laughing school girl with braces

Getting Braces: What You Should Know

Team Orthodontics

If you’ve decided to get braces for your child—or maybe even for yourself!—you likely have a lot of questions about the process. Is it uncomfortable? Will the results last? And, most importantly, how are you going to keep your kid from eating chewy candy for the next two years?!

Below, we answer some of the most common questions and concerns parents and patients have about getting braces.

It Might Be Uncomfortable at Times

Do braces hurt? It’s a question we get asked a lot and it’s hard to answer because everyone experiences pain differently. We’d say that while braces aren’t painful, they can cause discomfort, especially in the first week or so of orthodontic treatment.

When your child gets braces, it's natural for them to feel some tightness since the brackets and wires apply gentle, constant pressure to the teeth in order to move them. Headaches are also common during this time. This pressure will be most noticeable just after they get their braces and every time they have their wires adjusted or tightened. If your child is uncomfortable, give them an over-the-counter pain reliever and soft foods until the soreness subsides.

Orthodontic Emergencies Do Happen

Brackets loosen and fall off. Wires bend the wrong way and poke the cheek. It happens to everyone, and when it does, you should call our office.

We may tell you not to worry about it and that we'll take care of it the next time we see your child at our office, or we could tell you to come in right away so we can take care of it ASAP. If you wait a few weeks to let us know your child lost a bracket, it could cause a delay in their treatment and mean they’ll have to spend more time wearing braces.

Some Foods Will Be Off-Limits

The most effective method for avoiding orthodontic emergencies and damaged brackets is to follow the food guidelines we provide. After patients eat items that are either too hard or too chewy, we notice a lot of damaged orthodontia! Everyone knows not to eat popcorn or chew gum, but apples and carrots should be sliced into bite-sized pieces rather than eaten whole, hard nuts such as almonds should be avoided, and even tough, chewy cuts of meat and jerky can break brackets.

Dental Hygiene Is Harder––and More Important Than Ever

Many kids get their braces removed, only to feel a sense of disappointment when they look at their teeth—sure, they’re straight, but they’re also stained! This is what happens if you do not have good oral hygiene habits while wearing braces. We understand that flossing and brushing around all of those brackets and wires is inconvenient, but it's important since cavity-causing plaque and tartar can easily develop around braces. Your child should clean between their teeth using a floss threader or a water flosser, and brush for at least two minutes, twice a day.

Braces Are Not a Permanent Solution (But Retainers Are!)

Getting braces removed isn’t the end of orthodontic treatment—it’s just the beginning of the next phase! Teeth will only stay straight if your child wears their retainers as instructed. They may need to wear their retainers all day after their braces are removed, but they’ll soon be able to wear them only at night, and then only every other night, depending on their needs. 

Learn More About Getting Braces

We hope we've answered your questions about getting braces. Want to learn more? Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our 4 Long Island locations.