Are your crooked teeth getting you down? Do you avoid smiling for photos because you don’t like showing teeth? Are you having problems chewing or digesting your food?

It may be time to speak to an orthodontist. The right ortho can help fix your dental issues with braces.

Keep reading to find six questions to ask your orthodontist before getting braces.

1. What Are the Benefits of Braces?

There are many reasons that dentists recommend braces for their patients.

One of the most common reasons is for aesthetics. Having straight teeth boosts confidence and self-esteem levels.

Braces can do more for your overall health than just beautify your smile, though.

Straight teeth are easier to brush and floss, helping you achieve healthier gums and teeth.

If your teeth aren’t aligned, you might not be chewing your food right. Swallowing pieces of food that are too big can make digestion difficult. Once they are straight, you can eat properly and find relief from digestive discomfort.

Overbites, underbites, or crossbites cause wear on your gums and jaw muscles. This wear can lead to broken teeth, jaw strain, or even tooth loss.

2. What Types of Braces Are There?

There are several different types of braces. You and your orthodontist will work together to choose the right kind for your specific needs.

Metal braces are the type you probably picture in your head when you hear “braces.” Improvements in technology allow for less noticeable and smaller brackets than what you’re imagining. Metal types are the most noticeable of all braces, but they’re also the least expensive most of the time.

Metal braces are the best option for folks with complex dental issues.

Clear bracket braces are similar to metal, except the brackets are clear. This makes them much less noticeable than the traditional style.

Invisalign is another popular option for teens and adults. Since they don’t use any brackets or wires, they’re much more comfortable than traditional braces. You’ll need new aligners every few weeks to keep progressing in your treatment.

Invisalign isn’t right for everyone, though. You need to commit to wearing your aligners for at least 22 hours a day. You will need to address issues like cavities or gum disease before moving forward with Invisalign.

3. What Will My Braces Cost?

The cost of braces will depend upon many different factors. The expense will depend on your age, how much work is needed, and how long your treatment plan will be.  Your orthodontist will be able to provide you with an estimate during your consultation.

4. Are There Lifestyle Changes I Should Make Before Getting Braces?

You should commit to healthy dental habits well before you get your braces. Doing so will ensure you have the most beautiful smile when your treatment is all said and done.

A study from 2012 suggests that only 10 percent of people brush their teeth in a way that prevents tooth decay. Learn common toothbrushing mistakes and how to avoid them. Research how to brush and floss your teeth while you’re wearing your braces.

There are some foods you won’t be able to eat once you get braces. Your orthodontist will talk to you about them, but you may want to make note anyway.

You’ll have to forgo foods that are hard or sticky like candy, caramel, or ice. They can pop off your brackets and even bend wires. Sticky foods can get stuck on the wires and will be challenging to get off.

Popcorn kernels can get stuck under your braces or between your teeth. This can lead to gum inflammation or swelling. There is “hulless” popcorn available if you absolutely cannot give it up.

You may want to reconsider participating in contact sports during your treatment. A big hit in football can lead to mouth, lip, or gum injuries from your braces.

If you must play sports, talk to your orthodontist about using a mouthguard.

5. How Long Will My Braces Treatment Take?

Many factors come into play when determining the length of treatment necessary. Since each patient and their dental goals are unique, the treatment time will vary from person-to-person.

Patients who only need simple fixes may only need treatment for a year. More complex cases with bite corrections can last much longer, closer to 24 to 30 months.

Don’t let the time it takes to achieve your dental goals deter you from getting braces. The time will pass anyway, why not get a more beautiful smile out of it?

6. What Will Be My Duties At Home?

There’s more to getting braces than going to see you orthodontist every few weeks. You will need to do your due diligence at home to make sure you’re getting the best results.

Be careful while you brush your teeth. Brackets can sometimes make it difficult to clean all the surfaces.

Floss threaders will allow you to still floss while you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Your dentist may ask you to use elastic bands on the brackets to help move your teeth. You’ll need to ensure you understand how to put them on before leaving the office.

7. How Often Will I Need to Come Into the Office?

You will need to come into the office on occasion for adjustments and progress reports. The frequency of your visits will depend on your treatment plan. You should plan for appointments every four to eight weeks.

Fix Your Teeth, Change Your Life

If you’re ready to change your life, we can help. We offer orthodontic care for patients of all ages and provide payment plans so everyone can afford treatment.

Fill out our New Patient forms to get an initial consultation with our team. Don’t forget to bring your list of questions to ask before getting braces. Your orthodontic team in Billings will be happy to answer them for you.