Orthodontic treatment is a process. The exact length of treatment varies from patient to patient, but can typically take anywhere from 1 to 3 years. Getting and maintaining braces can be a daunting experience. Knowing what to expect, however, can make the process easier. At Eastside Orthodontics, we can help you to understand the orthodontic treatment process to ensure that you achieve a healthier, more beautiful smile.
The Initial Consultation
During your initial consultation, your mouth is thoroughly examined. This enables us to determine the exact issues affecting your mouth and what treatment is required. We can provide you with information about your treatment options, what appliances are used, and what the cost will be. The entire process can take up to an hour. Our goal is to help you understand your treatments so that you feel confident going forward.
Braces are one of the most common orthodontic treatments used. This treatment uses brackets and wires to correct the alignment of your teeth. Placing your braces is done in a single appointment, and takes about an hour to complete. The surfaces of the teeth are conditioned, and dental cement is applied. This cement helps to bond the brackets securely to the teeth. The wire is then inserted into the brackets and secured using elastic O-rings. Initially, after placement, your braces may feel bulky, but you will soon grow used to them. Some discomfort is normal after braces placement. Eating soft foods and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help. This discomfort typically only lasts a few days.
During the course of your treatment, your braces are periodically adjusted. Each adjustment requires an office visit. Typically, visits are spaced out every 6 to 10 weeks. At these visits, your wire is removed and bent or replaced. This is done to ensure that your teeth continue to move to their optimal positions.
What to Expect Between Visits
Between your visits, it is very important that you continue to brush and floss your teeth regularly. In addition to brushing twice a day, it is recommended that you brush after each meal. It is also essential that you continue to have your routine dental cleanings and exams every six months. Good oral hygiene habits are essential for preventing cavities and gum disease. These issues not only affect your oral health, but they can also interfere with your orthodontic treatment.
As well as good oral hygiene, you will need to avoid eating certain foods during your time with braces. These foods include things such as whole apples, many types of raw vegetables, corn on the cob, sticky candies, and chewing gum. These foods can all dislodge brackets and bend or break the wires.
Once your orthodontic treatment is complete, your braces are removed. The process is not painful, but you may experience some discomfort. Once the brackets have been removed, the teeth are polished to remove any lingering cement. Finally, impressions are taken for your retainer.
Wearing your retainer after your orthodontic treatment is complete is essential for maintaining your beautiful new smile. At first, you may need to wear your retainer 24 hours a day. After a specified amount of time, it may then only be necessary to wear the retainer at night. This will prevent your teeth from shifting out of alignment again.