Look, I’ve been there, the day I found out I had to get braces, I thought my life had ended. I was balling crying to my mam trying to figure out a plan where I could convince my Orthodontist that he had got it wrong. I had heard the urban legends floating around about braces and I was terrified.
But here’s the thing, looking back on it now, it genuinely wasn’t that bad. Of course, they could be time-consuming and it was embarrassing when I got food stuck in the brackets, but honestly, I’m so glad I got them.
So what are braces actually like? Well if you’re going to get some there probably are a few things you should know but definitely nothing as bad as what you’ve heard through the grapevine.
1. There are a lot of appointments involved
Getting braces on is just the first step. After you will probably need to visit the orthodontist on a semi-regular basis, to get them tightened, which is what helps keep your teeth moving into the right position. The frequency of appointments will depend on your case but will become less often the longer you have them on.
2. You may have to give up some foods
So, unfortunately, it may be time to chuck that pack of gum in the bin. Some foods can damage or get caught in your braces, so you may have to switch up your diet a bit. Your orthodontist will mention these to you but in general stay away from tough, hard foods that you have to bite into like corn on the cob, nuts, hard chewy sweets, and things like that.
3. They do take some maintenance
Your brushing routine will get a little bit longer, as you have to clean in between your braces with a special tiny brush. It might take a while to get used to, but eventually, it’ll become second nature and you won’t even have to think about it. This step really shouldn’t be skipped as cleaning can actually help the braces move your teeth into position and if not done you might have to wear your braces for longer.
4. The work doesn’t end when your braces come off
Once you say bye-bye to braces, you’ll probably say hello to a shiny new retainer. A retainer is kind of like a thin mouth guard or a splint that stops your teeth from moving back into their old position (and yes they can do that, but if you wear your retainer it shouldn’t be an issue.) When you need to wear the retainer will depend on your case, but most people start off on 24 hours, taking it off for meals only, then switch to just at night after a few months.
Ask your orthodontist if a permanent retainer is a right fit for you. A permanent retainer is a wire that gets glued to the back of your teeth and helps to keep your teeth straight. Although you will still have to wear the non-permanent retainers, you won’t have to wear them as often and if you forget to wear them for a while, there’s less chance of your teeth moving.
It might seem like a lot but most of this becomes second nature once you actually get your braces on. It’s really not as terrifying as it might seem, but if you have any questions or concerns most orthodontists are happy to help and should have the answers.
And every time you take out your cleaning tools to get in between your braces, just remind yourself of how worth it it’s going to be when you have that Hollywood smile!
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