What To Do Before Getting Braces: 6 Things You Need To Know
We’ve previously covered things you can do to help make your first week in braces more comfortable. But, what about before? What should you do to prepare? This is a common question when it comes to orthodontic treatment.
No matter if you are getting Damon braces or traditional braces (or even other forms of orthodontic appliances), there are some things to keep in mind about how to prepare for braces to make the process smoother.
So, if you are wondering what to do before getting braces, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll break down what you need to know to help you prepare. Let’s take a look:
#1 – Have a Checkup and Cleaning Done by Your Dentist
One of the first things you should do before getting braces, if you haven’t done so already, is to schedule an appointment to see your dentist for a checkup and teeth cleaning. Ideally, you also want to have a fluoride treatment done while you are there as well. This appointment is important because, for best results, your orthodontist needs your teeth and gums to be as clean and healthy as possible before you are fitted with your braces.
This checkup will also allow your dentist to pinpoint any other dental issues that may need to be addressed before your braces are put on. (see #2)
Another common question is if you should have your teeth whitened before braces? It is usually recommended to have whitening done after your braces are removed rather than before. This is because there’s a chance that you may have some uneven tooth coloring when your braces are taken off.
The lighter color that can occur where the brackets were is due to the brackets protecting the tooth enamel from everything you ate or drank during your treatment. So, save that teeth whitening for afterward so everything can be nice and even.
#2 – Highly Consider Getting Cavities Filled & Other Dental Work Done First
Technically, you can have braces put on without getting your cavities taken care of beforehand. But, it is always better to have your dentist fill any existing cavities first. Doing so will eliminate the pain, swelling, or additional problems that can arise when cavities are left too long.
If you have any cavities present at your initial consultation for braces, your orthodontist will advise you on what your next steps should be.
Also, it’s not unusual for it to be recommended that you have other needed dental work done before your braces are put on. For example, your orthodontist or dentist may recommend that your wisdom teeth be removed before your braces are put on so that they don’t interfere with your treatment.
#3 – Start Cutting Troublesome Foods Out of Your Diet
Some foods are your braces enemies. They can easily do damage to your braces, leading to unexpected (and preventable) trips to your orthodontist’s office.
Begin to limit and then eliminate the troublesome foods from your diet a couple of weeks before you get your braces put on. Then you won’t be so tempted to reach for them during active treatment. These problematic foods include:
- Chewy and sticky foods like toffee, caramel, and gum
- Nuts and hard candies like Lifesavers, Jolly Ranchers, Nerds, and lollipops
- Crunchy vegetables and fruit like raw carrots, corn on the cob, whole apples, and whole pears.
- Ice (specifically chewing on it)
- Sugary (and sticky) candies like Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, Twizzlers, etc.
Chewing on these foods can often quickly result in broken brackets, dislodged wires, bacteria buildup, and poor oral hygiene.
#4 – Make Sure You Clean Your Teeth Very Well Before Your Appointment
Speaking of oral hygiene, you want to be sure to make a habit of thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth for several weeks leading up to your appointment for your braces fitting.
You want your teeth and gums to be in the best possible condition when your active orthodontic treatment is started. A plaque-free surface on your teeth will allow the cement used by your orthodontist to adhere properly.
Make sure that you thoroughly clean your teeth after your last meal before your braces fitting appointment as well. Then, continue with proper cleaning and oral hygiene habits (including fluoride products) after your braces are put on to ensure you keep everything in good shape.
#5 – Be Prepared For Optimal Oral Hygiene Habits Once Your Braces Are On
As you can probably imagine, properly cleaning your teeth with braces on can be a little more difficult than without. Making sure you’re adequately prepared will make it much more manageable.
You want to have plenty of not only toothpaste and mouthwash but also floss and floss threaders/orthodontic flossers to help you get in between tough to reach places around your braces.
One extremely helpful tip is to make sure you’re prepared for good oral hygiene on-the-go also. Before you are fitted for your braces, get a travel hygiene pack together for oral care needs while you’re out and about. Carrying a toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste, and a gum-safe toothpick with you will help you quickly remove food items that get stuck between wires and brackets and keep your breath fresh.
#6 – Stock Up on the Other Necessities You’ll Need During Active Treatment
You will, of course, want to be stocked up on the necessary oral hygiene products you’ll need to have at home during your active treatment. But, there are some other necessities you’ll want to have on hand and ready to go for when you get back from your braces fitting appointment.
These things include dental/orthodontic wax and Orajel or another similar numbing solution. Until your mouth has adjusted to your new braces, you may experience a bit of discomfort when the brackets rub on the inside of your cheek. You can use some of the orthodontic wax to safely cover those brackets and the Orajel will help provide pain relief. The wax can be used to cover any sharp pieces of your braces that may irritate your mouth during your treatment.
Also, you will experience a little tenderness and soreness after your braces are first put on. Your mouth is not yet used to the constant pressure. To counteract any discomfort, you want to make sure you have over-the-counter pain medication, like Tylenol, ready to go. Make sure to have enough on hand for the first week or two of your treatment. As your mouth rapidly heals and adjusts, the discomfort will quickly ease.
Having all of the items above on hand will help make your treatment experience much more comfortable.
Take the Time to Be Prepared For Your Braces For Best Results
As you can see, the things you should do before getting braces are not overly complicated or hard, no matter if you’re having Damon braces or traditional braces put on. But, they are important to take the time to do to ensure your treatment goes smoothly and is as effective as possible.
Being prepared and knowing what to expect will make the experience even easier. Here at Cook & Gutsche Orthodontics in Springfield, we can help you do both. We want you to feel confident about your treatment before, during, and after your braces.
Contact us today if you have any questions or want to schedule your initial consultation. Our team is here to help you achieve the smile you deserve!