Let’s have an honest discussion about braces. If you’ve never had them, you’ve probably seen them on the bright faces of tweens and teens who are growing into their adult teeth.
We’ve all heard the nicknames for braces: brace face, train tracks, metal mouth, tinsel teeth, the alliterative list goes on. The good news is, the metal brackets are far from your only option when it comes to getting braces.
Why do I even need braces?
Honestly, it could be any number of things. A need for braces can stem from an injury, an imperfect bite, early (or late) tooth loss as a kid, thumb-sucking, or even just plain old genetics. If everyone in your family needed braces at some point, your children probably will too, even if you miraculously manage to keep their thumbs out of their mouths.
Here’s the thing: braces are not weird. They’re nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. A vast number of adults had braces as a kid, especially in high school when social lives were much less forgiving. A lot of adults even have to get them twice—a lesson learned the hard way, after ignoring their orthodontist’s plea to wear their retainer.
What are braces?
The point of braces is to correct your bite and straighten your teeth. Pretty simple.
But there are different kinds of braces offered. The option you go with will depend on what your orthodontist offers as well as your personal preference.
Traditional braces, the brackets glued to your teeth with a wire connecting them, work by applying pressure. Your orthodontist will tighten them every few weeks until your teeth have straightened out. These can be cemented to the fronts or backs of your teeth, and still allow room for flossing.
Removable aligners are basically clear plastic retainers molded to shift your teeth over the course of your orthodontic journey. Since they’re removable, you can still brush your teeth and floss normally. And enjoy food without getting it stuck in your braces.
Are braces only used for cosmetic reasons?
Absolutely not! While having a straighter smile will almost certainly boost your confidence, braces are meant to improve your oral health by straightening teeth and aligning your bite. See, when teeth are crooked or crowded, they form hard-to-clean crevices that food and bacteria love to call home. And that’s where the problem lies.
“I’m a professional, I can’t be seen with braces!”
That’s not an excuse anymore. With the wide range of orthodontic options, braces can be placed out of sight. So there’s really no cosmetic reason to avoid braces these days. (Not to mention, after you get those straight teeth, you can be even more proud of that professional smile.)
But more importantly, braces can save you from much larger oral issues. Think tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, affected speech, jaw issues… the list goes on. Trust us when we say a year or two with braces is way better than dealing with any of those issues.
But is it painful?
Well, it doesn’t feel like a gum massage, but it’s not that bad. For the most part, any soreness dissipates within a day or two after the braces are tightened. And in the meantime, there’s always ibuprofen.
If you’ve been on the fence about getting braces, just go visit your MDA dentist. They’ll be able to give you more information on orthodonture, its benefits, and whether or not it’s right for you.