Brace Yourself: Top Tips for Keeping Comfortable with Braces or Aligners

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Everybody wants to have straight teeth and a nice, clear smile — but it's that end result you're aiming for. While the actual process isn't unpleasant, it does take some getting used to — and as you're likely to need the treatment for at least 12 months, you may be concerned about what it will be like to live wearing braces or an aligner at all times. In truth, it's something you forget about after a few weeks. However, here are a few handy tips to ensure you feel confident about having your orthodontic device fitted.

Keeping It Clean

You'll be perfectly comfortable for the vast majority of the time you spend with your braces or aligner — but when there are issues, it's usually related to food becoming stuck in the device. Brushing after every meal, or removing and cleaning it in the case of an aligner, will eliminate most of these problems. As an added bonus, particularly for fitted brace wearers, keeping your device this clean will prevent the risk of staining your teeth around the brackets; this happens when food isn't removed for long periods of time and discolours your tooth.

Altering Your Diet

It is true that you'll need to watch what you eat while you're wearing your braces or aligner. Aligners are more forgiving in this respect, as you can remove them to eat or drink if you wish. However, while the appliance is in your mouth, you should avoid very sugary or caffeinated drinks, anything sticky — such as chewing gum or hard toffee — and anything hard that may snap your appliance.

Contact Your Dentist If There's Pain

Some discomfort as you adjust to the sensation of wearing braces or an aligner is normal — but pain is not. If you have persistent pain, especially if that pain is sharp and focused rather than a general ache, you should return to your dentist or orthodontist, as this is usually indicative of a problem. Don't be tempted to wait it out, as the soreness will only worsen with time — especially if you feel the device rubbing up against your gums or lips. Wax can be applied to solve this problem; you don't need to suffer in silence. Problems like these are rare, so don't be concerned about them. Just know what to do if they do occur.

Wearing braces is definitely not difficult to tolerate. It's mostly about adjusting to accommodate the device for the duration you wear it — and that does become second nature over time. By the time it's removed or you no longer have to wear your aligner, you'll barely be thinking about it. Good luck!