Thinking about braces, but wondering if they’re really the best choice for you? There are a few things that may help you decide. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from Gellerman Orthodontics patients.

What Types of Food Should I Avoid With Braces?

When you have braces, there are a few eating habits that you might need to adjust. The following types of food can damage your braces, so it’s best to avoid them.

  • Hard foods: examples include nuts, hard candy, hard cookies
  • Sticky foods: examples include caramels, Tootsie Rolls, and toffee
  • Chewy foods: examples include bagels, licorice, pizza crust, French bread
  • Crunchy foods: examples include popcorn, raw celery, pretzels, and hard taco shells
  • Foods you bite into: examples include corn on the cob, raw whole apples, and carrots

You also need to avoid gum, ice, and other non-food things. Avoid the urge to chew on pencils or straws, for example.

How Can Braces Interfere With My Lifestyle?

Braces can definitely affect your life, so it’s important to understand a few things. First, the earlier in life that you start treatment, the faster it works. Adults generally need to wear braces for longer because their jaws are already fully formed, while children’s jaws are still developing and are thus more pliable. Some adults need to have dental work to get the maximum benefit from braces. This may include extractions or orthognathic surgery to expand the jaw.

When you initially get braces, it’s not unusual to have some tenderness, or your teeth may feel a little bit loose. This is completely normal, so don’t worry: that loose sensation will go away quickly as your teeth adjust to the braces.

You already know that you’ll need to adjust your eating patterns, at least a little. But, in general you won’t have to really give up very many foods for braces. You can still enjoy most dairy products, meat, seafood, veggies, fruits, breads, and soft desserts.

Will Braces Hurt?

It’s normal to have some soreness or minor pain in the beginning. Dr. Gellerman recommends a saltwater rinse to alleviate this soreness. Just dissolve a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water. Swish the solution around your mouth, gargle for a minute or two, and then spit it out.

If that doesn’t sufficiently relieve the discomfort, an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol or Motrin can help. In the first week or two of wearing traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, or lingual braces, you might have some irritated skin in the cheeks, tongue, and lips. Wax can coat the wires and brackets to relieve this problem, so just ask a member of the Gellerman Orthodontics team for some wax to take home with you!

When is the Ideal Age to Get Braces?

The ideal time to have an orthodontic evaluation, and start treatment if needed, is at age 6-7. An early start is so beneficial because the jaw is more malleable when it’s still growing. Although it’s ideal to get braces earlier rather than later, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get orthodontic treatment later in life. Dr. Gellerman can work with you to straighten your teeth, no matter what your age. As an adult, you might need to wear braces for longer than you would otherwise, but with Dr. Gellerman’s help you can still get fantastic results.

Can I Get Less Noticeable Braces?

Braces can have an effect on your appearance, but it might be a considerably smaller one than you think. Today’s orthodontia is so advanced that braces brackets are much smaller and thinner than they were a few decades ago. There are also a couple of options for patients who want extremely unobtrusive or even invisible braces: ceramic braces have clear brackets, and lingual braces are on the backs of your teeth instead of being outward-facing. If having invisible braces is important to you, Dr. Gellerman may recommend Invisalign, which consists of see-through trays that are custom shaped for your teeth.

Have more questions about braces or other orthodontic treatments? The Gellerman Orthodontics team is here to help. Call the office or use the online contact form to get started now.