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Braces used to be associated negatively among children many years ago. Names like “brace face” and “metal mouth” were common phrases exchanged among school children. Today, between 50-70 percent of American children between the ages of 6-18 have braces, and society has learned to embrace the “brace face.”

Getting braces can be scary as it can be hard to know what to expect. Here are a few tips to make that time in the orthodontist chair a little bit less stressful.

How long does the process take? It can take anywhere from 1-2 hours, depending on what type of braces you will be getting.

What is the step-by-step process? First, the orthodontist will clean and dry your teeth. Then, he will apply bonding glue to your teeth to attach the brackets. He will then place the brackets, and place the arch wire in the brackets and secure it with elastic bands.

Will I be in pain? How long? Getting your braces on doesn’t hurt, but after they are all in place and tightened, your mouth will be sore for 5-7 days. When you get your monthly adjustments, the soreness will still be there, but will not last for more than 1-2 days in most cases.

Tips and Tricks

– Try to eat mostly soft foods the first few days after getting your braces on. Yogurt, ice cream, and soup are all easy to swallow without any chewing, and that’s what you’ll need. Plus, the coldness of the ice cream and yogurt will help dull the pain, as well.

– Use orthodontic wax that your orthodontist will provide you with. This can help prevent mouth sores from developing as your brackets rub against the inside of your mouth.

– For sores that won’t go away, try this: mix ½ tsp of salt with 1 cup of water and rinse with it several times per day.

In most cases, you will be completely used to your braces within one month. Eventually, you may not even notice them there anymore.

For more information, visit the American Association of Orthodontics at https://www.aaoinfo.org/.