Every smile is unique, and every patient's needs are different, but the process of getting braces is much the same for everyone. Here's a brief guide to what you can expect when getting braces.
1. Getting a Referral to an Orthodontist
The first step is getting referred to an orthodontist. Typically it's your family dentist who will give you the referral, since your dentist knows your teeth better than anyone. That said, it's important to note that you can book an appointment with an orthodontist on your own. Just call the orthodontist of your choice and request an appointment.
2. Attend an Initial Consultation
Your initial visit to the orthodontist will be a consultation. During the consultation your orthodontist will examine your teeth and take a few x-rays to assess whether braces could be beneficial for you. It's possible that your orthodontist will decide to take impressions of your teeth in order to begin planning your treatment.
3. Treatment Planning
The orthodontist will begin creating a treatment plan after your consultation is complete. Your treatment plan will be specific to your needs. Everyone's mouth is unique, which means that everyone's treatment plan must be tailored to their specific needs. The impressions that were taken of your teeth will now be used to create your braces.
4. Placing the Braces
You next appointment will begin with cleaning and conditioning your teeth. Once your teeth have been cleaned they will be primed for the cement. At that point the brackets can be cemented to the teeth. The positions of the brackets will be predetermined by your orthodontist. After the brackets have been positioned, the wire can be slotted into the brackets and the doors can be closed to hold the wire in place.
5. Discussion of Oral Care
At this point your orthodontist will provide you with some basic information about caring for your braces, how to clean your teeth, and what kind of toothpaste you should use. Your orthodontist might even provide you with a few interdental brushes. These handy little brushes can be used to remove food particles and bacteria from around the brackets and in between the wire and your teeth.
6. Adjustments & Checkups
Typically, 3-4 weeks after having your braces fitted you will visit the orthodontist for your first adjustment. During you adjustment appointment, your orthodontist will insert a new wire into the brackets. The new wire will be a little bit stronger than the first wire, or have a different configuration. It is by frequently changing the wire that your orthodontist can gradually coax your teeth to their correct positions. At each adjustment appointment, your orthodontist will insert a slightly different wire to pull or push the teeth in a specific way.
Throughout your orthodontic treatment it's very important to continue seeing your regular dentist for cleanings and checkups. Your braces can make it difficult for you to reach all parts of your teeth to clean properly. Dental professionals are trained in how best to clean around brackets and wires. Your regular dentist can help you to prevent cavities and gum disease and protect your oral health.