Braces have essentially become a rite of passage for teenagers nowadays. It is actually more common for teens to wear braces than not—it is estimated that over 80% of all teenagers will get braces or Invisalign at some point during their high school years to address some orthodontic issue. Treatment with braces typically takes around two years, but this depends on the diagnosis and how quickly the patient’s teeth move. If you are on track to get braces as a teen, read on to learn more about the process and how it will affect your life!
Types of Braces
Here at NC Tooth Docs Orthodontics & Kids Dentistry, we offer two types of braces; traditional metal braces and Iconix aesthetic braces. Traditional braces use metal brackets that are glued to the teeth and connected via wires to pull teeth into place. These are likely the kind of braces that your parents and grandparents will remember from their childhood. Traditional braces continually yield great results, which is why they are still being used today!
Iconix aesthetic braces work very similarly to traditional braces in that they use brackets on the front of teeth and wires to connect everything. With these braces, the brackets are made from a stainless steel material that is colored gold or champagne. These shades mimic the natural color of teeth in order to give a less noticeable look with the braces. Both traditional braces and Iconix braces need to be manually tightened by your orthodontist every 4-6 weeks to keep your treatment moving along at an appropriate pace.
Lifestyle Changes with Braces
Since braces are moving your teeth and jaw, they do tend to cause some discomfort. After getting your braces put on or after tightenings, your mouth may be a little sore. This soreness can be alleviated by eating soft foods and taking a pain reliever for a day or two. Sometimes the brackets rubbing against the inside of your gums can lead to tenderness, but this can be solved with dental wax! Dental wax is a non-toxic wax that you can get from your orthodontist to cover any brackets that are bothering you and leave a smooth surface.
Braces normally do not affect your day-to-day lifestyle. You can still lead an active lifestyle exercising and playing sports, but you may want to wear a braces-safe mouthguard to protect your teeth. We advise patients to avoid extra hard, sticky, or chewy foods while wearing braces, as these can break and damage the metal. We know it can be hard to turn down a tasty snack, but if your braces break and leave wires poking out in your mouth, you will likely need to come into the orthodontist for an emergency appointment. Trust us; these foods are better left to be enjoyed after getting your braces removed.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you will need to spend a few extra minutes taking care of your dental hygiene with braces. The metal brackets and wires act as magnets for plaque and buildup, making it even easier to get cavities or gum disease during treatment. Be sure to take the time to really brush between your brackets and use the special flosser provided by your orthodontist to clean in between teeth. Braces are putting in work to straighten out your smile, but you need to put in work to keep your teeth healthy and white throughout the process!
Once you get your braces removed, your orthodontic upkeep does not stop. You will be given a retainer after getting your braces off that you will need to wear consistently for about a year. At first, you should only take your retainer out during meals or to brush your teeth, but after about 4-6 months, you can transition to only wearing your retainer at night. The retainer is meant to stabilize your teeth in their perfect positions to ensure that all the hard work from treatment is not lost.
Price of Braces
The total cost of your braces treatment will vary depending on what your diagnosis is and how quickly your teeth move. For cosmetic fixes, treatment is typically shorter and therefore less costly than longer, more intense orthodontic work. The best way to get an accurate price estimate for braces treatment is to visit your local orthodontist. If price is a concern for you or your family, our staff are happy to work with you in achieving your desired results. At NC Tooth Docs Orthodontics & Kids Dentistry, we believe that everyone should be able to attain their dream smile, no matter what their financial situation is.