If your dentist has recommended braces to help straighten your teeth and solve other bite problems, you might have a few questions rushing through your head: does it hurt to get braces? How long does it take to put them on? How are braces put on at all?
It’s natural to be curious about the procedure and we always recommend quizzing your dentist in person — but if you’re looking for a few quick answers about getting braces on, we’re here to help.
In this article, we answer a few common questions we get from patients who are due to get braces. Read on.
How are braces applied?
If your dentist has recommended traditional braces, the process is reasonably simple. If your teeth are very close together, your dentist might put “spacers” (i.e. little rubber bands) between your teeth a week before the procedure — this ensures there is enough space for the bands to fit around the back of your teeth.
Your teeth and jaw will probably be a little sore because your teeth are moving to accommodate the spacers. You can treat this with over-the-counter painkillers — we recommend Ibuprofen.
When it’s time for putting braces on, you can expect the following steps:
- Cleaning. Before your dentist can apply the braces, your teeth will need to be very clean. Your dentist will spend some time cleaning and drying your teeth to prepare them for the brackets (i.e. the small metal or ceramic pieces that hold the wires in place between your teeth).
- Gluing on the brackets. Next, your dentist will place a small amount of glue in the centre of each tooth — it will taste a little bad, but it’s not dangerous or toxic. Once the glue has been set, your dentist will glue a bracket onto the centre of each tooth.
- Putting on the bands. To anchor your braces, your dentist will put metal bands around your molars. There might be some maneuvering, twisting and pressure at this point — your dentist will be adjusting the band so it’s comfortable. If you feel any pain or pinching, let the dentist know
- Attaching the archwires. Once the brackets and bands are in place, your dentist can attach the archwire to the brackets. The archwire is secured by wrapping ligatures (little rubber bands) around each of the brackets. This is the fun part — here’s where you get to choose what colour you want on your braces!
- Snipping the archwire. Once the archwire has been placed, your dentist will snip the ends to ensure the wire doesn’t touch or scratch the gums at the back of your mouth.
Getting braces on is really quite simple — the only complicated part is if you need lingual braces, in which case the brackets are applied to the back of the teeth instead of the front. We do not offer lingual braces at Swansea Dental Practice as they need to be applied by a specially trained orthodontist.
How long does it take to get braces put on?
For most patients, it takes around one or two hours for braces to be put on — this includes the time spent cleaning and drying your teeth. However, there are a few factors that can cause the procedure to take longer than two hours like the severity of your alignment problems and the type of braces you’re getting.
Because this is one of our lengthier procedures, please let us know if you’re experiencing any pain, pinching or discomfort. We want to make sure the procedure is both quick and comfortable for you.
Is it painful putting braces on?
Generally speaking, putting braces on should not be painful but you might feel a slight pinching sensation when we are putting the bands on.
Most patients will not feel any pinching, so we ask that you tell us if you’re experiencing any discomfort when we are applying the bands. There’s no reason to feel anxious about your appointment — we’ll make the process as comfortable as possible.
A few hours after your appointment, you will start to feel some pain and soreness in your teeth and gums. This will last for a week or so. During this time, you’ll be getting used to the feeling of your new braces — the wires and bands in your braces will start to put pressure on your teeth and slowly straighten them. Naturally, this will take some getting used to.
In the first week, you might also experience:
- Pressure and soreness around your teeth and gums, especially while chewing
- Discomfort or cuts on your tongue (from running it across your new braces)
- Sores or pain on the insides of your lips and cheeks.
Most patients tend to get used to their braces within a month and after six, you might not notice them at all.
What to eat after getting braces on
Your teeth and gums will feel a little tender for about a week after getting braces on your dentist will provide recommendations and advice to help alleviate the pain and care for your braces. They will also provide a thick wax you can use to cover the parts of your braces that are causing pain or sores in your cheeks and lips.
Chewing can cause a bit of pain and discomfort. Here are some soft foods you can eat until the pain wears off:
- Mashed potatoes, peas or cauliflower
- Soft-cooked vegetables
- Soft fruits like berries and bananas
- Scrambled eggs
- Fresh fish
- Macaroni and cheese/other kinds of pasta
- Icecream, frozen yoghurt and jelly
- Smoothies and soups.
If you have more questions about getting braces on, get in touch with our team today
We’ve covered off a few common questions here, but we have no doubt you have a few more on your mind!
For more information about how braces are put on, please feel free to get in touch with our team on (02) 4971 1432 or book an appointment with your regular dentist. We can provide all the information you need to eliminate any worries or concerns.