Braces have essentially become a rite of passage for teenagers nowadays. It is actually more common for teens to wear braces than not—it is estimated that over 80% of all teenagers will get braces or Invisalign at some point during their high school years to address orthodontic issues. Treatment with braces typically takes around two years, but this really depends on what the diagnosis is and how quickly the patient’s teeth move.

The most immediate benefit of braces is also, thankfully, the most obvious: you’ll enjoy an incredible self-esteem boost as a direct result of your treatment. When you know that you finally have that perfect smile you’ve always wanted, you’re more likely to show it off – making you a much happier person as a result.

Braces can also help act as a preventative measure to correct the types of negative issues that will impact you later on in life, so regardless of which angle you choose to examine the situation from, it’s clearly a good idea.

Life With Braces

Braces should not seriously alter your teen’s life, though there are some precautions that they should keep in mind day-to-day. We recommend avoiding hard, chewy, or sticky foods, as these tend to break or damage the braces. If your teen does happen to eat food that is off-limits and their braces break, call your orthodontist immediately to come in for an appointment. In the meantime, they can use dental wax provided by your orthodontist to keep any wires from poking their gums. When participating in contact sports or other intense physical activity, your teen should wear a braces-friendly mouthguard to protect their teeth.

Braces are not painful, but they do tend to cause some soreness after visits to the orthodontist. During these visits, the orthodontist will manually tighten the braces in order to keep treatment moving along at an appropriate pace. Any discomfort caused by tightenings can be alleviated by eating soft foods and taking a pain reliever for the first day or so after an appointment. Some patients report tenderness after first getting braces put on due to the metal brackets rubbing against the soft tissue of the gums or tongue. In this case, putting some dental wax on top of the brackets will leave a smooth surface and prevent irritation.

Another thing to keep in mind is that braces require a bit more care and attention in terms of dental hygiene. The brackets and wires act as a magnet for plaque and buildup, making it easier to get cavities, gum disease, or discoloration of the teeth. Taking the time to really brush between brackets and use the special flosser provided by your orthodontist is important to keep teeth healthy and white throughout treatment.

How Long Will I Wear Braces?

It’s important to note that the answer to this question is obviously going to vary depending on the patient. Certain types of issues simply take longer to correct than others, and your total length of treatment will be impacted by a number of different factors.

Overall, you can probably expect to wear braces for around one to two years – but again, that could be longer or shorter depending on the situation. Don’t worry – our team will go over all of this with you ahead of time so that you know exactly what to expect moving forward.

How Do I Care For My Braces?

Ultimately, caring for your braces is fairly straightforward. All you have to do is make sure that you brush and floss your teeth after every meal and make sure that you’re taking care of any food particles that may be stuck in or around the brackets.

Though at the end of the day, all of this is the type of dental hygiene approach that you should have already been practicing. Provided that you were, you really won’t notice much in the way of a difference to your normal routine.

Can I Play Sports With Braces?

It is absolutely possible to get braces and still live an active lifestyle. Having said that, you will want to wear a mouth guard during sports – especially those that are prone to high contact situations, like football. Doing so will not only protect your teeth, but it’ll also safeguard the brackets and wires, too.

What Can I Eat With Braces?

Overall, there are definitely certain types of foods you’ll want to steer clear of during the course of your treatment. These include any foods that are particularly sticky, for example, with hard candies being a prominent example. Likewise, you’ll want to avoid foods like popcorn that could potentially get stuck in and around the brackets, and you’ll want to stop eating very hard foods like hard pretzels that could cause damage and delay the completion of your treatment.

Price Of Braces

The total cost of your braces treatment will vary depending on what your diagnosis is and how quickly your teeth move. For cosmetic fixes, treatment is typically shorter and therefore less costly than longer, more intense orthodontic work. The best way to get an accurate price estimate for braces treatment is to come into our office for a complimentary consultation. If price is a concern for you or your family, our staff are happy to work with you in achieving your desired results. At Sherman & Balhoff Orthodontics, we believe that everyone should be able to attain their dream smile, no matter what their financial situation is.