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Braces 101

Braces may be ubiquitous, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have questions. At Castle Dental, we understand that getting braces can be a big deal. We want you to be as confident and comfortable as possible when it comes to orthodontic treatment, so we’re here with the resources and the support you need to get the best results from your braces.

No matter what your questions are or what kind of care you need, Castle Dental provides comprehensive dental services for everyone in your family. From routine cleanings and restorative procedures such as fillings and root canals to specialties like orthodontic and oral surgery, you’ll find everything you need for great dental health all at one location.

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The Basics of Braces

Why should I get braces?

Braces are used to straighten your teeth and address problems with your bite. A straighter, properly aligned smile can not only give you more confidence, but it can also help your mouth, teeth, and jaws function as effectively as possible and protect your overall oral health for the future.

How do I brush with braces?

Brushing with braces is pretty much the same as without them, but rather than going side to side like you may be used to, brushing with braces is most effective with an up and down motion, which helps to loosen and remove food particles and debris. Use a regular, soft toothbrush and brush gently to prevent breaking or damaging any of the appliances. You can follow up with a proxabrush provided by your orthodontist, which is specifically designed for cleaning between brackets.

How do I floss with braces?

To floss with braces, you’ll need to thread the floss through the braces. Do this by feeding the floss through the space between the main archwire and the upper portion of the tooth. You’ll work the floss along the gumline as you normally would, then pull the floss out and begin again on the next tooth. Although this can be tedious and a bit more time-consuming than you might be used to, don’t skip this step! Flossing is important to maintaining healthy gums and teeth and will ensure that your teeth are healthy and beautiful when the braces finally come off. 

Do braces hurt? 

Braces can be a bit uncomfortable when they are initially placed and following any adjustment appointments, but they should not be painful. Any discomfort is typically temporary and can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.

How long will I have to wear braces?

Orthodontic treatment is unique to each patient, so the duration of treatment time can vary from person to person. Most patients wear braces for 1-2 years but more severe alignment issues may require longer. Your orthodontist will discuss your projected treatment timeline with you upfront and will keep you updated along the way as to how much longer you may need to wear your braces.

Are braces expensive?

Braces can be expensive, but their cost can vary depending on multiple factors including which type of braces you choose and how long you need to be in them. While some dental insurances may cover part or all of the cost of braces, most orthodontic patients will take advantage of payment, financing, or dental care plans like those offered by Castle Dental. Payment plans and options can help make the cost of important orthodontic treatment more affordable and accessible to more people, so be sure and ask about what is available for you.

What are my options for braces?

Braces have come a long way over the years, and there are more options than ever for orthodontic treatment. While traditional metal braces–stainless steel brackets attached to the fronts of the teeth with dental cement and connected with a metal archwire–remain the most popular and most commonly used, advances in technology mean they aren’t your only choice.

Other types of braces include:

  • Ceramic Braces are very similar to metal braces but the brackets are made of tooth-colored ceramic material instead, making them more discreet. 
  • Self-ligating Braces have brackets that hold the archwire in place and allow it to slide, eliminating the need for elastic bands and requiring fewer adjustments. 
  • Lingual Braces are also similar to metal braces except that they are fixed to the back of the teeth.

Are there foods I can’t eat with braces?

Yes, there are foods you should not eat while you have braces. You should avoid crunchy and sticky foods that can either break or get stuck in your braces, like popcorn, candy, apples, hard breads, corn on the cob, ice, and gum. You should also avoid very sugary foods and beverages that can increase your chances of developing cavities while you have braces on.

Can I play sports with braces?

Yes, you can play sports while you have braces. However, you will need to take extra care to protect the appliances from damage and your mouth from being injured by the braces, especially if you participate in contact sports. Your orthodontist can fit you with a custom mouthguard to wear to protect your braces from becoming damaged and to protect the soft tissues of the mouth from injury or irritation that could be caused by impact with the braces. 

What do I do if my braces break?

While braces can be broken or damaged, it doesn’t happen easily and rarely is an emergency. Here are some of the most common ways braces break and what you should do.

  • Protruding or broken wires. Attempt to push the end of the wire out of the way using the soft eraser end of a pencil. You’ll want to adjust it so it’s not poking or causing pain, but don’t cut it. If it’s still irritating you, use orthodontic wax to cap the end of the wire. You’ll need to schedule a visit to the orthodontist to have the wire replaced.
  • Loose brackets. Try to secure the loose brackets with dental wax until you can see your orthodontist and have them reattached. Though this is temporary, it will keep the brackets intact and provide cushion for the surrounding soft tissues.
  • Loose bands. Keep the band if it breaks off and schedule an appointment with your orthodontist–it will need to be replaced. 

Find Your Best Smile with Affordable Braces from Castle Dental

At Castle Dental, everyone in your family can get all the quality dental care services they need no matter what stage of life they’re in, including professional orthodontic treatment like braces. With convenient locations and flexible financing options, we make it fast, easy, and affordable to get the straight, healthy, and beautiful smile you deserve. Call us or visit us online to book an appointment or schedule a consultation. We can’t wait to meet you!