4 Tips for Patients Getting Braces as an Adult

Most people get their teeth straightened as teens, but if you missed out on this opportunity or your teeth moved back out of alignment after having braces in your youth, you can still opt to have your teeth realigned in adulthood. However, the experience is a little different from what teens deal with. You may find that a lot of the advice given to perspective braces wearers — tips for avoiding embarrassment at school and the like — don't feel like they apply to you. Here are a few tips that absolutely do apply when you get brace as an adult.

1. Schedule your checkups well in advance.

When you have braces, you need to revisit the orthodontist every four to six weeks to have them tightened. If you don't stick to this schedule and keep having to reschedule appointments, your braces will take longer to work their magic. Life gets busy when you're an adult with a job and other responsibilities, so schedule your checkups in advance. You can even schedule them all on day one when you first get your braces. With this much notice, your orthodontist will have more availability and will be better able to work around your schedule.

2. Own the braces look.

You might feel self-conscious about braces at first, but the best way to keep others from paying attention to them is to own them. Be proud that you are doing something to benefit your teeth, rather than ashamed that you have braces in your mouth. If someone asks you about them, answer excitedly, rather than trying to downplay your braces. Confidence is key; if you don't mind the braces, others won't either.

3. Pack a tooth-care kit.

When you have a meeting after lunch or an important seminar to attend right after work, you can't afford to have lettuce stuck in your braces. Keep a tooth care kit, filled with floss, interdental brushes, toothpaste, and a toothbrush, with you at all times. Make a habit of visiting the bathroom after every meal so incidents are dealt with promptly.

4. Get comfortable with smoothies.

There are a lot of things you can't or shouldn't eat with braces. Crunchy fruits and veggies are on this list, as are sticky foods. When you're in a rush, you might be used to grabbing an apple or a crunchy granola bar to eat on the way out the door — neither of which are ideal for braces wearers. To make sure you continue to meet your nutrient needs without sacrificing convenience, get used to drinking a lot of fruit smoothies. They're packed with fiber and vitamins, and you can sip them on the go without ruining your braces.