Teenagers are the most likely candidates for braces since they are still growing, which means that their oral structures are more receptive to changes. This makes treating them with orthodontic procedures cheaper and more efficient than treating adults with the same issues.
However, teens are also the most likely to be nervous about getting braces, due to misgivings about their appearance, playing sports, and more. Both teens and their parents could benefit from a guide that honestly talks about the ups and downs of teen braces, which is why we compiled this list of common questions to ease your mind about your new treatment.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
What Do Braces Feel Like?
The first thing to know about braces is that they aren’t painful, but they can be uncomfortable at first. Braces work by applying constant pressure to your teeth through a tightened wire, which is connected to each tooth by a series of brackets. The feeling is often described as “tight” or it feels like “pressure.”
Even this feeling, which should never be painful, is something that new patients get used to in a week or two. Soon, you won’t feel anything at all.
Are There a Lot of Foods That Aren’t Allowed?
A lot of teens have heard horror stories from their friends about the strict diet that wearing braces requires. The list of banned foods, which includes soda, popcorn, nuts, chips, and candy, makes it sound like wearing braces bans you from eating everything fun.
However, the list is a guide to the foods that will make wearing braces more difficult, which makes it a good thing in the long run. Foods that are too hard or sticky can bend or even break braces, which can lead to extra trips to the orthodontist as well as potentially painful mishaps.
The important thing to remember is that the banned food list is not a catch-all for everything tasty. It just requires a bit of smart changes. For example, instead of eating hard candies or chewing taffy, opt for braces-friendly desserts like cake, cookies, brownies, chocolate, or ice cream. Anything hard and sticky should be avoided but anything soft can still be enjoyed normally.
Can I Still Brush and Floss?
This brings up the question of how brushing and flossing work with braces. Since food and sugars can get trapped behind braces and cause a buildup of plaque, it’s important to maintain a healthy brushing regimen. This means brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day, with a soft-bristled, preferably mechanical toothbrush. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
With so many extra surfaces and crannies in your mouth while you have braces, it’s important to brush every surface, getting around the brackets and wires. As for flossing, your orthodontist can show you how to use a “threader,” a small loop that allows you to work your floss around your braces.
It’s important to brush and floss since cavities, gum disease, and other issues can be exacerbated by braces if food gets trapped and is allowed to build up.
How Long Do Braces Last?
Everyone’s treatment is different, depending on the severity of their oral issues as well as their age. However, braces typically last around two years, though some patients can finish their treatment in only one. Since each mouth is unique, each treatment time will be unique as well.
Can I Still Play Sports?
Braces will not impact your ability to play sports, though high contact sports may make an orthodontic mouthguard a good idea. Speak with your doctor about getting one so you can protect your appliance (and your lips) from damaging blows.
For band members, braces present a similar issue, especially for those whose instruments require forward pressure on the lips, such as a trumpet. Braces may make playing more difficult at first, but you can speak with your provider about getting some dental wax to pad the area while you play.
Are There Any Other Options for Teen Braces?
For whatever reason, if braces aren’t the right choice for you or your teen, there are alternative treatments that can accomplish the same results. Invisalign is an established alternative to braces that uses clear plastic aligners to gradually move teeth into alignment in a similar way. Since they can be removed, these aligners have no dietary, sports, or brushing restrictions.
However, Invisalign is a self-guided treatment, meaning the patient is responsible for wearing the appliance the appropriate amount of time to achieve the desired result. Invisalign is also typically more expensive than braces and less frequently covered by insurance.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.