Braces FAQ

Comprehensive Orthodontic Care in Bethesda & Laurel, MD

At Heller Orthodontics, we believe everyone deserves a healthy, beautiful smile. As a leading orthodontist serving Bethesda, Laurel, North Potomac, and the surrounding areas, we're proud to provide world-class orthodontic treatment to patients of all ages, and our orthodontist, Dr. Alan Heller, works to personalize each treatment plan to fit any lifestyle. While we offer a wide variety of treatment options, our most popular treatment is still traditional metal braces. And if you're considering braces for your own orthodontic treatment, we've pulled together some of the most commonly asked questions, alongside their answers, to help out.

Common Questions About Braces

Do braces hurt?

Generally speaking, no, braces do not hurt. Many patients experience some level of soreness or discomfort for a few days after first getting braces or having an adjustment appointment, but this is usually mild and fades within a week at most. Any discomfort you do experience from braces can be handled with over-the-counter pain medication, a cold pack, or warm salt water rinses.

How long does treatment with braces take?

Every patient is different, and the timing of your treatment will depend entirely on the complexity of your orthodontic case. However, most patients should expect to spend somewhere between 12 and 24 months in braces.

How do I brush my teeth with braces?

Oral hygiene is a little different while wearing braces. The primary focus is still brushing and flossing your teeth, but there are some changes you'll need to make to your routine. For starters, you'll need to brush your teeth at least 4 times per day: once after each meal and once before bed. Ideally, you should brush your teeth anytime after you eat something. You'll also need to floss your teeth, but you'll need a special device called a floss threader to properly floss and clean the teeth underneath the archwire. Some patients find supplemental oral hygiene tools, like interdental brushes or water picks, to be helpful as well.

What foods can I eat with braces?

You'll still be able to eat most foods while wearing braces, but there are some dietary modifications you'll need to make. In general, you'll need to avoid any foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky, gooey, or full of sugar or carbs while wearing braces. This is to prevent food from breaking off brackets, getting stuck under your archwire, or otherwise damaging your appliances.

What happens when I get my braces off?

At the end of your treatment, you'll enter the retention phase. Retainers are crucial because while your teeth will be in new positions after finishing with braces, the underlying ligaments and tissues that support them will have yet to adapt to those new positions, so without retention, your teeth will simply drift back to their old positions. We'll fit you for a retainer immediately after taking your braces off and provide detailed instructions on wearing and caring for your retainer when we give it to you.

Schedule a Consultation with Your Laurel, MD Orthodontist

Braces are still the most powerful, reliable, and cost-effective orthodontic treatment on the market today, and modern braces are far more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing than those of the past. Interested in seeing how braces can improve your smile? We'd love to help! Take the first step towards a new smile and request a consultation online with us today. We can't wait to hear from you!