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Teens With Braces: Your Top 10 FAQs Answered

Woodhill Dental Specialties04/29/22

Getting braces or clear aligners is a big deal for everyone. You probably have a lot of questions. At Woodhill Dental Specialties, we’ve probably heard them all. We answered everything from food restrictions to whether braces can pick up radio signals from space (no, they can’t). While we can’t answer every question here in this blog, we can answer your questions when you visit us in our Dallas, TX, and Rockwall, TX offices.

For now, let’s look at some of the more common questions. We’ll even throw in a couple of wild ones we’ve heard over the years. You might be surprised by some of the answers!

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Braces?

Many parents want to know at what age can you get braces. The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that a child see an orthodontist by the age of 7, but children usually don’t start getting braces until about 8 or 9. That’s because it’s best to have most of the primary (permanent) teeth in before we start treating them with braces. 

Many children at that age will have a two-part treatment, with Phase I straightening the new permanent teeth now and Phase II completing the job once all or most of the permanent teeth are in, usually in their teenage years. However, treatment will vary from child to child. Not all of them need both phases, and some children don’t need treatment at all. 

Can You Chew Gum With Braces?

This is a very popular question because chewing gum is a popular habit: “Can I chew gum with braces?” Unfortunately, you should hold off on that habit until treatment is finished. Gum can stick to braces and brackets and be hard to clean off, which could lead to tooth decay. More importantly, gum can damage wires and pull off brackets. 

Some chewing gums are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) to be chewed even with braces. They’re usually sugarless gums such as Extra, Trident, Orbit, and Dentyne Ice. You should chew them one piece at a time. We still don’t recommend you chew gum, but stick to the sugarless options if you do.  

Teen Girl Smiling With Braces
Teen Girl At Orthodontic Appointment

Can Braces Get Stuck Together When You Kiss?

This is an old myth that’s been circulating for a while. It’s the belief that if you have braces and kiss someone with braces, your braces will lock together, and you’ll become stuck. So is it safe to kiss with braces? For that matter, can you kiss someone with clear aligners? 

The answer to both of these questions is YES. It is safe to kiss someone with braces, and it is safe to kiss with clear aligners. As for the question, “can someone get stuck together with braces?” No, most likely not. Is there a slim chance it could happen? Yes, but you probably have a better chance of winning the lottery and getting hit by a Greyhound bus at the same time. It is possible to cut someone’s mouth if you get too enthusiastic with braces, but normal or gentle kissing should be fine. 

Is It Bad to Swallow Braces Rubber Bands?

We certainly don’t recommend you swallow your rubber bands, but it’s been known to happen. What happens if you swallow rubber bands? Usually, nothing, unless you were allergic to them, and that would likely not be the case, as you would have discovered that long before you swallowed one. We can’t say how long it will take to digest rubber bands, but on average, it will be through your system in 3-4 hours. 

If you swallowed one of your braces rubber bands, don’t worry. You should be fine. Just don’t make a habit out of it. If you’re having trouble keeping your rubber bands in place or have a bad set of rubber bands that keep breaking, give us a call, and we will see what we can do to take care of the problem.

Can You Drink Soda With Braces?

We strongly recommend against drinking soda with braces. It’s best not to drink sodas at all, strictly for the health benefits, but we know it’s a hard habit to break. However, during your braces treatment, the sugars and high fructose corn syrup in most sodas will leave more plaque on your teeth. Plus, most sodas are acidic, and that acid can get around your brackets and under your wires and damage your enamel. The results could be white spots left on your teeth after your braces are removed. 

You shouldn’t drink sodas with braces, but if you do, make sure you brush and floss your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day to keep from damaging your enamel further. 

Teen Boy at Orthodontic Appointment

Can You Drink Coffee With Braces?

No, you really shouldn’t drink coffee with braces for similar reasons to the soda. The coffee can stain your teeth, giving them a yellow tint. Yellow never looks good on your teeth! In addition, if you add a bunch of flavored syrup, sugar, or cream to your coffee, all that extra sugar can build up plaque on your teeth, which could lead to tooth decay. Coffee also contains an acid that can eat away at your enamel. It’s best to limit your coffee intake during your treatment, so skip your favorite Starbucks for now.

Can You Get Through Airport Security With Braces?

This question is way more common than you think. Some people believe that all that metal in their mouths will set off the airport security scanners, and they’ll either be tackled by a TSA agent or miss their flight because they’re being interrogated in a small room with a light in their faces. 

Trust us; this isn’t going to happen. Your braces are made of a stainless steel material that won’t set off airport security scanners. You won’t have any trouble getting through airport security with braces. But if you are worried, just flash the TSA agent a big braces smile. If nothing else, you might make their day a little brighter.

Do I Need a Mouthguard for Braces?

We highly recommend using a mouthguard if you are playing sports with braces. A mouthguard with braces means less of a chance of your inner mouth getting cut up by brackets or wires if you get hit in the face. We also recommend avoiding sports where you might get hit in the face regularly, such as boxing or wrestling. 

If you receive a facial injury, with or without a mouthguard, give us a call if you feel you may have damaged your braces. We’ll bring you in for a check. You’ll definitely want to come in if you have a loose or broken wire or bracket.

Can I Use My Retainer as a Mouthguard?

No, no, you can’t. Your retainer is likely either a thin wire stretched across the front of your teeth or a clear tray that fits over your teeth. Neither can provide the proper safety that a true mouthguard can provide. What’s more, you’ll likely damage your retainer if you’re hit in the mouth during sports. That could mean an expensive replacement in your future. It’s a lot better and cheaper just to get a proper sports mouthguard for braces. 

Happy Teen Braces

How Long Will I Have to Wear My Braces?

This may be one of the biggest questions we get. Teenagers may be eager to get that gorgeous new smile, but they want it ASAP. As the old saying goes, “patience is a virtue” — especially when it comes to braces. On average, braces are worn for 12-24 months. When you come for your first appointment and braces consultation with us, we’ll draw out a treatment plan customized for you. We’ll be able to give you a better idea of how long your particular treatment will take. 

We Have the Answers

The doctors and team at Woodhill Dental Specialties are always here to answer your questions. If you’re in the Dallas, TX, or Rockwall, TX, areas, schedule an appointment to get started on your braces treatment with us. We’ll be with you throughout your braces journey to answer your questions, no matter how common or uncommon they may be! 

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