The Road to a Straighter Smile: What to Expect With Traditional Braces

Get a straighter smile with traditional braces.

Crooked teeth can be frustrating. You may be unhappy with your smile. It’s harder to brush and floss. It could even impact your ability to get promoted or find a new job. After all, first impressions really do matter. All this can cause harm to your self-esteem. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Modern dentistry has come so far, and no matter what your age, you can have a straighter smile—one that you will love. How, you might ask? The solution is traditional braces.

What you need to know about traditional braces. 

You’ve probably heard of clear aligners and dental treatments that aren’t quite as obvious as traditional braces. Clear aligners can be highly effective for straightening teeth. However, traditional braces can be far more impactful when it comes to serious malocclusion. If that’s your path, knowing you are not alone is important. An estimated four million Americans are donning braces in some form or fashion. And about one in four are adults. 

Here’s what you need to know.

Initial Consultation 

The process all starts with a consultation with your dentist at Sheppard Family Dental Care in Lawton, Oklahoma. During this appointment, we’ll evaluate your mouth, take some X-rays, and discuss your smile goals with you. Once we have agreed on your treatment plan, we will take some impressions of your mouth so that we can begin building your braces.

Fitting Your Braces 

We’ll have you return a few weeks later for the fitting procedure. During this appointment, we’ll place your braces, including the brackets, bands, and wires. We’ll talk with you about what to expect, the anticipated duration of your treatment, and we’ll create a plan for periodic check-ins during the process.

Living With Braces 

It does take a bit of time to get used to wearing your new braces. Your mouth might be a bit tender for the first couple of days. However, you can easily treat your pain and discomfort with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You may also wish to apply an ice pack to help control the soreness. 

You will also need to make a few diet modifications. We encourage you to consume fewer sweets, chips, and soda. These foods generate plaque acid, which can cause cavities (tooth decay) and make you more susceptible to gum disease. Also, please avoid sticky, chewy indulgences, such as caramel, fudges, and toffee, which are likely to damage wires and loosen your brackets.

Regular Adjustments 

You will need to visit us every four to six weeks to have your braces tightened or adjusted. During these appointments, we’ll also take a look for any loose wires or brackets that require correction. These visits are typically quick and are scheduled in advance so that you can easily work them into your schedule.

The Path to Removal 

Every patient is different, and your course of treatment might not be the same as others you know who have had traditional braces. Typically, treatment takes one to three years. Here is what we look for to decide when your braces are ready to come off:

  • No more gaps: We check to make sure there are no spaces between your teeth. Your teeth should be close together, with no gaps.
  • Teeth line up: Your teeth should line up straight. We want to see that they’re no longer crooked or misaligned.
  • Proper overlap: The top teeth should slightly overlap the bottom teeth. This is how we know they fit together correctly.
  • Bite check: We look at how the outer parts of your upper and lower teeth meet. They should match up just right.
  • Even smile: Your smile should look even and balanced. Each tooth has its intended place, and we want to ensure this before we remove your braces.
  • Comfortable bite: You should feel comfortable when you bite down. If you are feeling discomfort, we may need to adjust your braces.

Aftercare and Keeping Your Smile Straight

After your braces come off, we will fit you for a retainer that should be worn at night when you sleep. We like to see patients wearing their retainers nightly for the first twelve months. After that, the frequency can be a bit less—about three or five times per week. This will help keep your teeth from shifting back into their previous, misaligned position.

If you need traditional braces, Sheppard Family Dental Care can help.

If you need orthodontics, including metal braces or clear braces, your Lawton family dental team can help. The first step is to request a consultation. We’ll be happy to meet with you, discuss your goals, and partner on a treatment plan to help you get the smile you want. We can’t wait to help you start smiling again. Request your appointment today.

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