Have you heard that joke about what a dentist does on a roller coaster? He braces himself. Okay, that’s probably not the best joke but we’d thought we’d try!
In all seriousness, we know that one of the best ways to straighten teeth is with a brace. Whether it’s a traditional metal brace, ceramic brace or a lingual brace, they remain one of the best tools to realign teeth and even boost overall oral health. But what few people may know is that for all their benefits, braces can come with side effects. If you’re planning to wear one, it’s smart to know what they are so that you can make an informed decision.
Common Side Effects
The good news is that most side effects that you may experience when wearing braces are common and nothing to really worry about. If you notice any of these, you can rest assured, although you will still need to see your dentist.
Once you have your braces in and they’ve been tightened, simple things like eating food can feel strange. You can’t chew hard foods, not just because it’s uncomfortable but because they can damage your braces.
Check out this quick list of safe and non-safe foods to eat.
- Fruits without pits like bananas, strawberries, oranges, and grapes.
- Pasta and noodles
- Cheese and yoghurt
- Peanut butter and jam
- Mashed potatoes
- Smoothies and soups
- Boiled and baked fish (boneless)
- Thin biscuits
- Chips and popcorn
- Candy – yes, even the soft ones as they coat the teeth and can even pull off braces.
- Hard chocolate
- Ice cubes
- Other hard and crunchy foods
It’s common to feel discomfort and some pain once you get braces. After all, your teeth are being pushed into alignment. Your dentist will prescribe OTC medication to relieve the tension. Fortunately, the discomfort will pass once you get used to wearing braces.
If your teeth are quite badly misaligned, you can expect some jaw pain. It may feel worse with every tightening of the braces, but keep in mind that this means that the braces are doing their job. As with other types of discomfort, your dentist will prescribe medicines to make the pain easier to bear.
You may get mouth sores during the course of treatment as components of the braces rub against the inside of your cheeks and your tongue. Not to worry, though, as these are temporary and there are many medicines to heal them.
Cavities are very common and even people with good teeth can have them. But if you wear braces, the chances are higher. There’s a simple reason – food tends to accumulate in and around braces and the build-up of bacteria can cause tooth decay. The solution is, fortunately, simple too – brush and floss twice a day and make sure to always rinse your mouth after every snack session.
When to Worry
On rare occasions, you may experience side effects that are more severe. The moment you do, speak to your doctor so that they can see what’s causing them.
Here are a few unusual things to look out for.
In some cases, braces can make teeth shorter as the pressure they place creates enzymes that dissolve the bone surrounding the teeth. The bone rebuilds itself but it may be in a slightly different position. Most of the time, root resorption doesn’t cause any long-term problems and isn’t even noticeable but it can be in some people. The good news? It rarely happens!
Braces are meant to realign teeth for the long term and they absolutely do. But a few people may suffer relapsed teeth where they move back to their previous positions once braces are removed. Considering the time and money you spend on straightening teeth, you need to make sure this doesn’t happen. Wear retainers regularly and for as long as your dentists tells you to prevent a relapse.
Some people can be allergic to the latex rubber used in braces or to the metal itself. If you notice a reaction, get checked immediately so that your dentist can replace your braces with those made of alternative materials.
In ankylosis, the tooth root fuses to the bone. If this has already happened, braces won’t be able to align the fused tooth. Ankylosis can be tough to predict but your dentist may ask you to get an x-ray to rule it out.
Ways to Reduce Side Effects
You won’t know if you’ll experience side effects until you start wearing braces, but you can definitely try to reduce them.
- Find a good dentist: We can’t stress this point enough! Even for something as simple as getting braces, you need a qualified and highly experienced dentist who knows what they’re doing. Not only will you see better results but you’ll have fewer side effects to deal with.
- Spend extra time cleaning your teeth: Since braces can trap food particles, you’ll need to spend extra time brushing and flossing. Do this diligently and you’ll be proud to sport a dazzling smile once the braces are off!
- Avoid foods you shouldn’t have: It’s hard to avoid foods you’re used to but stick to those that are recommended by your dentist. Anything else and you’ll end up prolonging the wearing period and spend more on revisits.
- Remove any oral jewelry you’re wearing: Have a pierced lip or tongue? Stop wearing any oral jewelry during the course of your treatment. They can add to the discomfort and cause damage to the braces.
Now that you have all the information you need, are you ready to start wearing braces? At Dental Bee, we have highly qualified dentists whom you can consult online and have them visit you for a fitting. No need to step out and risk your safety during these pandemic times! We will deliver treatment right to your doorstep and will be readily available for future check-ups and consultations. Schedule an appointment today!