Lets just swiftly gloss over the fact I’m 23 years old, and concentrate on the fact that like me, over 200,000 people in the UK have started orthodontic treatment in the past year. Which is a quite bloody lot, so you can imagine the shock when I had braces put on and was met with some of the worst pain I’d ever felt. Not cool guys, a heads up would’ve been nice!
Anyway, given that they’ve been on my gnashers a whole week now, I’ve adapted my life enough to put together a ‘lil post detailing all the lessons I’ve learnt the hard way, so you don’t have to. (Can’t take away the pain completely though, sorry about that).
You can read my last post re: pre-braces dread here – Getting Braces As An Adult.
(Just for the record, I have Damon braces top and bottom – clear on top and metal on the bottom. I’m due to have elastics on at my next appointment and I also have molar build ups on two of my back teeth holding my bite open.)
1) Having them on is no biggie, but you do have to sit with your mouth open for a while, so take plenty of lip balm. Also you suddenly feel very conscious of where your tongue is sat in your mouth, which isn’t exactly comfortable, but it doesn’t hurt at all, so no need to worry about the process itself.
2) Give it a couple of hours though and that shit hurts. BAD. I took painkillers an hour before my appointment as advised by my orthodontist, but it was still very painful and my entire mouth felt very sensitive.
3) The Boots brand orthodontic wax is a million billion trillion times better than the stuff the orthodontist give you. Yep it’s £3 a pop, but for me it was worth it to not be talking and suddenly feel a loose bit of ortho wax flying round me gob.
4) Soup is amazing for the first few days, but the sooner you chew through the pain and get on with eating more ‘solid’ foods the better. I adapted really quickly once I was brave enough to actually eat.
5) Cleaning your teeth will take f-o-r-e-v-e-r at first, as you get used to cleaning around and in between the brackets with your toothbrush/floss/interdental brushes. It does get a bit quicker, but it’s definitely a step you need to remember to consider when setting your alarm.
6) Prepare. Although the orthodontist will give you some supplies, it’s not really enough. Which, if you wanna avoid an 8pm trip to boots to stock up on extra fluoride mouthwash, orthodontic wax and special floss, is worth considering before your appointment.
7) If you want to eat bread, it’s a million times easier to get out of your braces if you toast it first. No idea why, it just is.
8) People will ask you questions. ALL. THE. TIME. Which isn’t exactly fun when the last thing you want to do is draw attention to your braces, BUT get it out of the way in the first few days and your braces will be old news. Something waaaay waaay more interesting will be dominating the water cooler/canteen/corridors by tomorrow. Promise.
9) Although orthodontic wax is a gift from the gods (love you BAES <3), the less you use it the more the inside of your mouth will adapt to the braces. They’ll get irritated a bit, but they toughen up pretty quickly and soon enough you’ll barely notice them at all.
10) Drink water. ALL THE WATER. For some reason having braces has made my mouth so dry, so I find drinking tons of water really helps to stop my cheeks sticking to the braces. Oh and carry lip balm everywhere. However many spare toothbrushes you now own, have double the amount of lip balm. That shit is GOLD.
11) Schedule time in your life for cleaning your teeth, eating, and complaining about how annoying/uncomfortable/painful your teeth are because that stuff takes up a LOOOOOOOOT of time. Just a heads up.
There we are, my 11 tips for the first week of braces. Hope they helped/will help, and let me know any of yours below!