“How long do braces take?” is the most common question we’re asked by patients. People want to know how long they’ll have to make room in their life for their braces – it’s understandable. Braces are hard to brush and floss around, they come with food restrictions, and they can be a source of embarrassment for teens at school or professionals in the workplace.
Even our patients who are most excited to begin treatment inevitably cannot wait for it to end. We give each patient and their family an estimated treatment plan and timetable when they receive an evaluation. Of course, they always hope that we can somehow speed up time and make their smiles perfect as quickly as possible.
It’s scary to be at home, school, or sports practice and feel a part of your braces loosen or even fall completely off your tooth, but it’s a more common occurrence than you may think.. The good news is that most of these incidents are actually minor and easily fixed by your orthodontist. Here are a few general rules and tips for how to handle these situations in the moment and until you can get into the office for a visit.
Typically, braces emergencies arise when a wire or rubber band falls out of place. These issues are minor and can be easily fixed by your orthodontist. A less common emergency is when a bracket comes loose and falls out. If you can feel a loose bracket that hasn’t fallen out, it’s best to leave it held in by the surrounding wires and call your orthodontist. But, if the bracket has fallen out already, keep it in a safe space and take it with you to the orthodontist. Schedule an appointment as soon as you can to fix this!
Flossing can sometimes get forgotten or skipped in a nightly oral hygiene routine. But, flossing is actually essential to maintaining oral health, especially throughout orthodontic treatment. Before we get into how to become an expert braces flosser, here’s some more information about why flossing is so critical in the first place.
Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth to prevent gum disease, cavities, and bad breath. It helps eliminate the accumulation of harmful bacteria and plaque resulting from food particles that get trapped between the teeth and under the gum line. These places are hard for a toothbrush to clean, and with braces or appliances, it’s even harder to make sure your mouth is as clean as it should be!
Young children often put anything and everything in their mouths. Unless it develops into bad habits that carry into later childhood, this curiosity is beneficial. Long-term oral health can be negatively affected by habits like nail-biting, thumb sucking, excessive use of pacifiers, and tongue thrusting as you swallow.
Biting your nails is bad for your general and oral health because you’re introducing bacteria and dirt into your mouth. The germs and grime you ingest while biting your nails can cause illness and the consistent biting is hard on your enamel. While it certainly isn’t a good habit to keep up because of the dirt and germs residing under your nails, there are many more negative effects.
Chewing your nails results in unnecessary wear on your teeth. It weakens the enamel and can even lead to chipping or the teeth becoming crooked. When you have braces, chewing your nails slows down orthodontic treatment. In addition to weakening the roots and making the teeth susceptible to movement, biting your nails can also displace brackets and wires. This makes your braces less effective and can result in more appointments to fix appliances or brackets.