces if you're older and want to avoid this type of thing), it's well worth it in the end.

Avoiding getting braces could mean that you have difficulty speaking or eating food, a higher chance of getting cavities or dental decay, inability to clean surfaces, jaw misalignment, bite issues, pain, and more. So if you are recommended braces, it is worth checking out.


Cost Factors of Braces