This isn’t my first rodeo. It’s the third. The most common question I get asked is “why did you get braces, your teeth were already so straight!”
You’re right. They were. But my bite was so off!
I started to wonder if that was what was causing my migraines. Clenching my teeth all night and wake up sore, plus my front teeth hit and my back ones didn’t so I’ve got a cracked front tooth and a chipped front tooth…I was a mess!
So, while my teeth may have looked straight, they just didn’t feel straight inside of my mouth.
(these are obviously fake…it’s obvious, right? HAHA)
Choosing The Right Orthodontist
I feel pretty lucky with the ortho we chose. I checked out a few different orthodontists around my area and settled on Michael Richards. He has two offices around the valley so he serves a big area! They’ve got chocolate chip cookies cooking all day long so my kids count down the days until ortho visits!
Oh, and they’ve got lots of Nintendos too, which Dash and Jett love.
But most importantly, choose someone who gets where you’re coming from and listens to your concerns. I wasn’t a newbie so I knew what I didn’t want. And thanks to Dr. Richards, I was able to get fitted with braces and brackets that work for me!
I never thought I would be going to the ortho at the same time with my daughters…
Real life here, I’m lucky enough to match the tweens in my house! Anisten is in expanders and Emery and I have full sets of braces on us! I know how much confidence can be built with a beautiful smile, so this was always our plan for the kids!
GET YOUR OWN BRACES SURVIVAL KIT
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Lots Of Options
There are a lot of options for you when you are considering getting adult braces. These aren’t the 80’s and 90’s braces you’re used to!
They have silver, rose gold (thank you Millenials) and clear bracket options! Plus all different sizes of brackets too!
I have heard of ortho’s putting them on the BACKS of teeth which sounds so dang uncomfortable but hey, I am just telling you your options. Plus, if traditional braces aren’t your thing, you can always go the Invisalign route (if you’re a candidate, check with your ortho!).
I went with the clear “Damon” style braces. The brackets are much smaller and, until you are in power chains (you’ll love these…), you really don’t have to wear those little colored elastics that go over them that always stain.
…Contrary to popular belief, clear braces DON’T stain. The brackets themselves will not get stained, but the teeny little elastics (they’re called ligatures!) that hold the wire onto the bracket definitely stain.
That’s what’s so great about Damon brackets! You don’t have to have the ligatures until you have to wear power chains! Anyway, they all eventually get dingy looking after about 2 weeks (even with being careful!).
I have had good luck with super light blues (those actually even make your teeth look whiter!) and periwinkle. Here is a picture of the periwinkle..it is what I ask for every time I go in!
The More You Know
If you are planning on getting braces, have braces, or your kids do and you’d like to be able to be more in the know, here are my tips for keeping them clean and stain-free (mostly):
1. Brush your teeth after every meal.
For real. This is the most important tip. If you’re brushing your teeth after every meal you’re brushing away any food left in your mouth that could cause stains or get stuck and grow bacteria and cause cavities! (braces are gross)
2. Buy a Waterpik
You can’t rely on just brushing. You have hard-to-reach places and you need the things that are gonna get that hard-to-reach stuff. A Waterpik comes in handy and will get all of the nasties out from behind brackets and trapped in your wire. I also love these mini dental brushes that fit in and around the brackets as well as these ortho-flossers that are made to floss your teeth with braces on!
3. Avoid food and drinks that will stain – duh
Avoid the crap that leaves a stain. If it would stain your favorite rug or shirt, it’s going to stain your braces and ligatures.
4. Visit your orthodontist regularly for ligature changes
To prevent the ligatures from staining they have to be changed often. Visit your orthodontist regularly to have them replaced so you can always be fresh-to-death! (I go every 2 weeks!!)
Know Before You Go
Most importantly, go to someone that you really trust! Make sure you guys have the same vision for your smile. Go to someone that you feel comfortable telling when you think one of your teeth is in a funky position or your smile isn’t as wide as you want it to be.
Now that I am down to the fine-tuning of my braces, every appointment I can say “pull this tooth down a little bit more.. push this one out a bit… etc”. Feeling comfortable with your ortho is SO important.
My Bag of Tricks
With it being my third time in these things, I would say I have learned a thing or two and there are definitely some must-have items that I don’t leave my house without. I’ve always got a stash of braces-survival-items in my bag with me: