Not everybody is born with perfect teeth. So, Mother Nature’s handiwork often requires some adjustment. If you need metal dental braces to improve your smile, you may be wondering about the pros and cons. Let us explain.
How do metal braces work?
Using special dental glue, your orthodontist applies metal brackets to your teeth. Then, he/she attaches what are known as archwires to the brackets. The purpose of archwires is to coax and slide your teeth into their correct positions. Over time (around 18-24 months), as your teeth move, gum and bone tissue fill the spaces that your teeth have left behind.
So, what are the perceived negatives of metal dental braces? Here are three:
1. Braces cramp your style
A common concern that some people have about metal braces is that they don’t look that great. This is fair enough. Bear in mind, though, that these days, there are options available, like clear braces on the upper teeth and Invisalign ®, which are almost invisible. However, in cases of missing or impacted teeth, underbites, etc., good-old metal — or ‘traditional’ braces — are often the best option. We will always advise you which type of treatment will best do the job for you.
In truth, lots of people have metal dental braces, so you’re not alone. And remember: By having braces for just a brief period in your life, you will soon have a smile to be proud of. That being said, you can also have some fun with your braces by asking your orthodontist to add coloured elastics for your brackets. There are many colours available, and, if you wish, you can try a new look at each appointment.
2. Braces are uncomfortable
Some people say that wearing braces is painful. In reality, though, any discomfort is relatively minor once you get used to them. You can, of course, ask your orthodontist about systems like Invisalign®, where you can remove the aligners at any time, or self-ligating brackets, which apply less friction. However, if you choose (or need to have metal braces) there are several remedies that can ease any discomfort, such as:
- Regular painkillers (like for a headache)
- Softer food — think about foods other than yoghurt and smoothies. Who doesn’t like macaroni cheese (see blog post on food ideas)?
- Ice — cold temperature can reduce inflammation and numb your mouth to ease pain. So, you can apply an ice pack to the outside of your mouth or sip on a glass of ice-cold water.
- Orthodontic wax — this is a special wax for protecting the inside of your cheeks, gums and lips from the sharp ends of the brackets on your braces. You can get it from your orthodontist.
3. Braces prevent you from eating foods you enjoy
It’s true that there are some foods you should avoid when you have braces. As a rule of thumb, if you can’t squash it between your finger and your thumb, don’t eat it. So, stay away from anything hard, chewy or sticky — like boiled lollies, nuts, corn on the cob and ice cubes.
Don’t worry though because there are plenty of foods that you can eat. These include:
- Dairy products (like cheese and yoghurt).
- Sandwiches (we highly recommend trying avocado sprinkled with pepper).
- Fruit (slice whole fruits, like apples and pears, into wedges. Bananas, oranges and grapes are fine).
- Walnuts (being soft, they’re usually safe)
- Desserts (ice cream, chocolate and custard is fine to eat).
Happy New Year
If you’ve been thinking about improving your smile, contact us for a consultation appointment with a specialist orthodontist. We would love to help you achieve your dream smile!
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