When we see kids for the first time at Westwalk Orthodontic Group, they often cannot wait for colored braces. Our two offices in Norwalk and Westport have a tremendous selection of colors; for instance, we have five different shades of blue.
Children often plan their selections in advance and love to coordinate with the seasons and holidays. Don’t worry: We order extra orange and black in October and green and red in December!
So what are colored braces and how do you change the colors?
Simply put, braces are adhered to each tooth using a special dental adhesive. Then an orthodontic wire is placed to align the teeth. The orthodontic wire engages each brace with a small circular colored rubber band.
These colored rubber bands are chosen by the patient at each visit, to give the braces their color. The braces themselves are actually metal braces. However, the metal is barely seen, because the colored rubber band covers almost all the metal substructure.
At each subsequent visit to our Norwalk or Westport office, we remove the colored rubber bands, take out the orthodontic wire, place a new wire, and replace the colored rubber bands with the new colors the patient has selected. This allows the patient to change his or her color at every visit.
Do braces hurt?
This is one of the most common questions we hear as orthodontists, from both patients and parents. First, we should talk about the actual process of putting braces on the teeth. This is completely pain-free. No numbing agents and no shots are required. We don’t even keep needles in our offices.
Placing the braces is quite simple. We place a series of liquid conditioners on each tooth and then place each brace with a special dental adhesive. One complaint is that the liquid conditioners can taste sour, but we quickly rinse to reduce the taste.
The next question is about discomfort during the first few days with braces. Most patients experience a mild to moderate amount of discomfort that, if needed, can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or Tylenol.
Discomfort, on average, subsides two to three days later. Many patients choose to eat soft foods during the first few days, such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, smoothies, and pasta.
During the appointment when you or your child receives braces for the first time at Westwalk Orthodontic Group, we demonstrate in detail how to perform proper oral hygiene with braces. We discuss and show how to brush under the wire, how to floss, and how to apply orthodontic wax.
We then show a video that demonstrates and reinforces all these techniques. The video also discusses which foods to avoid with braces.
In addition, we recommend patients practice speaking by reading a book or magazine out loud. This quickens the adjustment phase and allows patients to feel more comfortable speaking with friends and at school.
Another important point is the excessive saliva that is typically seen during the first several days with braces. This is completely normal. At first, your mouth mistakes braces for food, so it triggers an increase in production and release of saliva. As the body adjusts, production reduces over the first week, and returns gradually to normal.
If you have questions about what to expect with colored braces, we are here for you. We look forward to answering every one!
How long will my child have colored braces?
Estimates of treatment length are made on an individual basis at Westwalk, and depend on the complexity of the patient’s orthodontic issues that need to be resolved.
Are colored braces for adults as well?
Adults typically choose clear and aesthetic orthodontic alternatives, such as clear braces or Invisalign®. They often prefer these less noticeable orthodontic techniques. However, colored braces are an option for adults if they like.