Starting orthodontic treatment is a life-changing experience. We must be more organized, have better discipline and good oral hygiene. If you think you shouldn’t worry about anything, then you are surely wrong. Many people complain about the results or their orthodontic treatment itself. They moan all the time and just can’t see improvement. In many cases, WE are the ones responsible for a good result. Having the best orthodontist possible, but not caring about the treatment won’t do you good.
For us not to sabotage our treatment, here are some tips we need to think about all the time.
The proper usage of the orthodontic device.
If you are wearing metal braces or the Invisalign plastic aligners, just make sure you respect all the “rules.” If your doctor said you need to wear the Invisalign aligners for at least 21-22 hours, then try to do this. Don’t be too lax when it comes to your treatment; even if this means radical changes, it’s for your good.
Good oral hygiene
I think this is one of the most important aspects. Before your treatment, maybe you didn’t brush that often. Sure, now you are becoming a maniac in the eyes of your family and friends, but you need to brush more and take care of those pearlies. In these months your teeth are prone to cavities since some braces do hurt. Even if you just don’t feel like brushing, try to do this. Birchgrove Dental recommends that your teeth must be anything but clean, don’t forget to floss and use mouthwash as well.” Change your toothbrush more frequently since the metal braces (for the people who wear them) will damage it a lot.
Your main goal now is to keep your teeth as healthy as possible through this hard treatment. Your teeth do take a lot of “stress” from the braces, let’s prevent the cavities and gum problems since these would only slow down the treatment.
Meet your orthodontist as much as needed.
Even if you feel like skipping some meetings, don’t do this. You need to see your doctor regularly, have your teeth checked up and cleaned. There are constant changes to be done to your braces, maybe new “appliances” to be put in your mouth.
ASK ASK ASK!
Communication is VITAL in this case. Don’t just shut up and then try to get information from elsewhere. You do have the right to know all about your treatment and your doctor will gladly fill you in. Try to read about this as much as you can and ask when something is unclear. You need advice and reassurance, so don’t be too shy.
Most prospective orthodontics patients are scared because of the pain this treatment might bring in. Sometimes the idea of shedding hundreds or even thousands of dollars for treatment or having to go through this for 1-2 years doesn’t scare them like the idea of a toothache caused by the braces.
HOW MUCH WILL I HURT? IS IT PAINFUL TO WEAR BRACES?
“Not too much” and “so so” would be the two fast answers. Before you just renounce the idea of having straight teeth, let me try to explain this better. There are millions of people who treat their crooked teeth (many kids or teenagers); it shouldn’t be so painful. And it’s not.
I can tell you about my own experience in 2 systems: Damon (metal braces) and Invisalign. I got my metal braces one year ago. The entire process was scarier when reading about it than the real thing. The braces got on my lateral teeth (we only braced these) on both arches, and I was ready to go. With my dental wax too and the new life ahead of me. I was told to use Kethonal or any other painkiller if I couldn’t cope with the pain, prepare for a few hard days and then it will be better. And it was.
After 2-3 hours I was already feeling some pressure on my teeth. It was something like my finger was in my mouth and I was pushing them a bit. Nothing too serious, sure, I didn’t take any medication. I ate with care and then went to sleep.
Morning came: I got up and accidentally clenched my teeth. AUCH! The pain almost made me scream. After getting some nice swearing done (that was the least I could do), I got to the kitchen to eat something. Yeah, sure. I wasn’t able to press my teeth against anything since it was painful. I didn’t hurt if they didn’t touch anything (so I just had my mouth slightly open as to have the teeth not touch). The pressure was still there, but the pain would appear ONLY when I clenched my teeth. So, I stopped doing this and didn’t take medication at all either. It wasn’t the case.
I started eating mashed potatoes and all kinds of soft foods. For 2-3 days I was just like an old woman, even my grandma ate better (and you can imagine she didn’t miss the chance to observer how “old” I was).
In a few days, the pain wasn’t that big anymore, and I started eating bread (not anything hard) and some foods that weren’t as soft as a newly born’s menu anymore. I was able to clench my teeth without kicking anyone, and my brushing was more pleasant. I did try to keep perfect hygiene in the pain days, and it was nice.
After one week I was able to ditch the wax too (for few days I made my fill with dental wax and was certain I’d need some special deliveries, maybe a truck of wax, due to the huge need I had) and eat like a normal person. My doctor told me it would be a good idea to not try anything too hard (nuts or something like that) so that I don’t damage my braces, but God is my witness I could eat if I wanted to.
After each adjustment I’d have 1-2 days of some pain (a not huge one, never took medication for this) and then it was all OK. The first days are the worse (when you get braced in), afterward your teeth get adjusted to the braces so that you’d be able to “recover” faster from each adjustment.
Now I have Invisalign and still expect that pain. Maybe I got used to the metal braces that are a bit more “strong,” or maybe I am just lucky. After getting the Invisalign trays on, I got home and started eating fast (so that I can then eat soft foods again because of the possible pain). I have waited for some hours, with no pain. Just slight pressure on my teeth. Next day: one incisor hurt. “Thank God, I’m normal.” Nothing else. In a few hours, the incisor stopped hurting while I was able to eat normally, even if I was prepared for another “old woman menu” for some days at least.
One week into the treatment: I doubt I’ll see pain anymore. I still feel that slight pressure on the teeth (more like a tickle) and nothing more. It looks like my life now will be pain-free. So .. the painkillers can remain untouched.
My conclusion would be that you should expect SOME pain. There are patients who are more sensitive and need some medication, at least in those first days, while others are “dancing” through the treatment. Just don’t fear this pain that much since it doesn’t last and, in some cases, it might not even appear. Just schedule that meeting with your orthodontist and DO IT. I tell you I don’t regret this, even if I was in pain for weeks. My treatments were so easy that I would be crazy not to finish this or not think that it’s too bad I didn’t do this earlier.