If you’re an adult looking to get braces, you’re probably worried about embarrassing middle school flashbacks. In reality, it’s quite common for adults to get braces. It’s normal to feel apprehensive and nervous, but if you’re in the process of deciding whether to go through with it, knowing these valuable tips can help prepare you for the process.
1. Do Your Research
There are plenty of options today besides the traditional metal braces. You can get ceramic ones that match the color of your teeth and are less noticeable. Self-ligating braces are similar to the traditional ones but slightly more expensive. There are lingual braces that attach to the inside of your teeth which isn’t as visible on the outside. There are also clear invisible braces which are custom made. However, these need to be removed when you eat and replaced every 2 weeks which makes them an expensive option. Try and find the best fit for your lifestyle and budget.
2. Focus On The Benefits
It can be easy to back out of getting braces because of embarrassment and apprehension. It helps to think of the positive sides of getting braces. It will straighten your teeth and improve your smile – perfect to boost your confidence! During the treatment, you can even play around with the colors of your brackets and rubber bands when you get them tightened.
3. Find A Good Orthodontist
Orthodontists are dentists that specialize in braces and it’s important to find the best one you can. A good orthodontist will walk you through all your options and honestly tell you what might fit you best. It’s not a bad idea to get a consultation at two or three places before making a final decision.
4. Stock Up On Soft Foods
Know that for a few days after you get your braces put in, you may feel some amount of discomfort. It’s best to stick to soft, cold foods during this time. Think smoothies, soups, oatmeal, or quinoa. You can even purée fruits and veggies to make sure that you’re not missing out on essential nutrients. Cold treats like frozen fruit yogurt popsicles can be great as well, as long as you don’t bite down on them. Remember, you will have to follow this soft food diet for a few days every time you get them tightened.
5. Be Prepared For Maintenance
Braces need to be cleaned often and thoroughly. Those metal wires make it easier for food to get stuck right in the middle of your teeth. Eventually, this will cause erosion and cavities. To avoid this, you might be given special brushes to clean your mouth and it’s important to do this after every meal. Mouthwash and dental floss are also essential additions to your dental hygiene kit. If you have any other queries about hygiene, your orthodontist should be more than happy to answer them for you.
6. Know What To Avoid
Some foods are off limits as long as you have braces. Most foods that are crunchy, gummy, or overly chewy are out of the menu for a while. You can probably indulge yourself on very rare occasions. Again, clarify with your orthodontist what foods you’re not allowed to eat. If you’re preparing to get braces, you may want to spend the day before satisfying your cravings for these foods before taking the plunge.
7. Understand The Procedure
Having a rough idea of the procedure itself can help ease some of your nerves when you get your braces. First, they place bands on your back molars. You might start to feel some pressure on your teeth at this point. Each of your teeth will have a metal or ceramic bracket attached to it using a special type of glue. These are used to support the wires of the braces. You can have some fun here since you might get to choose the colors of your brackets. Wires are then placed on the tops and bottoms of the brackets. These wires are what align your teeth into the desired position. Finally, small rubber bands will be inserted to keep the wires in the brackets.
8. Relax Your Nerves
Before you have your braces put in, you may have what feels like an excruciatingly long wait. In this time, try to relax with a playlist of your favorite music. You can even try to meditate and do some deep-breathing exercises while in the waiting room to calm your anxiety. If you choose a well-rated orthodontist you can rest assured that you’re in safe hands. Remember, a mild topical anesthetic may be used. You would feel pressure on your teeth and slight discomfort, but that’s pretty much it.
In most cases, you would have to use braces for an average of 1–3 years. In this time, you’ll get used to your appearance and learn how to take care of them well. It will be worth it once you see a newer and dazzling smile!