Braces 101

Getting braces and don’t know what to expect?  Read our guide about getting braces, taking care of them, and how to manage problems that may arise.  

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Braces 101 – Everything You Need to Know

Getting braces is an exciting time. If you are like most people, you are thrilled about improving your smile but a little nervous about wearing something on your teeth everyday. Fortunately, the more you know about orthodontic care, the better you will feel about the experience.

Getting Braces

Getting Braces

The process usually takes one to two hours. The procedure starts when Dr. Riano thoroughly cleans and dries your teeth. He then applies an unpleasant tasting, but harmless bonding glue to your teeth then attaches a bracket to each tooth. Next, the orthodontist feeds an archwire through the brackets and secures them with elastic bands.

Your teeth and mouth may feel tender for about a week or so after your initial visit. Over-the-counter pain relievers usually relieve any discomfort you may feel. Eat soft foods, such as apple sauce, yogurt, pasta and mashed potatoes for the first few days. Our staff will give you other helpful hints on reducing discomfort. Most patients become comfortable in about a month or less.

Taking Care of Braces

Taking Care of Braces

Caring for your teeth will take a little more time than usual, but good oral hygiene will provide the very best possible teeth-straightening outcome by keeping your teeth in top condition. Neglecting your oral hygiene can result in serious dental health problems and unsightly staining on your teeth.

Braces create countless little spaces that trap food next to the surface of your teeth, which increases your risk for tooth decay. Brush your teeth after every meal and snack, rinse with mouthwash, and floss at least once each day.

Fixing Braces

Uh Oh! Problems with Braces

Even with great care, problems can occur with braces. Most problems are minor but may require attention from our staff. If you get a broken wire, for example, simply cover the end with orthodontic wax or wet cotton until you can get to our office. A loose or broken bracket also requires a trip to see Dr. Riano for repair.

After Braces

Braces are off… Now what?

Congratulations — you are finally free from the brackets and wires! It will take only an hour or so for Dr. Riano to remove the adhesive, clean your teeth, and make a mold for your retainers. He will let you know how long you can expect to wear your retainer, as it varies from person to person. Your teeth and gums may be sensitive at first.

Wait at least a month before bleaching or whitening your teeth, even if you have tartar and “white scars” where your braces prevented the buildup of tartar. Keep your follow-up appointments with Dr. Riano to maintain straight teeth and an appealing smile.