A large part of getting braces is understanding what life with braces will be like—after all, you may be on your orthodontic journey for anywhere from twelve to twenty-four months. Knowing what to expect is a key step in getting the smile of your life.
When you first get braces, there will definitely be an adjustment period. Everyone is different, but for most people, it takes three to seven days to get used to the feeling. Minor lifestyle changes must be made to ensure a healthy and straight smile, depending upon the treatment type you select.
Eating with Braces
The first day with braces, there will be no discomfort—just an overall “weird feeling.” Most kids laugh after braces have been adhered to their teeth because they think it tickles; I love this reaction! On days two to four, however, you will most likely experience a feeling of general soreness. This is when it is especially important to eat soft foods, including pasta, soup, and mashed potatoes.
After the initial adjustment period, you will need to be mindful of the foods and snacks you eat. You don’t want your brackets or wires to break as this will delay your treatment process. This means avoiding overly crunchy or sticky foods including hard breads, raw vegetables, popcorn, nuts, and candy.
Additionally, you will also need to get rid of some questionable habits including chewing on pens or pencils and biting your nails. These habits can not only cause damage to your braces but are bad for your teeth as well!
Cleaning Your Teeth
This is my favorite subject and an extremely important topic to discuss if you have braces or not. Your orthodontist will give you ample instructions on how to properly brush and floss your teeth, but it will take longer to clean your teeth than it previously had. Using extra tools such as floss threaders, interproximal brushes, and a WaterPik may be useful in removing food particles from around the brackets and wires. At the end of your time in braces, you don’t want any discoloration or stains on your teeth!
Clear Aligner Patients
A main advantage of Invisalign is not having to give up any particular foods, as you do with traditional braces. However, there is one habit that you’ll need to keep in mind with this treatment option—snacking. I wore Invisalign for roughly five months to correct some minor rotations and never realized how often I snacked! For these aligners to be effective, you must wear them for twenty-two hours a day.
You must also remember to put them back in your mouth after meals. Setting a reminder on your smartphone is an easy way to not forget. Additionally, if you are traveling over a period of time when you need to switch to your next aligner, you must remember to pack that set with you. You want your time in aligners to be as efficient and quick as possible! Regardless of the treatment option you choose, it’s important to prepare yourself for lifestyle changes. Now you know what to expect from braces and clear aligners, so you can prepare questions for your orthodontist during the initial evaluation. If you are looking for additional information on what to expect from orthodontics, grab a copy of my book, The Smile of Your Life: Everything You Need To Know For Your Orthodontic Journey.