If you have crooked teeth, gaps, or bite issues, your dentist may recommend dental braces to straighten to improve dental health and appearance. Braces help straighten crooked or misaligned teeth by gradually shifting them to the correct positions over time.
Straight teeth are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also help you chew properly and pronounce correctly. They are also easier to clean and reduce your chances of oral health problems like cavities and gum disease. To help you understand more about the treatment, here are the answer to common questions you might have.
1. How Often Will I Have to Visit the Dentist?
How often you will need to visit your dentist depends on your unique situation. However, you can expect to see your dentist every 4-8 weeks. During each visit, your dentist will adjust the braces, tighten the wires, or replace them.
2. What Types of Food Should I Avoid?
When you have braces, your dentist will advise you against some foods as your gums will still be sensitive due to the treatment. What’s more, you’ll have to learn to chew differently with the brace. A diet change also protects against damage from hard foods and allows for easier cleaning. Some of the foods to avoid when wearing braces include:
- Sugary foods and drinks
- Hard, sticky candy
- Ice cubes
- Hard whole fruits and veggies like apples and pears
- Thick cuts of meat
- Hard or chewy bread
For crunchy foods and vegetables, soften them before eating or cut them into small pieces instead of biting into them.
3. Will I Need Braces on My Top and Bottom Teeth?
You will likely require braces on both your jaws to treat orthodontic problems effectively. Doing so prevents the teeth with braces on one arch from shifting and throwing off alignment, negatively impacting your bite.
4. Do I Need a Referral?
You don’t need a referral from your general dentist to see an orthodontist, as you can get the treatment directly. However, most general dentists will refer their patients to a specialist if they need orthodontic treatment.
5. Will Braces Interfere with School Activities or Sports?
Dental braces will not interfere with your sports. Just make sure you wear a mouthguard when playing to protect your teeth. If you play an instrument, it may take some time to adjust but will not prevent you from participating.
6. How Do I Take Care of My Braces?
Wearing braces requires extra care to protect them from damage, as well as the teeth behind them. Proper maintenance also makes your braces more comfortable to wear. Here are a few tips to help you take care of your braces.
- Brush and floss at least four times a day
- Eat soft foods
- Wear a mouthguard when playing sports
- Visit your orthodontist regularly
Your Dentist Can Help
If you plan to get braces, your orthodontist will take you through the process and address all your concerns. You’ll also get professional advice on how to take care of your smile, including the best products and techniques to use when brushing to ensure optimal treatment results.