What are Braces? Why Do I Need Braces?

Smile with bracesDuring your initial consultation, we may advise you to receive orthodontic braces to treat misalignment of the teeth. Depending on the severity of your misalignment, we may recommend one of several types of braces. This may include metal braces, clear braces, or Invisalign®. This decision is based on factors such as, teeth gaps, quality of bite (such as overbite or underbite), and crooked teeth. Fortunately, there is a method of treatment available for all types of teeth misalignment conditions.

Metal Braces

close-up of metal braces

These are the most common type of braces due to their effectiveness and affordability. They are also the oldest type of teeth straightening device on the market, so there is more research to prove their effectiveness and ensure proper maintenance. Made with high-grade stainless steel, they are durable and can usually last throughout the duration of teeth straightening.

Clear Braces

clear braces

Made with a clear material, they don't 'stand out' as much as metal braces do. For this, they tend to be a popular pick by patients for teeth straightening. However, because they partly contain ceramic, they may be more fragile and require additional maintenance during treatment.


invisalign braces

Quite different than the first two types of braces, Invisalign is a fully translucent and invisible teeth straightening treatment plan. Invisalign utilizes removable trays that are switched out often the duration of treatment. As the patient's teeth slowly align to a proper positioning, new trays are delivered to the patient to replace the old. This eliminates the need for metal wires and tightening. Read more about Invisalign here.

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What to Know After You Get Braces

Your first week wearing your new braces will be different. There will most likely be some discomfort involved as your teeth become accustomed to the restrictive aligners. You may even feel slight pain. Your dentist may recommend a pain reliever - please check with your dentist before taking any pain reliever. Sometimes your cheeks may be tender or sore as the braces rub against them. For this, many patients use wax on the braces where the irritation is occurring.

Many patients become accustomed to the braces fairly soon after they receive them. With proper food choices (explained below) and maintenance, the process will have very little impact on your daily activities. And with orthodontic technology advancing so rapidly, the time that braces must be worn for their full effect is reducing. We will work with you throughout the entire process to ensure that you experience as little discomfort or difficulties on your journey to renewing your beautiful smile.

What to Eat & What Not to Eat

The nature of oral braces is to serve as a 'brace' pulling your teeth together in a proper formation. However, the construction of braces prohibits certain food from being eaten, as food particles may get lodged into them. If this happens, it can be quite hard to remove the food and may require a dentist visit to remedy. Other food, especially chewy or crunchy foods, may damage the braces themselves, either by dislodging them or breaking down their components. This would result in another dentist visit and a potential lengthening of time that you have to wear your orthodontics.

There are only several categories of foods to avoid while your braces are aligning your teeth. Crunchy foods such as chips, popcorn, even ice, can cause damage to the braces. Chewy foods, such as jerky, dense breads, and tough meats will put additional strain on your braces. Sugary snacks and candies are to be avoided all-together as they typically fall in one of the categories of foods to avoid. Likewise, their artificial sugars can wear down the braces. This is in addition to the wear and tear they place on your teeth! Acidic foods and drinks such as overly citrus-y fruits and sodas are to be avoided as well. Foods that require biting into, much like chewy foods, will typically wear down the effectiveness of the braces and may cause breakage.

It should be pretty straightforward to assess your dietary decisions while wearing braces. You should ask yourself, "Will this food put extra strain on my braces?" If so, then you should either avoid that food or contact us so we can let you know whether or not that food is to be avoided.

Foods that you can eat are plentiful. Soft breads, fruits, tender meats, fish, vegetables, and fruit drinks (so as long as they aren't overly acidic and don't require crunching ice) should be okay when you're wearing braces. Soups are often a great choice. For a comprehensive list of foods safe for your braces, feel free to contact us and we'll let you know what we think are ideal food groups to enjoy!

As you wear your braces, you'll realize what foods can do to your teeth over time. Most foods in the 'foods to avoid while wearing braces' category place strain on teeth. Our patients often tell us that they've gained a realization why eating healthy is important; not only are healthy foods good for your body, they are good for your teeth. There are some instances where healthy foods cannot be eaten while wearing braces. Examples include nuts, apples, corn on the cob, pears, and chicken on the bone, among others.