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What you need to know before getting braces

Suzi Milovanovic has been a mother of all kinds: stay at home mom, work from home mom, and go-the-office working mom. She blends all these perspectives in her contributions to various local and national print and online publications, tel...

Brace face

Who wouldn't want a great smile complete with sparkling white teeth all perfectly aligned in a row? Braces can help achieve this image, but ask anyone who wore dental braces as a teenager about the experience and many will shudder from the memory. Emblazoned in their memories are the endless taunts about their mouth full of metal brackets, bulky headgear and unforgettable terms like "brace face."

Woman being fitted for braces

If you're on the starting block of the brace race, there are things you need to know that will make the process easier and help you understand what to expect.


How long you will wear braces

Treatment periods for braces vary, but as a general rule, the more severe the problem, the longer it will take to correct. Some problems are corrected in just six months, while other problems can take several years. Once braces are removed, plan to wear a retainer that will help keep the newly aligned teeth in place.

Visiting your orthodontist

Frequent check-ups before, during and after the braces treatment period is to be expected. Braces work by gradually moving the teeth into a new and proper alignment, so gentle activations may be applied during your regular adjustment visits, usually every 6 weeks or so.

Do braces hurt?

There is really no reason to be anxious about getting the braces put on your teeth, but there may be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged, lasting anywhere from a few days to a week. Most people experience some discomfort the first 4 days to a week after their braces, expanders and/or wires are placed and after a wire adjustment and/or an activation appointment. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces as well.

The cost of braces

Don't be frightened, but the typical cost of braces will be somewhere around $3,500 to $9,000 altogether, depending on the amount of work that needs to be done. For those with very crowded or crooked teeth, you can expect to pay more towards the higher end of those numbers. Check with your insurance prior to venturing into braces for what is covered before, during and after treatment. If you are foregoing insurance, be sure to get an itemized quote from the orthodontist and remember that everything is negotiable.

Cleaning braces

You will need to be extra thorough with cleaning while you wear braces since the brackets and wires will attract and hold food particles. There are a lot more angles that you have to be mindful of in order to properly clean your teeth during the treatment period.

We are not all born with great teeth, but dental braces can certainly help make it seem like we were, not only to look better but to have healthier teeth as well.

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