For many patients, there is a fear of the unknown when it comes to braces. Let us reassure you, orthodontics is by its very nature is one of the more gentle branches of dentistry, there are no injections or needles or numbing. Your first consultation will be completely pain-free, your orthodontist will examine and measure your teeth and jaws. You’ll likely receive an x-ray but again, this is totally pain-free. Before your ‘Bond-Up’ we will need to take photographs and impressions of your teeth, there’s no pain at this appointment either.
The little braces squares, brackets, are glued to the surface of your teeth in a very particular place. In order for your orthodontist to see all of your teeth, and to keep them dry a cheek retractor will be used. The teeth are then cleaned with a gel to make sure the glue we used is as sticky and as effective as it can be, as we want the bracket to stay in place for the duration of your treatment. Your teeth will be rinsed and dried a few times, a bracket placed on each one and a blue light will be used to set the glue. This doesn’t hurt at all.
The wire that is attached to the brackets that were just fitted always wants to spring back to its horseshoe shape. But malaligned teeth will mean that it’s now higgildy-piggildy. Therefore, the thin wire will apply a very gentle force on all of your teeth to try and bounce back to its original shape. As your teeth are held in your jaw bone by a very small ligament (this acts as a shock absorber so that we don’t smash and crash our teeth when we chew) your teeth can feel sore, bruised and achey for up to 1 week after the brace is fitted. If you are concerned we would advise you take a painkiller that you would normally take for a headache before your brace is fitted, to ease into this initial application of pressure. (Always follow the dose instructions on the packet).
Because your cheeks are used to sitting next to soft, smooth teeth – it can be a bit of an adjustment to sitting against brackets. Your soft tissues adapt unbelievably fast, but there can be one or two brackets that cause irritation, that can take a bit longer to adapt. We will give you clear, soft wax to cover the troublesome bracket to alleviate any rubbing.
Top Tip! Make sure the bracket is totally dry before sticking on the wax – hold your cheek out of the way and give it a blast with a cool hairdryer! Don’t use tissue; it shreds! Don’t use a towel; the loops can get caught on the corners of the bracket!
The pain after adjustments will not compare to when you had your brace fitted as your ligaments will now be stretched to allow the teeth to move. However, each time your brace is adjusted there is a potential for you to feel a bit more pressure on one or all of your teeth.
While this is usually everyone’s favourite appointment, some patients can be a little nervous about having their brace removed. To get the brace of we to have to ‘debond’ the small patch of glue on the back of the bracket. We do this with a special tool that holds the bracket and gently clips it off. You may dislike the feeling of pressure but there will be no pain and before you know it, your brace will be off! We’ll make sure to clean any leftover glue off your teeth, again you might feel some pressure as we do this, but it won’t be painful.