Do you have some crooked teeth that you wish to straighten? Or you have some gaps in your teeth that you wish to close and get a more attractive smile?
Whatever your reason, braces are an effective way of dealing with crooked teeth, improve your bite, and get a better smile.
However, the process of getting braces seems scary to some and also uncomfortable. Some people are worried about their image when they have braces, while others have concerns about how painful or uncomfortable they are.
Before you can put on the braces, it's alright to have some questions that you need answers to before embracing the process.
One such question is how long it will take you in the orthodontic office to wear braces? Is there a type of braces that is less painful than the other? How do I deal with the pain?
What Are Braces and Do I Need Them?
Braces are an effective method of straightening your teeth and moving them. They help to improve how your teeth look and how they work.
They are essential in improving your oral health and improving how you look by spreading the biting pressure across all the teeth.
Taking care of your oral health is a vital component of taking care of your overall health. Braces are an essential part of improving your overall health.
Both adults (look here for quality braces for adults) and children can put on braces, although getting braces for the first time is a scary experience for many. However, braces are not as uncomfortable or bad as many people think. They effectively deal with oral health issues like aligning the jaw, overbite, teeth overcrowding, underbite, and other oral health issues.
Types of Braces
Braces come in different types that help you pick your best treatment option depending on your goals and needs.
Some of the available orthodontic braces available include:
- Conventional metal braces or ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Invisalign (clear removable aligners) - see 'How Long Does Invisalign Take?'
The conventional braces (traditional braces) are the most common type of braces with high-grade stainless steel construction. They have improved to become more comfortable and lighter over time. The braces are attached to your teeth using orthodontic cement and linked using archwire. The tiny elastic ties help to keep the archwire in place. You can customize your braces using colored elastic ties.
How Long Does It Take To Get Braces Put On?
How long it will take to have the braces put on is one question that most patients contend with. However, you need not be scared that you will take too long in the orthodontic office.
The process of getting braces put on will take you just as long it takes you to watch a movie. The process will take you one or two hours, depending on the type of braces you'll have on and your teeth. The whole procedure can happen in one appointment or two.
The orthodontic treatment duration depends on your diagnosis, but it will take the same duration for adults and children.
The dentist will start by cleaning and drying your teeth before putting the brackets. The orthodontist will then apply a bonding glue on your teeth to keep the brackets firm.
When the special bonding glue hardens, the orthodontist will then proceed to place the wire. The wire is placed over the brackets, and it only goes over them.
Finally, the orthodontist might recommend that you wear elastic bands as well. The elastic bands are instrumental in expanding your jaw and creating room for any new teeth to settle.
Depending on the nature of your teeth and the diagnosis, the orthodontist can put braces on your upper jaw alone, lower jaw, or on both jaws at the same time.
You are probably wondering, how will the doctor know you need braces and not any other treatment and how to know if you need braces in the first place.
Well, jaw issues, crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, overcrowding of teeth, and other oral health issues are easy to identify using a standard dental exam. Your dentist will examine you to determine the severity of your condition. Depending on the severity of the condition, the dentist can also request an oral x-ray to get a clear picture of the issues.
The doctor can also take a mold of your teeth to determine your condition and decide whether you require braces or not.
Are Braces Painful to Put On?
Contrary to popular belief, the actual process of putting on braces is not painful both for kids and adults.
However, wearing braces may come with some discomfort in the mouth. For instance, the wires' sharp ends may sore your tongue as you move it in the mouth. Apart from the mouth sores and discomfort, wearing braces doesn't cause pain. It will only cause some discomfort or odd feeling in the cavity but not pain as you'd experience with wisdom teeth pain.
Still, the mild discomfort you experience after having the braces on is not permanent. The uneasiness and discomfort will be gone after a week of having the braces on.
How to Prevent Pain After Putting on Braces
In the unlikely event that you experience pain after having the braces on, here are a few tips that you can try out:
- You can get some over-the-counter pain relievers to eliminate the jaw and teeth pain. The painkillers help to get rid of the pain and also prevent swelling.
- Ensure that you are not biting or chewing food too harshly. The braces give you a sore throat and make you uncomfortable. Thus, hard foods may cause more irritation and discomfort. You can opt to eat soft foods such as mashed potatoes, soup, etc. though you should check out our guide on what to eat with braces. The soft foods will help you manage the pain and irritation, and at long last, you'll go back to your normal nutrition.
- Gargle salty water daily. It helps to get rid of any excess bacteria present in your oral cavity and also helps to ease toothaches.
- Ensure you practice using oral anesthetic like Anbesol or Orajel. Applying the oral anesthetic directly on the gums helps to get the best pain relief effect.
- Use a soft toothbrush to clean your teeth. You can get the soft toothbrushes from your local pharmacies or supermarket. Make sure you don't apply force when cleaning the teeth and also take your time to avoid complications.
- You can also ask your doctor for orthodontic wax to help you massage your teeth and gums. Massaging the uncomfortable areas with the wax will also help to relieve the pain.
Why Should You Consider Having Braces?
Most people consider having braces to make their smiles more attractive. Having crooked or overcrowded teeth may deny you the confidence to smile freely. The same applies to overbites and underbites.
As such, most patients want to regain back their attractive and confident smiles.
However, having braces is also essential in enhancing your oral health. For example, crooked and overcrowded teeth are challenging to clean and may allow bacteria to survive and cause tooth decay, gum disease, and ultimate tooth loss.
Poor teeth alignment can also cause deterioration of teeth and cause improper chewing. This puts pressure on the gums and the bone underneath the teeth.
Getting braces helps to deal with the teeth problems and you end up with:
- Healthy gums and teeth
- Straightened teeth and a more attractive smile
- More confidence and self-esteem
- Ability to Enhance your oral health
Over time, the braces apply consistent pressure on the teeth, and the teeth will move gradually. It will take between twelve to twenty-four months to remove the braces. Within that period, you will enjoy a great smile with perfectly aligned jaws and straightened teeth.
Do You Need To Adjust the Braces?
After putting the braces, you may have to adjust them from time to time. When you put on the braces for the first time, they'll start moving your teeth inside the jaw. As more movement happens, you'll need to adjust the braces to ensure they are still working effectively.
You can make appointments with your dentists for constant review of progress. The dentist or orthodontist will advise you when it's best to adjust your braces. They can even make you different braces to wear, depending on your condition's progress and complexity. The doctors will monitor the progress until its time to take off the braces.
The first adjustment for the braces will happen after a month of putting on the braces. The doctor will monitor your progress within the month and make estimations. They can suggest adjusting the braces or decide to use another method altogether.
It will be helpful to have an honest conversation with your orthodontist, especially if you have braces put on for the first time. You can discuss with your dentist all the concerns you may have about braces, including the pain and discomfort issue.
If you prefer more discreet braces, especially for adults, you can go for ceramic braces with special types of colors. These are especially helpful for adults and teens who are conscious of their image when wearing braces. You may also want to check out the best invisible braces out there.
If you wish to put on braces, you don't have to worry about the process taking too long. The process will take you about one to two hours, and the best thing is that it isn't painful. The discomfort will also be gone within a week to two weeks.