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Congratulations on making the decision to get braces! You are about to embark on a memorable journey that ends with a perfect and healthy smile! While this is an exciting time, it is perfectly normal to feel some anxiety and uncertainty about getting braces. You might be asking yourself: Do braces hurt? How long am I going to have to wear them? How much will they change my actual appearance? Will I have to give up my favorite foods?

At All-Star Orthodontics, my staff and I spend as much time as needed with each patient (and parents) to answer all of their questions and concerns about orthodontic treatment. We aim to make every patient feel comfortable and excited to get their braces on!

If you are considering braces or about to get them on, you probably have a lot of questions too. I’ve listed below the frequently asked questions we get at our office and hope it will help you to feel more informed about your upcoming orthodontic treatment.


Q: How should I prepare for my appointment?

A: After all the necessary paperwork is handled, all you need to do is show up well rested. We also suggest that, leading up to your appointment, you should enjoy all the hard, sticky, chewy, crunchy foods that will be limited once your brackets are on.


Q: How long will I need to wear braces?

A: Treatment time varies with the complexity of a patient’s needs. An average case takes between 15-20 months. Phase I treatment (which is often needed for younger patients who still have some baby teeth) can take between 6-12 months. Treatment times can be extended if you don’t wear rubber bands as prescribed.


Q: What should I expect during the appointment when my braces are put on?

A: Your teeth will be cleaned and then brackets will be glued on with a special dental adhesive. Once the brackets are on, they are then connected with a light, flexible wire which is secured to the brackets with rubber bands. We’ll then review care instructions and give you a take home kit with hygiene aids. And we’ll end the appointment with a photo and coupon for free ice cream to celebrate the special day!


Q: Will it hurt?

A: The procedure itself of putting on your braces will not hurt. You may feel pressure as the wires are tied in, but there shouldn’t be any pain. In the evening and days following your appointment, you will likely feel some soreness. This is due to the pressure of the wire on the teeth which causes them to begin shifting. I call all of my patients the day after the get their braces on to check on how they are feeling, and the soreness typically goes away after a few days. This soreness may reoccur with each adjustment appointment, but again, it should go away after a day or so as your teeth and jaw adjust. Patients may experience irritation where the brackets rub the cheeks / lips. This is normal. Patients can use orthodontic wax to alleviate irritation, but this too should diminish as your cheeks get used to the brackets.  


Q: What can I do to alleviate soreness?

A: Should you feel you need over-the-counter pain medications, consult with me or your doctor to be sure you take the appropriate medication for your age and medical history. You will be given orthodontic wax which you can plan on top of your bracket or wire to alleviate the irritation on your cheeks or the inside of your lips. Simply place a pea-sized amount of wax over the bracket or wire causing the irritation for instant relief, and press down, covering the offending part and protecting your mouth from further irritation.

An oral pain relief gel, such as Anbesol or Orajel, can also help to take the edge off any irritation or soreness in your cheeks or lips. Any discomfort should be temporary, and not difficult to manage. A simple trick you can try during this time is rinsing your mouth out with salt water twice a day. This will help heal your irritated lips and cheeks, and also keeps your brackets and wires clean of food build-up, which is an important part of your dental hygiene routine.


Q: What can I eat when I have my braces on?

A: We like to tell patients to eat all the ice cream, milkshakes, and smoothies you like while your teeth adjust during the first week, which is likely to be the most uncomfortable part of your treatment. After that, take care to cut any harder foods into smaller bites to avoid contact with your brackets. But it is best to avoid any sticky, hard, chewy or crunchy foods. While the adhesive used to secure your brackets is strong, it is not uncommon to break brackets off by eating such foods or candy. Breaking brackets, while not an emergency, can be annoying, require an additional appointment, and possibly set back your treatment time.  


Q: How do I clean my teeth with braces on?

A: After your milkshake and mashed potatoes, make sure you’re keeping things clean with a vigorous daily dental hygiene routine. This is super important all the time, but especially during any type of orthodontic treatment. Not being vigilant about the cleanliness and health of your teeth can lead to extra time in braces, and who wants that?! Aim to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, every day, and really make it count. Learning to navigate around brackets and wires can be tricky, but some companies make toothbrushes and flossers that are designed to work especially for braces.


I hope this information makes you feel more confident and less uncertain about getting braces. In fact, most patients of All-Star Orthodontics are excited to get their braces on and we celebrate the occasion with photos and free ice cream coupons! While it’s normal for them to feel strange at first, all of my patients adjust quite quickly and easily. 

Patients of All-Star Orthodontics also get a “Direct Line to Dr. Cline”. That’s right – I give all of my patients my personal line so they can call day or night with questions or concerns. It is just one more thing we do to make patients feel as comfortable and excited as possible about their journey to a healthy smile.

With a friendly, experienced team on-hand to make treatment as easy as possible for you, we’re the number one choice for traditional braces in the Richmond area.

If you’ve been looking for information on traditional braces treatment you can trust, give us a call today and schedule a consultation! We are conveniently located in Richmond, and have your confidence and comfort at the heart of our practice. Get in touch and let our extra special All-Star Orthodontics team get to work on your smile!