When dental braces are placed, a cheek retractor is used to keep the teeth visible and dry during the procedure. The teeth are first polished to ensure that the brackets will bond properly, after which they are air-dried. A conditioner is used on the front surfaces of the teeth for 30 seconds to further prepare them for bonding the brackets. This is cleaned off, the teeth are dried, and an adhesive primer is placed on the teeth to enhance the bonding process.
Cement is placed on the back of the brackets, which are then applied to the predetermined positions on the teeth. Once the brackets are in place, excess cement is removed, and the brackets are hardened into place with a high-intensity light. The retractor is removed, and the dental arch wires are then put into place. The entire process of bonding the brackets and placing the arch wires can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. The length of time is often determined by the time it takes to position the components correctly in order to treat the person’s specific condition.
When braces are first placed and then later adjusted, you can expect to feel some tightness, which typically progresses to soreness, for approximately four to six hours after your appointment. This soreness is a direct result of arch wires tightening the teeth into position. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers are recommended to help relieve this pain. You can expect the soreness to decrease in about three to five days.