Frequently Asked Questions: Teenage Orthodontic Patients (tm) Part 3


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    What Is Having Braces Like ?

    Contents of this section: What is having braces like?, Does It Hurt?, Will My Friends Laugh At Me?, How Long Does Treatment Take?, Is There Anything I Cannot Do?, Any Danger In Swallowing A Piece Of My Braces, Going To The School Dance In Braces

  1. What is having braces like?,

    Generally, teenagers like cool dude do not find braces to be any big deal. Your mouth is usually sore for the first week after you get braces. Also, your mouth will be sore when the braces are tightened. However, with modern braces, you should get so used to the braces, that you should not notice the braces, except when the braces are being tightened or if you get hit in the mouth.

    If you start orthodontic treatment when you are 18 or older, it generally is more uncomfortable; your teeth feel like they are loose in your mouth. Still, the pain is worth the gain.

    Click here for products to reduce the pain

  2. Do Braces Hurt?

    It matters what kind of braces you use. Old fashioned braces will hurt a lot of the time. However, if you get modern braces, they will not hurt except when they are first put in or when your braces are tightened.

    Orthodontic firms tests their braces to try to find ways to make them hurt less. We have a number of designs for braces which minimize the pain you will feel. We have not yet found a way to avoid the pain when the braces are first put on, or when the braces are being tightened. Also your mouth will hurt if your friends punch you. However, we are working on reducing the pain.

  3. Are all braces designed to minimize my pain?

    Unfortunately, no. Some orthodontists will only use old fashioned braces so orthodontic companies still sell them. Still, companies try to sell comfortable braces whenever we can.

  4. Will braces cause sores in my mouth?

    Initially, when you first get braces, there may be some sores on your lips. If you rinse the sores in warm salt water or Amosan , the sores will heal within a week or two. Thereafter, there will be an occasional sore when, for example if you get into a fight. However, the sores should heal rather quickly.

    If your lips get too sore during the first week, you can put wax on the braces to prevent the braces from rubbing and irritating the sore.

  5. Are there other things I can do to reduce the pain?

    Several over-the-counter medicines have been found to reduce the pain. Anbesol Orabase Amosan

    Click here to get a list of products to stop your braces from hurting

  6. How long does orthodontic treatment take?

    It varies a lot according how much your jaw needs to stretch and how much your teeth have to move.

    If you start interceptive orthodontic treatment when you are 8, it usually takes anywhere from 3 to 6 months to stretch your jaw. It takes longer if the orthodontist needs to reshape your jaw.

    If you get braces when you are 12 years old, it usually takes two to two and a half years to move around your teeth. It will take longer if you do not do what the orthodontist tells you to do or if there is something unusual about your bite.

  7. Will my friends laugh at me when I get braces?

    Only you know your friends. Some of my friends laugh at anything especially if you get old fashioned, clunky braces. However, companies make stylish braces(tm), and most teenagers feel good about them. Most of your friends will be getting braces too. Wouldn't it be excellent if you were a cool dude and your braces were funkier than all of your friends' braces?

  8. Can I still talk when I have braces?

    Yes. Standard braces should not affect how you talk or the sound of your voice. You can talk, sing, yell, make fun of people, and act just as you do now. Braces will not stop you from having fun. Just do not get punched in the mouth. It hurts!

    Occasionally the orthodontist needs to put in a gadget which gets in the way of your tongue. If so, you may have trouble talking clearly for a day or two, but then you will be able to talk fine.

  9. Can I still play football, baseball, basketball, soccer, etc if I have braces?

    Of course. Would a fun guy get braces if he could not play? You can still play football, baseball, basketball, soccer. You can still go bowling. You can still do everything. Just wear a mouthguard, and try to not get hit in the mouth.

    We recommend that you avoid sports where you will get hit in the face. Fighting, boxing, wrestling, karate, can be very painful when you have braces.

    Guy Funi points out that it hurts when a snowball hits your face. If you get into a snowball fight, be sure to duck!

  10. I play the trumpet. Will my ability to play be affected by my braces?

    Be sure to mention your musical abilities to the orthodontist. The orthodontist will give you Kissable(tm) Kovers or lip protectors for your braces. The Kissable(tm) Kovers protect your lips and will make it possible for you to still play musical instruments. We have had reports of entire brass bands having braces with no problems.

    Guy Funi points out that you can play almost any musical instrument if you have braces. He can play the drums, and his sister plays the piano and violin. If you do not have an instrument Guy Funi even plays songs on his orthodontic rubber bands.

  11. Are there any other activities that I should avoid when I have braces?

    We advise against you participating in activities where there will be many blows to a your mouth. Sports like boxing, karate, and wrestling should be avoided. Fighting should also be avoided.

    You should wear an orthodontic mouthguard whenever you participate in any sporting activity.

  12. Can I eat when I get braces?

    Yes! You can eat most of the good things that you can eat now.

    The one big limitation is that your mouth will get sore after you first get braces, so we recommend that you only eat softer foods for the first week. However, after that you should be able to eat normally.

  13. Can I still chew gum with braces?

    Gum is usually not recommended. The gum can get caught on the braces and pull the braces off. Also the sugar in the gum can get trapped behind the braces and cause cavities.

    Still, the Guy Funi does not give up on Gum. Talk to your orthodontist if you want to be able to chew gum. In some cases, it may be possible for you to chew a sugar free, non stick gum such as Freedent ® or Wrigley's Extra®. professor Hatt A study in the American Journal Of Orthodontics 107(1995)497 (a big fancy magazine for orthodontists) indicates that the xylitol in the Freedent® or Wrigley's Extra® prevents cavities, and the gum does not stick to some styles of braces.

    Freedent® and Wrigley's Extra® will still damage some kinds of braces so you need to TALK TO YOUR ORTHODONTIST BEFORE CHEWING GUM.

  14. Are there anything else that I cannot eat?

    You probably should not eat hard sticky, gooey or crunchy foods. Caramel, taffy, peanut brittle can stick on your braces and pull the braces off your teeth. You also need to be careful with crunchy foods like carrots and apples and hard rolls so that you do not knock your braces off your teeth.

  15. What happens if the braces come off?

    The orthodontist will attach them again. Usually, this is no big deal, although if it happens lots of times, your orthodontic treatment will take longer.

  16. Why cannot the orthodontist attach the braces strongly enough that the braces cannot come off during eating?

    The orthodontist needs to take off your braces at the end of the orthodontic treatment. If the orthodontist attaches your braces too firmly, the braces will not come off again at the end of your orthodontic treatment.

    Wouldn't it be strange if your braces never came off, so you would be stuck with them for the rest of your life?

  17. What Happens If A Piece Of My Braces Comes Off And I Swallow It?

    I know you are concerned, but it is usually NOT a serious problem if you swallow parts of your braces. All braces are tested so they are completely safe. The parts just pass through your digestive system.

    Inhaling a part from your braces is a problem however. If you inhale a part of your braces, and the part gets into your lungs, it could cause a problem. Therefore, the orthodontist will normally the bracket ask an MD to remove the part of your braces from your lungs.

  18. What is it like going to a school dance in braces?

    >A cool dude is still a dude with or without braces. Years ago, when glasses (eyeglasses) were old and clunky, people used to worry about going to the dance in glasses. Now it is no big deal. In the same way, years ago when braces were all big and clunky, people worried about going to a dance in braces. Now you can get stylish braces (tm) so there is nothing to worry about.

  19. Is there any chance that I will be able to hear the radio on my braces?

    >Well, we do not think so, but you should listen carefully to be sure. Years ago there were reports of people hearing the radio on their fillings. At the time, radio was different. There were only a few stations and they were all AM. People also used crystals to listen to the radio. The crystal set consisted of a "ceramic insulator" much like a tooth covered by a metal piece which was like a bracket. Crystal radios could pick up AM signals when they were close to the AM station. People claimed to have heard the radio on their fillings when they were standing by the radio transmitter and their mouth was completely dry.

    I have never heard of a report of someone hearing the radio on their braces, though. Still, it is theoretically possible so listen carefully! If you hear the radio on your braces be sure to tell us.

    We just got a report of someone from Texas who can hear the radio on his braces. Be sure to listen carefully. Can you hear the radio too?

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