Getting Braces – What You Need To Know

Collage of people wearing different types of dental braces


A healthy smile is more than just an attractive asset; it plays a significant role in your overall well-being. Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, can help correct dental issues and improve your oral health. Braces are not just for kids; many adults can significantly benefit from orthodontic treatment to address various dental concerns and boost their confidence.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss the importance of braces, the different types available at DIVA, and the entire process from start to finish. For more information on specific braces types, please visit our detailed blog post “Types of Dental Braces.”

Factors to Consider When Choosing Braces

When deciding on the right braces for your needs, consider these five essential factors:

  • Age and dental development: While braces are suitable for people of all ages, the ideal timing may vary depending on an individual’s dental development. Your dentist will recommend the best time to start treatment.
  • Severity of dental issues: Some braces are more effective in addressing specific dental concerns. Talk to your dentist about the best option based on the complexity of your dental problems.
  • Aesthetics and personal preferences: The appearance of your braces matters to many people. There are discreet options like clear aligners or ceramic braces, as well as traditional metal braces. It’s essential to choose a style that you feel comfortable wearing.
  • Cost and insurance coverage: Braces can be an investment in your oral health. Be sure to consider your budget and insurance coverage when making your decision. Different types of braces come with varying price tags, so it’s essential to find one that fits your financial situation.
  • Maintenance and care: Some braces require more upkeep than others. Think about the time and effort you’re willing to invest in maintaining your braces throughout your treatment.

The Process of Getting Braces

The process of getting braces involves several steps to ensure a successful and personalized treatment, which generally include:

  • Initial consultation: Meet with your dentist to discuss your dental concerns, goals, and potential treatment options. They will examine your teeth and provide personalized recommendations.
  • Dental records and X-rays: Your dentist will gather comprehensive dental records, including X-rays and impressions, to create a customized treatment plan.
  • Customized treatment plan: Based on your records and dental needs, your dentist will develop a tailored plan that outlines the type of braces you’ll receive and the estimated treatment duration.
  • Applying the braces: Once you’ve agreed on a treatment plan, your dentist will apply the braces to your teeth. This process can take anywhere from one to two hours, depending on the type of braces you’re receiving.
  • Regular adjustments: You’ll have periodic appointments with your dentist to adjust your braces and ensure your treatment progresses as planned. These visits typically occur every four to eight weeks.

Types of Braces

Types of braces: Metal braces, clear braces/invisalign, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and self-ligating braces

There are various types of braces available to cater to individual preferences and dental needs. Each type has its unique features and advantages. Here’s an overview of the common types of braces:

  • Traditional metal braces: These consist of metal brackets and wires, offering a reliable and cost-effective solution for many dental issues. They have improved significantly over the years, becoming more comfortable and less noticeable.
  • Clear aligners: Removable and nearly invisible, clear aligners are custom-made plastic trays that gradually shift the teeth into their desired positions. Popular brands include Invisalign and ClearCorrect. They’re ideal for those seeking a discreet, convenient, and comfortable orthodontic treatment.
  • Ceramic braces: Similar in design to metal braces, ceramic braces use tooth-colored or clear brackets, making them less visible. They’re a popular choice for those seeking a more discreet option while still benefiting from the effectiveness of traditional braces.
  • Lingual braces: These braces are attached to the inner side of the teeth, making them virtually invisible. Lingual braces can be more challenging to clean and may require a longer adjustment period, but they provide an excellent option for those concerned about aesthetics.
  • Self-ligating braces: These braces use a specialized clip or bracket system that holds the archwire in place without the need for elastic bands or ties. Self-ligating braces can potentially reduce friction, allow for easier cleaning, and may lead to shorter treatment times compared to traditional braces.

For a more in-depth look at the various types of braces, their pros and cons, and which option may be best suited to your specific dental needs, please visit our detailed blog post “Types of Dental Braces.

Living With Braces

As you embark on your journey with braces, adjusting to life with them will require some changes in your daily routine:

Oral hygiene and braces care are essential aspects of orthodontic treatment. Ensure that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and follow your dentist’s care instructions tailored to your specific braces type. This will help keep your teeth and braces clean throughout the treatment.

Be mindful of the foods you consume, as certain items can damage your braces or cause discomfort. Avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods like popcorn, gum, and caramel, and instead, choose softer foods that are less likely to harm your braces. As you become more comfortable, you can gradually reintroduce harder foods into your diet.

It’s not uncommon to experience discomfort or soreness after getting braces or following adjustments. To alleviate any pain, consider using over-the-counter pain relievers, orthodontic wax, or warm saltwater rinses.

Don’t forget the importance of regular dental check-ups while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Routine dental visits will ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy throughout the process.

Here are some additional tips for living with your braces:

  • Allow time for adaptation: Understand that it may take some time to get used to your new braces, so be patient with yourself during this adjustment period.
  • Expect initial challenges: Be prepared to face some difficulties in the beginning, such as eating, speaking, or even sleeping comfortably.
  • Practice patience: Remind yourself that these challenges are temporary, and with time, you will grow more accustomed to your braces.
  • Use a water flosser: Using a water flosser to make flossing with braces more manageable and efficient. A water flosser can help clean around brackets and wires, reaching areas that traditional flossing may miss, ensuring better oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment.
  • Use orthodontic wax: Apply orthodontic wax to any brackets or wires that may be causing irritation to your cheeks or lips for added comfort.
  • Stay positive: Keep in mind that braces are a temporary measure to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime.
  • Seek support: Talk to friends or family members who have gone through orthodontic treatment for advice and encouragement.

Embrace your braces: Remember that many people wear braces, and they are a symbol of your commitment to improving your dental health and appearance. Be proud of your journey towards a perfect smile!

Using a water flosser to make flossing with braces more manageable and efficient. See our blog post Water Flossers / Water Flossing for more information on water flossers.

Water flossers

Apply orthodontic wax to any brackets or wires that may be causing irritation to your cheeks or lips for added comfort.

GUM Ortho wax

The Duration of Treatment

The length of orthodontic treatment varies from person to person. On average, braces are worn for about 18 to 24 months, but some cases may require a shorter or longer duration. It’s important to remember that each individual’s dental needs and circumstances are unique, which can affect the treatment timeline.

Several factors can influence the length of your treatment:

  • Severity of dental issues: The complexity of your dental problems, such as overcrowding, spacing, or bite alignment, can impact the duration of your orthodontic treatment. More severe cases typically require a longer treatment period.
  • Type of braces: Different braces types, such as traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, or clear aligners, can vary in effectiveness and treatment speed. Some options may work faster in specific situations, while others may take more time to achieve the desired results.
  • Patient compliance: Your commitment to following your dentist’s instructions, such as wearing rubber bands, maintaining oral hygiene, and attending regular appointments, can significantly impact your treatment’s success and duration.
  • Age: While braces are effective for patients of all ages, younger patients may experience faster treatment times due to their ongoing dental development and growth.
  • Biological factors: Individual differences in tooth movement and bone metabolism can affect the speed at which teeth shift into their desired positions, impacting the overall treatment duration.

Post-Braces Care

Once your braces are removed, it’s vital to focus on post-treatment care to ensure the longevity of your orthodontic results.

One of the most critical aspects of post-braces care is the use of retainers. These custom-made appliances help maintain your teeth’s new positions and prevent them from reverting to their original alignment. To achieve long-lasting results, it’s crucial to wear your retainer according to your dentist’s instructions.

Retainers come in two main varieties: removable and fixed. Your dentist will assess your individual needs and recommend the best option for you. Regardless of the type of retainer you receive, it’s essential to follow your dentist’s wear schedule and take proper care of the appliance. Regularly clean your retainer and store it in its protective case when not in use to ensure its effectiveness and longevity.

Removable retainer
Removable retainer
Permanent retainer
Permanent retainer

In addition to using a retainer, it’s important to maintain your overall dental health by continuing with routine dental check-ups and cleanings. Regular visits to your dentist will help you preserve the health and appearance of your smile, ensuring that your investment in orthodontic treatment pays off for years to come.

About Dental Innovations of Virginia – Your Lansdowne, VA Dentist

Braces can significantly improve your dental health and transform your smile. By understanding the factors to consider when choosing braces, the process of getting them, and how to live with and care for them, you’ll be well-prepared for your orthodontic journey. Remember that the benefits of braces far outweigh the temporary challenges, and a beautiful, healthy smile is well worth the investment.

At Dental Innovations of Virginia in Lansdowne, VA, we are experienced in providing comprehensive orthodontic care to patients of all ages. Contact us to discuss your unique needs and begin your journey towards a perfect smile.

Dental Innovations of Virginia - front office wide angle

In addition to our Lansdowne office serving the Leesburg, Lansdowne, Ashburn, Loudoun County areas, we also come to you via our DIVA Mobile Clinic service for patients living in long-term care facilities, and our DIVA Home Visit service for patients who prefer to receive treatments in the comfort of their own home.

Dr. Joon Coe, Dr. Julie Coe, and the rest of the DIVA team look forward to helping you achieve a brighter smile and the highest possible dental health. We’re located at 19490 Sandridge Way, Suite 160, Lansdowne, VA 20176. We’re open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Contact us to schedule an appointment or ask us a question.