For braces to work properly they need time to straighten and align your teeth. There is no magic fix; braces usually need around 18 months to do their job. This length of time can feel like an eternity for adolescents but, after treatment, they will enjoy a straight smile for the rest of their life.
Often patients are hoping to be finished treatment before an important event that they want to show off their new look. Whether it’s an event or you just want to be free of braces as soon as possible, there are a few things you can do to reduce your treatment time.
Types of Food
Sticky, gooey foods can stick to brackets and reduce the effectiveness of braces. Also chewing hard and sticky foods regularly can cause wires to bend or break. Try to eat soft foods recommended by your orthodontist.
Take the time to cut up hard foods into small pieces. Chopping raw vegetables, apples, hard crust bread and meat into bite-size pieces will help prevent breaking brackets and wires. Broken parts mean your braces aren’t working properly until you can have them fixed which extends the overall time you need to wear your braces.
Keeping your Mouth Healthy
Braces work best when the mouth is healthy. Clean and healthy gums are more likely to move faster allowing you to get your braces off earlier. Keep the area between the brace and teeth clean and free of plaque build up. Flossing between teeth and brushing your gums daily will keep your mouth healthy.
If your orthodontist gives you rubber bands (elastics) to wear, make sure you follow instructions. The elastics help with the alignment process. The less time spent wearing the elastics, the longer you will need to wear them.
You might like to chew on a pen at school or bite your nails but once you are wearing braces it’s important not to chew on anything other than food to avoid breaking a brace or wire.
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There are some additional treatment methods that can be used to accelerate tooth movement so that braces work faster at aligning teeth into the correct place. If this option appeals to you, ask your orthodontist at your consultation.
An Important Event
Sometimes it’s not possible to finish treatment in time for a big event. But some orthodontists will remove the wire from your braces for the day so they are less noticeable in photos. So if you are attending a wedding or school ball and you would like the wire removed, speak to your orthodontist.
Remember it is important to complete the full treatment to get the best result from your braces. An extra few months of wearing braces can ensure a lifetime of straight, properly aligned teeth. It may seem like such a long time that you need braces but in the context of your entire life, it will be a small amount of time. You will be glad you did when you see the end result!