You know it will all be worth it, but sometimes it feels like you will be in braces forever! Once the novelty of getting braces wears off, most patients are asking for tips on how to get their braces off sooner. There is plenty that patients can do to help move their treatment along a little faster.
Wear your rubber bands
Braces straighten teeth, but they don’t correct the bite. Wearing your rubber bands consistently is absolutely the most effective way to ensure you finish your treatment on time or even early. Change your rubber bands every few hours and aim to wear them for at least 22 hours a day. However, do not double up rubber bands unless Dr. Peterson instructs you to. Consistency is the key, not strength.
Keep up with your orthodontic appointments
Braces need adjusting every 6-8 weeks to achieve optimal results. Missing appointments, showing up late, and coming less frequently than recommended can all contribute to lengthened treatment time.
Practice good oral hygiene
Brush three times a day and floss once a day. Using your water flosser daily is a great way to keep your gums healthy. Healthy teeth move faster! Poor hygiene also weakens the glue on the brackets which can make it easier to break a bracket.
Avoid breaking brackets
Don’t eat hard or chewy foods, and avoid chewing on hard items like ice or fingernails. Never bite into foods with your front teeth. Instead, cut or tear food into small pieces and chew with your back teeth. Each time you break a bracket, it slows down your treatment because that tooth relapses backwards, or we have to fix the bracket and can’t move onto the next wire at your appointment.
Call your orthodontist if anything breaks
If you notice that anything seems loose or broken, let us know as soon as possible. Sometimes, a breakage that is ignored for weeks can prolong your treatment. A bracket that slides back and forth on the wire is broken and needs to be repaired.
If you are feeling discouraged about how long you’ll be in braces, do remember that this is only a short time in your life in the grand scheme of things. Following these tips will ensure that you get your braces off on time or early. The sooner your braces come off, the sooner you can enjoy that sparkly new smile!