Teen boy prepping for braces

Once you and your orthodontist have come up with your treatment plan and you have decided to get braces, you are probably feeling both excited and a little nervous. Maybe you are wondering what exactly you should do to prepare for your braces. You might also be curious about how wearing braces will change the structure of your mouth and how long it will take for those changes to show. Although each person has a unique treatment plan, here are some common practices and expectations for your  braces.

What should I do the night before I get braces?

  • Eat any of your favorite foods that will be banned once you get your braces on. Here are some common foods that you will have to avoid eating with braces:
    • Hard candy
    • Popcorn
    • Beef jerky
    • Sticky candy, like taffy
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Crusty and/or hard breads like pizza crust
  • Take a picture so you can compare what you look like before and after you have braces.
  • Make sure you have plenty of soft foods stocked up. You will want to eat mainly soft foods for at least the first few days after you get your braces on.
  • Also ensure that you have over-the-counter pain medication, like acetaminophen, and make sure your orthodontist gives you dental wax.
    • After getting your braces put on, your teeth will likely be sore for the first few days. So take a dose of pain reliever 1 hour before the appointment, as it will help ease the soreness in your mouth. And follow the directions of the medicine if you feel additional relief is needed.
    • It is also common for the brackets and wires to rub against your cheeks and cause irritation. Placing wax over the brackets and wires that are bothering your cheeks will help reduce this.
  • Floss and brush your teeth.
  • Imagine what your smile will look like once your braces are off!

When will I start to see a difference while wearing braces?

Every person will have a different timeline with braces because everyone’s mouth is unique. Generally, people wear braces for two to three years even if you notice changes in your teeth’s appearance after as little as a week.

Can I make the time in braces go faster?

Your orthodontist is a specialist who knows the most effective way to straighten your teeth and give you a healthy smile. Following all of your orthodontist’s instructions, particularly those regarding rubber band cooperation, will speed up your treatment!  Ask your orthodontist if they offer new devices that are also available to decrease your time in treatment.

If you feel like you just can’t wait to see the results, try this trick…take a picture of your teeth after each orthodontist appointment. Then, after a few visits, you can compare pictures and see how far your teeth have come.