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Will I be able to eat after braces are applied?

Yes. At first, you may want to consider foods that require little or no chewing such as soup, pudding, mashed potatoes, applesauce, ice cream, etc. As you become more accustomed to your braces, chewing will become easier.

Do braces cause discomfort?

There can be some initial discomfort when braces are placed, or for a short time after braces are adjusted, but this is temporary. Overall, orthodontic discomfort is short-lived and easily managed. Once patients become accustomed to their braces, they may even forget they have them on.

How long does it take to get braces?

It takes approximately 90-120 minutes.

How are braces applied?

A retractor will be placed in the mouth to keep the mouth open comfortably. This will also help to keep the mouth as dry as possible. The tooth surface will be etched with a mild solution. After a few seconds, the tooth will be rinsed. 

Then, a special adhesive will go on each tooth, and the bracket will be added on top of the adhesive. Excess adhesive will be removed, and the rest will be “cured” with a special light. After all of the brackets have been placed and the adhesive has been cured, the orthodontic wire will be threaded through the slots in the brackets. Depending on the type of braces you are getting, the wire can be held to the tooth using a clip that is built into the bracket (“self-ligating” braces), or by a series of tiny rubber bands called “ligatures,” which come in many colors. 

At the end of the appointment, a team member will explain how to brush and floss with braces, review what foods to avoid (hard, sticky and chewy) so braces are not broken, and what to do if you experience any difficulties with your braces. This is a great time to ask any questions about the care of your new braces. For the duration of treatment, make sure to limit your intake of sugary or acidic drinks to avoid decalcification.

Will spacers be needed?

About a week before braces are applied, the orthodontist may insert “spacers” between back molars. These create space between the teeth for bands that go around the back molars. Let your orthodontist know if these “spacers” fall out prior to your next appointment.

What are ceramic braces?

Some adults are able to use ceramic braces to move teeth successfully. The brackets are tooth-colored, so are less visible to others. Not all kinds of orthodontic problems can be corrected with ceramic braces. If they are of interest, talk to your orthodontist about whether they are right for you. Ceramic braces can be self-ligating, or can require conventional ties to hold the wire in the bracket slot. Sometimes adults have a combination of ceramic and metal braces. Again, speak to your orthodontist about what will work for you.

My orthodontist talked about brackets that have doors on them. What does that mean?

Your orthodontist was referring to self-ligating braces. They have a clip that is built into the bracket, and the clip holds the wire to the bracket.

How do the wires connect to the braces?

Wires are threaded through slots in brackets, and held into the slots by ligatures, most often small, elastic o-shaped rings that are stretched around each bracket. These o-rings come in a rainbow of colors and are generally changed at each appointment.

Are there other kinds of braces?

In addition to “clear” braces mentioned (ceramic braces), there are braces made with metal brackets. But even metal brackets come with options. Braces can be made of stainless steel or ceramic.

My teeth on top aren’t that crooked. Can I just get braces on the bottom to save money?

This question can only be answered by visiting an AAO orthodontist for an exam and consultation.