Metal Braces

Popular & Effective Orthodontic Treatment In Longview & Vancouver, WA

Girl with curly brown hair smiling with braces

Metal braces have been around for ages, but the fact that they’re still the most popular orthodontic treatment is a testament to their effectiveness and affordability. The model hasn’t changed much: a series of brackets connected by a wire to gradually bring your teeth to the desired positioning. While they are the most noticeable type of braces, they are the most affordable, and modern brackets are smaller than their predecessors. At the office of Dr. Lauren Cai, we can help determine if metal braces are the best orthodontic treatment for you.

What To Expect When Getting Braces

When a person visits our Vancouver & Longview orthodontist for the first time, they will undergo an initial consultation. This will involve discussing dental history, reviewing X-rays, and an examination of your teeth. Dr. Cai will use this information to determine if braces are the correct treatment and give a timeline of how long it will take. Following the consultation, we will schedule a day for you to finally receive your braces, a process that will take about 1 to 2 hours.

During your first appointment, a cheek retractor will be placed to keep all the teeth visible and dry during the procedure. The sensation may be slightly uncomfortable at first, as it stretches your lips quite wide. Just make sure your lips aren’t dry and cracked, as you will have a much more comfortable time if they aren’t. Dr. Cai will then thoroughly clean, dry, and polish your teeth to make sure the bond sticks properly. An adhesive primer will be used along with cement to attach each brackets to your teeth. Once the bracket is placed, a high-intensity light will be used to harden the cement and lock the braces in. Getting the brackets attached is the most time-consuming portion of the procedure, as the orthodontist goes one-by-one, which makes the removal of the cheek retractor ever so relieving. You can say goodbye to the retractor and hello to the arch wire, which will just about become your arch-nemesis.

After Our Braces Procedure

The arch wire is secured to the brackets with elastic bands, and as soon as the bands lock in, prepare to get uncomfortable as your teeth begin their journey into alignment. You will immediately feel some tightness that gradually progresses into soreness, especially in the hours following your appointment and for about a week longer. To relieve the pain, over-the-counter (OTC) options are recommended.

Living With Your Longview & Vancouver Braces

There is indeed life after getting braces. Patients normally say they get completely used to their braces after about a month, eventually even noticing they aren’t there anymore. However, you can’t treat them like they don’t exist. Here are some important tips for maintaining your braces and keeping your teeth healthy with all the metal in the way:

  • Brush and floss regularly, and do it again: Braces require extra effort, especially when weaving the floss underneath the wire and cleaning around the brackets. The risk of tartar buildup, cavities, and even gum disease is even more pronounced with the braces making maintenance more difficult. A water pik and interdental brushes should be used to clean between teeth and around the brackets, along with fluoride mouth rinses.
  • Avoid chewy, hard, and crunchy foods: Soft candies like caramels and gum can get stuck in your braces and are incredibly difficult to remove, while munching on ice and even chips could break off brackets.
  • Minimize and quit bad habits: These include fingernail biting and chewing on foreign objects such as pens, pencils, and straws. These activities can also break or damage your braces.
  • Check your braces regularly: You should always keep an eye out for bent or loose wires and brackets, and call the orthodontist’s office as soon as possible to get them repaired.
  • Don’t miss your appointments: You will be seeing your orthodontist regularly for adjustments, usually around once a month. Missing appointments can significantly lower the effectiveness of treatment, leading to a longer, more expensive treatment.

Visit Our Vancouver & Longview Orthodontist Today

You don’t have to “brace yourself!” The staff at the office of Dr. Lauren Cai is always ready to talk with you and address any concerns you may have regarding orthodontic treatment, whether you choose braces or Invisalign. Please feel free to contact us at either of our offices in Longview or Vancouver, WA to schedule an appointment or ask us any questions.

Dr. Lauren Cai

  • Longview Office - 870 12th Ave., Longview, WA 98632 Phone: 360-425-8210 Fax: 360-577-1605
  • Vancouver Office - 15593 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, WA 98684 Phone: 360-882-5090 Fax: 360-882-5121

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