So you're thinking about getting braces? Congratulations! You're taking a big step towards improving the health of your teeth, as well as getting that killer smile into shape. To get yourself ready and ensure you take great care of your teeth while you're undergoing treatment, be sure to do these things before and after getting braces.
Some foods just don't do so well with braces as they can pop brackets and bend wires, which will not only ruin your day but will send you running back to your orthodontist for repairs. In the week before you hit the orthodontist's chair to have your braces fitted, make sure you indulge in a few of the treats that you'll need to avoid during treatment.
Nuts and hard lollies – they're the main offenders for broken wires in braces, so get your fix before your braces are fitted!
Chewy foods (such as toffee) – they're known to damage the brackets on your braces
Popcorn – braces can act as a catch-all for popcorn, so get your fill in the week before your treatment!
Hard crust pizza and bread rolls
Crunchy fruits and vegetables, like whole apples and carrots
If you haven't already done so in the last few months, go back to your general dentist for a routine check and scale and clean. Your orthodontist needs your teeth and gums to be 100% tip-top healthy before the braces are fitted.
Also, be sure to thoroughly brush your teeth and floss in the lead up to your appointment so that your teeth and gums are in the best possible condition on the day your braces are applied.
On the day of your orthodontist appointment you might be feeling a little bit nervous about how your braces are going to look and feel, but it is important to keep the end result in mind and let your orthodontist know if you're experiencing any discomfort during your braces application.
There are a number of things you can do on the day of your appointment to help settle your nerves and ensure your appointment goes smoothly.
In order to have the cement adhere to your teeth correctly, your orthodontist needs a plaque-free surface, so if you're wanting to avoid a professional clean before your application it's best to gently clean your teeth after your last meal before your appointment.
· Take a before selfie
When we're feeling self-conscious about our teeth we tend to smile with our mouth closed, but before you head in take a photo with your teeth on display. You'll enjoy looking back on your teeth before treatment and seeing how much your smile is changing along the way.
· Run your tongue over your teeth
While the temptation is strong, you're going to want to avoid poking around your braces with your tongue. After cleaning your teeth take a moment to run your tongue over your teeth to feel the smoothness – it will also be the first thing you do once your braces come off.
Once you're braces are fitted, you'll need to make small changes to your day-to-day behaviour to make sure your treatment runs smoothly. Here are some of the habits you can start the day after your appointment so you're not heading back to the chair sooner than your next appointment!
· Keep pain relief handy
You may experience some discomfort for up to a week as you adjust to your new braces. Make the adjustment period easier on yourself and take some over-the-counter pain relief like Paracetamol (e.g. Panadol) or Ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen) at the first hint of aches or soreness.
· Eat soft foods
Not only will soft foods be safer for your braces in the long run, but your teeth will probably not be up to the task of anything particularly hard or chewy. Bananas, soups and pastas are all great options that will play nice with your new braces.
· Brush your teeth after eating
Keeping food out of your braces can be tricky, but you will have a much easier time caring for your braces – not to mention the health of your teeth and gums – if you start brushing your teeth after every meal. Get a soft travel tooth brush and pop it in your bag so you'll always have it on you.
If you haven't made your appointment to get your braces yet you can find the best orthodontist in your area by using our Find an Orthodontist tool.