Seeing adults wearing braces is very uncommon. However, if you notice your oral health or teeth are not in good shape, it may be something you’d want to consider.
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Having braces can impose a significant change in your lifestyle, which is why it’s important to know exactly what it is and what you’re getting yourself into. But before you think about getting braces for yourself or your child, medical advice from your doctor or orthodontist is essential.
The Purpose Of Braces
If your dentist has suggested you or your child braces, then you most likely need it. Braces are designed to improve orofacial appearance by correcting and fixing crooked teeth, overbite or underbite as well as correcting poor jaw position.
Getting braces is not just for improved aesthetics, but it also improves the overall health of your teeth and mouth. If crooked teeth and the mentioned complications in your teeth are left uncorrected and untreated, long term side effects may follow. These include:
- Speech impairment
- Difficulty chewing
- Difficulty speaking
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Bad breath
- Headaches and earaches
Timing is essential when it comes to braces. Dentists will recommend that they braces are applied at younger ages, between 10-14 as teeth are still growing. Once done in the later ages, it may be hard to fix certain complications. Although it is recommended that braces are applied during your younger ages, it is not uncommon to find adults wearing braces.
How Long Do You Have to Keep Braces On For?
How long you wear braces will depend on the type of treatment you undertake as well as the natural condition of your teeth. The more complicated the problem or complication in your oral health is, the longer it may take for your teeth to straighten from wearing braces.
Most patients will usually wear braces between 23 and 24 months. During this period, your dentist will regularly check up on the condition of your teeth and whether it needs to be adjusted or even removed sooner. After removing braces at the end of the process, you will be required to wear a retainer to help your teeth and its gums align.
Speak With Your Orthodontist
Even if you already have straight teeth, you need to get regular checkups with your dentist at least once a year. This is particularly important for young children as their teeth are still growing.
Not only are orthodontists the only ones who can advise and apply braces for you, but they can also give you the best advice on how to keep your oral health up to standard and give you a general clean. Orthodontists can also give you other forms of treatments and procedures for other oral health concerns such as filling cavities and removing wisdom teeth.
What to Expect After Getting Braces
Your mouth and jaw are likely to feel very sensitive and tender in the first couple of weeks and mainly in the first couple of days. Until you can get used to having braces in your mouth, you may feel discomfort every time you drink or eat. This is why its best to avoid eating large, hard or solid food pieces.
Your orthodontist will advise you on the best foods to eat as well as how best to prepare meals. Once you get used to it, having braces is very bearable. Do keep in mind that whenever the wires in braces are replaced or tightened, the tenderness and sensitivity will return.
Foods to Avoid After Getting Braces
- Fruits – Choose fruits that are soft and don’t require too much bite power. Chop them up into smaller pieces if necessary.
- Veggies – Stick to soft vegetables such as leafy greens, boiled or steamed carrots and broccoli. Don’t bite into something that requires a lot of chewing.
- Grains – Bread and pasta are good but only when they are soft. Biting hard bread rolls may cause discomfort in your teeth as well as having small bits stuck in and between your teeth and braces. Cut them up if necessary.
- Dairy – Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are great as not only are they nutrient-dense, they are soft and easy to bite into.
- Meat and fish – for red meats, try to cut them into smaller pieces, so you don’t have to chew as much. Although fish is usually soft, still be cautious when chewing.
When having braces on, watching what you eat is very important as certain foods may cause you pain and discomfort as well as hampering the effectiveness of the braces.
With that being said, that doesn’t mean, you don’t have to stick to bland food all the time. Meal prep is an essential part of having a good diet, enjoying your food while maintaining the effectiveness of your braces.
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