While there are many types of braces that are used to create straight, aligned teeth and an overall gorgeous smile, the transition to wearing any type of braces can be challenging. Most people who have worn braces in the past will happily tell you that the experience was worthwhile, and they may have a beautiful smile to show for the effort. However, you may have heard numerous stories about the hassles, headaches and pains associated with this type of oral treatment. If you are preparing to transition to braces soon, follow these important steps to streamline the process and to make the adjustment more easily.
1- Prepare Your Finances
If you are financially responsible for your oral healthcare expenses, you may have already received a cost estimate from your orthodontic provider for the total cost of treatment. When you review this estimate, pay attention to the aspects of treatment that are not included. For example, you may need to wear a retainer after the treatment, but this expense may not be included in the cost that you have been quoted. Many people plan to pay for braces through a monthly payment plan. If this is your financial plan, ensure that you have updated your budget so that you can afford to complete the entire treatment.
2- Stock Your Pantry and Fridge
As soon as your braces are on, you may feel a moderate amount of pain. This pain may increase substantially over the next day or two before it goes away. Many people say that wearing braces initially feels like having a mouth full of loose teeth. Biting down on food can be painful. With this in mind, it is best to stock your fridge with cold, soft foods. Cold foods may feel particularly good because they can numb some of the pain. You may also eat soups and other hot foods for meals. Keep in mind that some foods may not be eaten for the entire time you are wearing braces, such as corn on the cob and other foods. Remove these items from your kitchen to avoid making an unintentional mistake.
3- Purchase the Right Hygiene Items
Cleaning your teeth with braces on can be challenging. In addition to the pain associated with brushing your teeth initially and after each additional appointment, you may also struggle to remove food around brackets. Many people find that the use of a water flosser device is helpful. You may also invest in a bristled wire cleaner and dental wax.
4- Take a Painkiller Before Your Appointment
Immediately before your appointment, consider taking an over-the-counter painkiller. This can help you to feel more comfortable during the procedure and for a few hours afterward. You may continue to take a painkiller as recommended for the next few days. Keep in mind you may be sore for a day or two after each future visit, so you may wish to have painkillers on-hand.
5- Take a Day or Two Off
While getting braces can be painful, the pain is manageable. In addition to dealing with the pain and eating very carefully, you may also need to practice speaking with the brackets and wires in your mouth. Some people need more time initially to learn how to manage dental hygiene efforts effectively. With this in mind, it may be helpful to schedule your appointment before a weekend so that you can have a few days to adjust to all of these changes and for the pain to recede. Otherwise, consider taking a day or two off from normal activities to reduce your stress level as you make this adjustment.
Many people who wear braces must do so for a year or two. Frequent orthodontic visits, special oral hygiene efforts, limited food options and varying amounts of discomfort and pain are common during this period of time. You may quickly become accustomed to these changes in your life, but the transition period can be challenging for some people. By taking these steps to prepare for your appointment, you can make the transition more easily.