If you’re thinking about getting braces, you probably have a few questions about the whole process. This is completely normal since any orthodontic treatment can be quite stressful to many patients. The best tool to assuage some of this stress is a knowledge of the treatment process. If you know what to expect, then there will be less that catches you off guard when you find yourself sitting in the orthodontist’s chair.
The following questions and answers are meant to give you a general understanding of the braces-installation process, daily life with your braces, and what to expect once they’re taken off. While this information can certainly be helpful, you should always ask your orthodontist about the particulars of your situation. At Szymanowski Ortho, we make sure that our patients understand everything possible about their treatment before any appliance is installed. An ongoing, open discourse between orthodontic professionals and patients makes the experience better for everyone, and we strive to make sure that happens.
- Do braces hurt?
Braces should never really ‘hurt.’ You should expect some soreness and mild discomfort for a few days after braces are installed or tightened, but serious pain should not be on the menu. Over-the-counter pain medication will help with the initial soreness before it peters out on its own. If you experience serious pain, you should talk to your orthodontist immediately to get advice on what to do next.
- What problems can be solved with braces?
Braces can be employed to solve multiple orthodontic problems. One of the most common is gapped or crowded teeth. The brackets and wires gently guide your teeth into alignment over time, ending in a healthy, aesthetically pleasing finished product. They can also be used to fix malocclusions (bad bites). Both of these problems can lead to poor dental hygiene, tooth wear, gum damage, and jaw joint problems if left untreated. The avoidance of these scenarios is one reason why braces are so important.
- How long does treatment with braces last?
The length of the treatment is dependent upon the severity of the problem. In almost every case, braces are off between 2-30 months after treatment begins. Usually, we say that a standard case calls for about 18 months in braces. While this might seem like a wide range, it’s important to remember that braces are used to treat both mild and severe cases. Your orthodontist will be able to give you a precise timeframe for your treatment.
- Will I have to have teeth removed before my braces are installed?
In order to correct certain misalignments or cases of crowded teeth, it is sometimes necessary to remove a tooth. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen nearly as often as you might think. Thanks to advanced orthodontic techniques, tooth-removal is only necessary in about 10% of cases if treatment occurs at the proper age. The likelihood of tooth removal is a bit higher in adult cases, but still quite unlikely.
- Can I still get braces as an adult?
Yes! Many of our patients at Szymanowski Ortho are adults. Treatment with braces is completely possible in most cases, and alternatives like Invisalign are available for those who are looking for something more discreet. Adult orthodontics have to be approached differently than adolescent orthodontics, as the mouth has developed into a very different landscape. Orthodontists consider many factors when it comes to providing effective treatment, and age is certainly an important one.
- What if my child has baby teeth?
We recommend that children see an orthodontist around the age of 7 or 8. This will let us get a head start treating problems before they develop into something more serious. The mouth is still developing, and bones haven’t hardened very much. This means that treatments like braces may work more quickly and effectively, leading to less time with braces on in the long run. If nothing else, these early visits can lend you peace of mind concerning your child’s orthodontic health.
- Does it hurt to eat with braces?
As your mouth will likely be tender for a few days after your braces are installed, you might find it uncomfortable to eat certain foods. Once this soreness subsides, you should be able to eat normally again without any pain.
- What can’t I eat with braces?
When talking about braces, people often mention the foods you can’t eat while wearing them. While it’s true that there are foods you should avoid, this list is smaller than you might think. At Szymanowski Ortho, we give patients a comprehensive list of foods to avoid, so there’s no guessing down the road. This list includes popcorn, ice, peanuts, gum, caramel, etc.
- What if I experience a broken appliance or a problem with my braces?
Orthodontic emergencies that require immediate treatment are very rare, but they happen from time to time. If you’re experiencing severe pain or find that a bracket has broken, most orthodontists will provide an emergency contact number. At Szymanowski Ortho, we can make emergency appointments or provide advice for temporary treatments at home over the phone. We’ll work with you to get things straightened out as quickly as possible.
- Should I continue visiting my regular dentist while my orthodontic treatment is ongoing?
Yes! Regular appointments with your normal dentist will ensure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while they’re being straightened. They also act as a set of trained eyes that can alert your orthodontist about anything that looks abnormal.
- How do I find an orthodontist?
A dentist’s referral isn’t necessary to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist, but you should certainly consider any of his or her recommendations. You can contact an orthodontist directly to schedule an appointment.
Szymanowski Ortho offers free initial consultations to get things started, so you can hit the ground running on your orthodontic treatment. We’ll go over your unique situation together, and decide on possible courses of action. If you’re in the Sacramento area, feel free to give us a call at 916.993.4171 or visit us here.
To read more FAQs or learn more about braces in general, visit our treatment page. We hope to talk to you soon!