Answers to Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Braces

Posted on: 18 February 2016

Braces are a traditional, standard way of straightening your teeth. Today's braces can be clear or put behind the teeth when you are concerned about your appearance, or they can be applied over the front few teeth when you don't have serious alignment problems and only want to improve your smile. If you're considering braces you may have many questions for your orthodontist, but note a few of those questions here. This can tell you if braces are the right choice for you.

1. Do braces hurt?

This is a common question from many people and especially children who may be afraid of the pain and discomfort they assume they'll feel with braces. While every patient is different, note that tightening braces can make your mouth feel a bit uncomfortable as teeth are being nudged into place, but this process isn't necessarily painful. One reason that you typically wear braces for many months if not years is that this nudging or moving process is done slowly, so your mouth can adjust to each tightening and adjustment, rather than an abrupt, painful process of moving teeth.

If you do feel pain after an adjustment, you can always discuss this with your orthodontist as he or she might recommend aspirin, ibuprofen, or another medication to ease your pain. A topical ointment can also help with any discomfort you might feel if braces tend to cut into your gum line or inside of the cheeks and lips.

2. Can you really keep your teeth clean with braces?

Your orthodontist will usually give you instructions on how to clean around the braces; you might be given a small brush that slides between the wires to remove more food particles and pieces. You can also typically brush the tops and backs of your teeth and use mouth rinses as you normally would when you have braces. Your orthodontist can also check the cleanliness of your braces and your mouth overall with each visit for an adjustment. 

3. Can braces work with caps?

Adults often wonder if they can have braces if they have capped teeth or veneers of some sort. In the majority of cases, the braces will work just as well with these treated teeth as with natural teeth. The caps or bonding agent, if they're in good condition, will typically stay adhered to the tooth as it's nudged into place, and the cap or bonding will go along with it. Note any caps or bonded teeth you have to your orthodontist so he or she can check on the condition of the work and ensure that your braces won't damage them or cause them to loosen.