Braces are used to adjust and align your teeth, to correct your bite, or for aesthetic purposes. Wearing braces can do wonders for your smile and self-esteem and renew your confidence.
But years of wearing these metal or plastic devices can take a toll on your teeth and gums. Is wearing braces harmful? Can wearing braces cause long-term damage to your teeth? In this article, we will answer these questions and share some vital information on how braces will affect you and what you can do about it.
Are There any Side Effects of Wearing Braces?
Braces can cause mild discomfort during the initial weeks of your treatment. The reaction to this appliance will result in an inflammatory response. Your teeth may feel tender for several weeks after your braces are first placed, and this period can be painful.
This is, however, temporary and has no long-term significance. Once your teeth get acquainted with the device, the discomfort will reduce.
Here is a list of other common side effects that you might encounter:
- Gum irritation: Braces can cause temporary side effects like tooth soreness and gum irritation. You may even experience some numbness or tingling. In some extreme and rare cases, there could be bleeding gums.
- Dry mouth: Wearing braces can trigger irritation or swelling in your gums. Your body’s natural reaction to this is to reduce the production of saliva in your mouth, leading to a dry mouth.
- Difficulty in speech: The speaking ability may be impacted for a few days. Due to their closeness to the tongue, lingual braces are more likely to affect your speech.
- Pain when eating: You may also experience difficulty chewing food until you adjust to the new sensation of having braces on your teeth.
- Ulcers, sores: Mouth sores accompanied by redness or tenderness, irritation, bruising or swelling, or soreness of the cheeks, lips, and tongue can occur.
- Teeth sensitivity: increased sensitivity to cold or hot food and drinks can occur.
- Allergic reaction: You may experience an allergic reaction to the rubber latex used in the braces if you are susceptible to it.
- Pain in the jaws, headaches, and toothaches
To reduce this pain, your orthodontist will recommend a certain diet involving eating soft food, sipping on cold water, and avoiding hard and chewy food during the early weeks of your treatment.
They may prescribe over-the-counter medication to ease the pain if it is unbearable.
Do Braces Have Long-Term Side Effects?
While most people experience no damage to their teeth following orthodontic treatment, some people can experience specific issues. Teeth that have been corrected with braces may still experience some minor issues down the road. Other more serious side effects include:
- Cavities: Wearing braces can also make it more challenging to keep your teeth clean, which may cause cavities.
- Discoloration of tooth: Demineralization of the teeth can occur during and after having braces. Your tooth’s enamel may lose its minerals thanks to dental plaque accumulated near the brackets. These appear as white stains and can compromise the aesthetics of your smile.
- Tooth Root Resorption: Root resorption happens the tissues around your tooth are broken down and absorbed. This will not cause any severe damage to your tooth. Your orthodontist will monitor your progress carefully and ensure that nothing goes unchecked.
- TMD: When your teeth shift, the uneven pressure can result in teeth grinding and soreness in your jaw.
What Are The Side Effects of Braces for Adults?
Braces may pose some side effects that are unique to adults.
Longer treatment period
A key difference between adult and child braces is the time it takes to align teeth. Adults have fully developed bone structures, so their teeth, jaws, and bones are less resilient to change. The tissues around their teeth also would be tougher to change.
Since the bones of an adult are more mature, they move at a slower rate. Their toughness and density make the process of teeth alignment a lot harder for adults than it is for children.
Adults may also feel increased pressure or soreness as they wear braces, thanks to their rigid teeth, compared to those of a young person or child.
The dental problems of adults differ significantly from those of children, including gum disease and missing teeth.
Adults with extreme tooth decay or other infections often need tooth extractions. The extraction site can lose bone if missing teeth aren’t replaced. Such conditions in adults will require additional orthodontic treatment.
For this reason, treating an adult with braces requires more collaboration from other dental specialists like dentists or periodontists. This will ensure no complications are occurring during the treatment plan.
Losing teeth or having gum disease can cause bone loss around the teeth or in the jaws, and bone loss is more common than you might think when bacteria in the plaque eat away the bone supporting the teeth resulting in bone loss.
This gum disease that ruins the tissue surrounding your teeth, leading to bone loss, is known as periodontitis. It is widespread but is preventable through expert periodontal care.
Psychological and Social Factors
Adults are more susceptible to being self-conscious about wearing braces. For some adults, wearing braces can negatively impact their social life.
Sometimes, the side effects of braces can be more significant than just physical discomfort. Psychologically speaking, braces can negatively impact social interactions. It can make you feel self-conscious.
Are Braces Damaging to Teeth?
Not really. If you take care of oral hygiene, follow through on your orthodontist’s advice and appointments and keep a close eye on your symptoms, there is no reason to fear braces.
It is important to remember that the benefits of braces outweigh the discomfort or minor side effects caused by wearing them.
Most of the side effects discussed above are preventable. To maintain good oral health, it is important to continue brushing and flossing correctly throughout your treatment and long after. If you have any doubts or concerns, consult your orthodontist. Discuss your potential risk factors and make an informed decision about what is best for you.
Side Effects of Wearing Braces – Uncovering the Hidden Side Effects of Wearing Braces
Dr. Bill Redmond is a native of Southern California, the son of an orthodontist and the husband of a general dentist. That makes family gatherings pretty interesting…if you like teeth!