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Frequently asked questions

Will it be painful? Can i eat normally? What if I play contact sports? All your answers are here.

  • Will it be painful?

    You will likely be sore for about three to five days each time the brace is adjusted. If you need to, simple, over the counter painkillers such as the ones you would normally take for a headache should help, but make sure you read the instructions on the packet to avoid any problems.

  • Can I eat normally?

    Yes, you should be able to eat normally, and the braces should not affect this. However, for your orthodontic treatment to work well and in the shortest possible time, it is important that you take care of your teeth and braces as best you can.

    In order to prevent damage to both your teeth and braces, you should:

    • Avoid sugary snacks/drinks between meals and at bedtime
    • Avoid sticky, chewy or hard sweets, mints and sugared chewing gum
    • Avoid fizzy drinks, including diet drinks, and large amounts of fruit juice
    • Hard or chewy foods, such as apples, carrots and crusty bread, can damage your brace. Avoid them or cut them up first
  • Will I need to wear anything in addition to the fixed brace?

    It may be necessary for you to wear elastics at some stage during your treatment. Elastics are worn inside the mouth according to your orthodontist’s instructions.

  • Will I need to wear another brace once my treatment has finished?

    Once the active phase of your treatment has been finished, it will be necessary for you to wear a retainer. This may be removable or it may be fixed behind your front teeth, depending on what your orthodontist thinks is best.

    The length of time this has to be worn can vary, and your orthodontist will be able to advise you.

  • What about tooth brushing?

    The products and techniques recommended by your orthodontist will help you with tooth brushing whilst you have braces.

    It is important that you brush your teeth well at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. If possible, carry a brush with you for use after lunch.

    Brushing may take a little longer when you have fixed braces so take your time and pay particular attention to brushing where the gums meet the teeth. Inter-dental brushes may help you to clean around the brace and in between the teeth.

    An alcohol-free fluoride mouth rinse should also be used daily to achieve the best results. Use it at a different time of the day to when you brush your teeth, as this helps maintain the fluoride protection to your teeth. You should avoid eating or rinsing for 20 minutes after use.

    Sugary snacks, drinks and poor cleaning of your teeth and brace may lead to permanent damage.

  • How often will I need an appointment?

    You will need regular appointments, usually every six to eight weeks, during your treatment for the brace to be adjusted. Appliances must not be worn for long periods without supervision.

    Failure to attend appointments will prolong treatment time and will result in discontinuation of treatment following three failed appointments.

  • Do I still need to see my regular dentist?

    Yes. It is important that you still have regular check-ups with your dentist throughout orthodontic treatment so that your teeth can be checked for decay.

  • What if I play contact sports?

    We recommend that you wear a gum shield if you take part in contact sports. This will also be the case if you take part in activities requiring a protective helmet such as roller-blading, skateboarding and horse riding. Your orthodontist will be able to advise you further on this.

  • What if I play a musical instrument?

    Fixed braces may make it more difficult for you to play wind or brass instruments. You will need to discuss this with your music teacher and orthodontist. There is an advice sheet you can download on this subject from the British Orthodontic Society website (www.bos.org.uk).

  • Remember

    • Brush your teeth for three minutes at least twice every day
    • Use an alcohol-free fluoride mouth rinse once every day
    • Avoid sugary snacks and drinks between meals and at bedtime
    • Avoid fizzy drinks
    • Avoid hard, sticky and chewy sweets and foods
    • Continue to visit your dentist regularly
    • Treatment will usually take 12 to 30 months
    • You will need to wear retainers after your treatment finishes
  • What do I do if my brace breaks?

    If your brace breaks, make sure you get in touch with your orthodontist as soon as possible, because we may need to see you before your next routine adjustment appointment to repair it. If you repeatedly break your brace, your treatment may be stopped early.