Braces FAQ

All About Braces

These are the questions we hear most frequently from our Richmond braces patients. If you’d like even more detail, schedule a free consultation at Gardner Orthodontics by calling us at (804) 282-0505 or texting us at (804) 577-1171.

Q: What happens when I get my braces put on?

A: Getting your braces put on doesn’t hurt a bit. We’ll prime the surface of your teeth for the special adhesive we use. Then, your Richmond orthodontist will stick the brackets on each individual tooth before threading your archwires through the brackets.

Q: What happens when I get my braces taken off?

A: Getting your braces removed is also painless. Your orthodontist will use a special tool to loosen and remove the brackets and wires. They’ll get rid of any leftover adhesive, polish your teeth and let you admire your new smile in the mirror.

Q: Do braces hurt?

A: Getting braces put on doesn’t hurt at all and you should never feel real braces pain throughout your treatment. However, you will have some mild soreness when you get your braces on that lasts for several days. Stick with soft foods. You can also take whichever over-the-counter pain reliever you’d normally take for a headache about an hour before dinner and again when you wake up in the morning. Continue this as needed.

Q: What do I do if my braces are rubbing the inside of my cheeks?

A: Dry the area with a napkin or a tissue and apply orthodontic wax. Over-the-counter ointments, like Orabase, can also be helpful for these areas . During the first few weeks, your cheeks will “toughen up” in response to your brackets and the irritation will go away.

Q: What is the most important part of my braces treatment?

A: Keeping your teeth clean and continuing to see your dentist every six months for a regular cleaning and exam are keys!

Q: What are the foods to avoid with braces?

A: Avoid anything sticky or chewy (e.g., taffy, caramel, Airheads, Skittles, etc.), crunchy or hard (hard candies, hard pretzels, ice, etc.), biting into anything with a hard center (e.g., ribs or chicken legs), biting off parts of food (cut up apples and take corn off of the cob), and sucking on lemons.

Q: Can I chew gum or eat popcorn with braces?

A: You can chew sugar-free gum. In fact, it may help relieve aches and tenderness. You can also eat popcorn, contrary to popular belief, but avoid eating kernels that haven’t been completely popped.

Q: Can I drink soda with braces?

A: You can drink soda but make sure you brush your teeth right afterwards or at least rinse your mouth out with water.

Q: How often will I need to come in for visits during braces treatment?

A: We’ll see you approximately every eight to 10 weeks for an adjustment.

Q: Am I too old for braces?

A: No way! You’re never too old to have a healthy, functional, beautiful smile. Nearly half of our patients are adults with many over the age of 50. The metal braces we use are streamlined and attractive. However, if you don’t like the thought of metal braces, we also offer clear braces and Invisalign, which will allow you to straighten your teeth discreetly. To learn more, schedule a complimentary consultation at Gardner Orthodontics by calling us at (804) 282-0505 or texting us at (804) 577-1171.

Q: How much do braces cost?

A: Every case is different and your braces cost will depend on your personalized treatment plan. At your consultation, we’ll present you with your treatment options and the cost for each. We accept most insurance and offer flexible financing options to ensure treatment works for your budget. Our pricing is all-inclusive so your treatment, retainers and one year of retainer checks will be included in the cost we give you.

Q: How long will my braces treatment last?

A: Each patient is unique so the length of braces treatment varies. While the average length of braces treatment is less than 18 months, it can range from less than 12 months to over 24 months. Thankfully, we’ve invested in the latest technology and treatments to ensure you’re able to get amazing results in less time without sacrificing quality.

Q: Can I still play football or other sports with braces?

A: Yes! You can continue to play sports with braces. We do recommend wearing a mouthguard to protect your braces, your teeth and your mouth. We will be happy to give you one!

Q: How many times a day should I brush my teeth while wearing braces?

A: When you’re wearing braces, you should brush your teeth in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed. Be sure to floss once daily too. If you forget your toothbrush, rinse your mouth out after eating with water and then brush when you get home.

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