You may need braces if:
- You lost your baby teeth too early in life, and your adult teeth did not come in for a while. This may have impacted the way your adult teeth developed.
- Your teeth look crooked or crowded.
- Your jaw makes sounds or shifts in place. This could indicate a developmental issue with your jaw and/or teeth.
- You are constantly biting your cheek or hitting the roof of your mouth. This could be because your teeth are misaligned.
- You are forced to breathe through your mouth. This could be an issue related to the development of your teeth or jaw, and braces or other orthodontic treatments might be able to help.
- You experience difficulty chewing food because of crooked or misaligned teeth. Braces can help fix the alignment of your teeth.
There are a lot of benefits to getting braces. Having straight teeth helps not only with a pretty smile, but also your overall oral health. Some of the benefits of braces include prevention of tooth decay, gum diseases, cavities, bone erosion, injury, and bad bites.
1. Improve your oral health
Braces can straighten misaligned teeth, contributing to healthy gums and teeth. Straighter teeth are easier to clean, brush, and floss. Braces can help you maintain excellent oral hygiene and prevent future periodontal disease and cavities. Over time, cavities can lead to the destruction of the bone that holds the teeth in place.
2. Help you with digestion
If your teeth are misaligned, it can be difficult to chew food into teeny tiny bits. As a result, the stomach takes a bit longer to digest food. Braces can straighten your teeth for optimal alignment, helping you thoroughly chew your food and improve digestion. Once food can be chewed properly with the help of braces, it can be more easily and fully digested.
3. Prevent jawbone erosion
Misaligned teeth can result in jawbone erosion or bone loss. This happens when bacteria start eating away at the bones. Braces help align the teeth and prevent jawbone erosion.
4. Boost your confidence
While braces are certainly important for your health, they can also play an important role in boosting your confidence. When you have crooked teeth, you might not feel like showing off your smile. This can lead to low self-esteem and anxiety. But when your teeth are well-aligned and you have a beautiful smile, you might be more at ease when talking, smiling, or showing off your teeth.
Braces can also help move your teeth into a better position, making your jaws and lips more proportionate to your face.
5. Improve your speech
If you have malocclusion or teeth that are misaligned, you may have chronic speech problems or make whistling sounds when saying certain words. Braces can fix misalignment and possibly help you get rid of speech problems.
Having braces put on takes around one to two hours. After a couple of hours, you may experience some discomfort, pain, and soreness in your teeth and gums. However, this pain lasts only about a week until your braces are properly adjusted in your mouth.
Typically, any pain associated with wearing braces can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. You should avoid chewy foods for the first week and instead eat soft foods like yogurt, soup, and ice cream. Choose beverages containing calcium with very little sugar, sugar substitutes, or additives. Most people become used to their braces in about a month. It is normal for some soreness to persist from time to time.
Tips to deal with the pain
Here are some tips to deal with the pain once you start wearing braces:
1. Dental wax
Your orthodontist might recommend using firm and stretchy dental wax, which you can apply to the tough and metal segments of your braces. This will minimize friction and rubbing against the sensitive parts of your mouth. It will also reduce pain.
2. Oral anesthetics
Oral anesthetics like Anbesol and Orajel can be applied to your sensitive teeth and gums using either a cotton swab or your finger. Oral anesthetics desensitize gums and teeth, so you won’t feel the pain and discomfort of shifting teeth so acutely.
3. Ice pack
Icing the area can minimize inflammation and numb the mouth, providing pain relief. Apply an ice pack or gel pack outside of your mouth for relief from braces pain.
4. Warm rinse
Gargling with warm salt water can offer relief from sores or cuts in your mouth caused by the braces.
5. Gum massage
Gently rub your gums in a circular fashion with any of your fingers. This will help you relax your gums if they’re swollen by the braces.
6. Frozen teething rings
Teething rings can be a very effective tool for combating braces pain. You can chew the frozen teething ring and keep moving it to the places that hurt the most. Gradually, the frozen teething ring will alleviate the pain.
Braces offer a lot of benefits and may be a valuable investment for you. They can add to the value of any orthodontic treatment and give you more than just a beautiful smile.
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Kim, Y. (2017). Study on the perception of orthodontic treatment according to age: A questionnaire survey. The Korean Journal of Orthodontics, 47(4), 215-221.
Kiyak, H. A. (2008). Does orthodontic treatment affect patients’ quality of life?. Journal of dental education, 72(8), 886-894.