What To Know Before You Get Braces

Getting braces can be both an exciting and stressful time. Knowing what to expect before you get your braces put on can take some of the mystery out of the process and help you relax so you can get through your orthodontic treatment with a new and improved smile.

Free Consultations

Most orthodontists offer free consultations for patients who are interested in exploring their options. Your orthodontist will do a thorough examination and take X-rays during your consultation appointment to determine what orthodontic treatment you need.

A consultation appointment can also give you a chance to see if you're comfortable with your orthodontist. Braces usually require a contract and switching to a different orthodontist in the middle of your treatment can be difficult and result in extra costs.

Invisalign Compatibility

Invisalign trays and other clear aligner trays are popular alternatives to metal braces, but not everyone is a good candidate for Invisalign. 

Invisible trays can't correct more severe orthodontic issues, such as jaw issues and significant oral misalignment. If you opt for Invisalign for anything more than minor orthodontic issues, you run the risk of needing to get metal braces to finish your treatment anyway.

Length of Treatment

One of the biggest things many people want to know before they get braces is how long the braces will need to stay on. There isn't a one-size-fits-all treatment length that works for everyone, but the average treatment time for braces is about two years.

How long your treatment will take depends on the severity of your orthodontic issues and whether your bite lines up properly or not.


Most people tolerate braces very well, but you should expect some mild pain and discomfort going in. The initial appointment to fit your braces can lead to aching teeth from the new pressure. Appointments to tighten your braces can also be uncomfortable for a few days afterward.

Some people get sores on their gums and lips from the brackets. Orthodontic wax can help protect your mouth's soft tissues from your braces.

Oral Hygiene

Establishing and maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is more important than ever when you have braces. Food can easily get caught in the brackets and wires of your braces, and plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay. 

Brush and floss at least twice a day, making sure to get around all of the wires and brackets of your braces. Flossing around braces can be difficult, so you may want to use a floss threader or a water flosser to make it easier to clean between your teeth with your braces on. 

Regular visits to your dentist and orthodontist are extremely important while you have braces on. Visit your dentist for a cleaning at least twice a year. You'll see your orthodontist more frequently — usually every four to eight weeks. Reach out to a local orthodontics clinic to learn more.