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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
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Pre-teen says braces "really not a hassle"

Aug 31, 2012

Brace yourselves! In August our blog is taking a healthy bite out of the straight facts about orthodontia.  We're exploring what orthodontia is, how it helps re-position teeth with different ortho devices and how the corrective action it provides aid in the development of winning smiles.

Photo Source: Angela A., Southwest Victoria, Australia 

When Andy A. returned to primary school (grades K-6) recently after getting outfitted with braces, he admits he was nervous how his friends would react and what they might say.  The last thing he wanted was for his friends to make a big deal about them; especially since he would be wearing them for the next 12 to 18 months.

“I felt a bit nervous the first day or two back at school but soon got over it,” the 12-year-old said about what his friends and classmates would think at his Australian primary school in Southwest Victoria. “Some people asked to look at them, but that was all. In fact people didn’t care,” he said via email.

In Australia the school year starts in February so when Andy got his braces in July the school year was half over. Andy chose traditional braces with colored bands, a good choice based on the comments from his schoolmates. “People think it’s cool that I have different colored bands and I am getting different colors when I go for my check up this month.

Other than friends’ reaction to his braces Andy’s other concern was handling the initial pain and discomfort braces entail. This too, he said, was a pleasant surprise.

“It hurt a bit when I first got them on.  I knew it would but it wasn’t any worse than I expected,” he said. “It didn’t take long to stop hurting and the orthodontist gave me some Brace Relief which really helped.” (Brace Relief is a numbing gel.)

Andy’s orthodontist recommended braces to correct an overbite. If you’ll recall from an earlier post, an overbite is when front teeth lie too far forward, or stick out, over the lower teeth. His orthodontist also noted the pre-teen had crowded teeth and a narrow palate.

Before attaching the braces his orthodontist extracted three of Andy’s teeth. After that they widened Andy’s palate by inserting a palatial expander. The palatial expander widened the arch of Andy’s upper jaw by fitting a plastic plate over the roof of his mouth. Screws on the device applied outward pressure to the plate, forcing the joints in Andy’s palate bones to open lengthwise, widening his palate.

While it sounds a bit like something the Vietcong might have done to POW’s, Andy soldiered through the process, noting, “After the first couple of days it didn’t really bother me.” In addition to the numbing gel noted above, he said that Panadol (a United Kingdom version of Tylenol) and Cepacaine mouthwash, a topical anesthetic/antibacterial solution for temporary relief, was all he needed to get through the first few days.

Cleaning his teeth is the biggest adjustment the pre-teen says he’s had to wearing braces. “I have to clean my teeth a lot better now because food can get stuck behind them,” he replied to our emailed question. “I get worried that my teeth might get cavities if I don’t clean them properly.”

A wise lad, our Andy.

Orthodontists routinely advise their patients to use a regular soft toothbrush and to brush down from the top and then up from the bottom on each tooth with braces. After that they deck the pearly halls by brushing with a “Christmas tree” brush, also known as a proxabrush. Not coincidentally, these brushes are shaped like a Christmas tree and are specially designed for cleaning between two braces.

As Andy has learned the past few weeks, most foods can still be eaten as long as he cuts them into small pieces. However, there are certain foods those wearing braces need to avoid: hard to bite or crunchy foods like whole apples and bagels; chewy foods like caramels and taffy; hard pretzels, popcorn, nuts and carrots, and one of our favorites here in the heartland, corn on the cob.

Unless anyone wearing braces enjoys extra trips to their orthodontist, chewing ice and bubble gum are also no-no’s and can be really expensive treats better avoided.

“Apples are a problem with braces,” Andy agrees. “You have to cut them up. Other than that it’s really not a hassle!”

While our young Australian pen-pal is no Dear Abby, he does offer some free advice (coincidentally that’s the royalty Andy is receiving for helping with this post) to those currently wearing braces or soon to be adorned.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s not a big deal and I think it’s worth it to get straight teeth at the end. It does hurt a bit but only for a short time so make sure you get the numbing gel because it really helps. Also make sure and put wax on any sharp bits straight away so you don’t get ulcers. I did and it’s been fine,” he says.

Other than showing girls his new smile there is one other perk Andy mentioned.  You can’t eat straight away so make sure you get a blender and make smoothies for the first week or so! I loved banana and strawberry!

Agent Straight-Talk wants to thank Andy and his mother Angela for taking time to answer our questions and discuss Andy's personal experience. We appreciate their generous contribution to this post.

Thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk, and remember to smile because sunshine is good for your teeth.  Email me at:

 Copyright 2012, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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