If braces, brackets, headgear, and Hawley appliances sound like a foreign language to you, then it’s easy to feel overwhelmed about walking into the orthodontist’s office. The truth is, according to a leading Louisville and Mt. Washington orthodontist, there are only about 6 basic steps in the journey toward a straighter smile.
1. The initial exam
The first step includes documentation of your medical and dental histories, an evaluation and explanation of your recommended orthodontic treatment, and a discussion about your payment and financial arrangements.
2. Prepare for braces
In the second step, the orthodontist uses 3-D imaging and photos to be included in your diagnostic records. Spacers may also be placed between the teeth in this step to make room for future orthodontic bands.
3. Putting the braces on
The third step is pretty exciting! This is when the orthodontist actually places your metal or clear braces on your teeth. The bands, brackets, and wires are all fitted to the teeth. Patients who have opted for clear aligners will receive their first set of aligners.
The fourth step is also called the active phase of orthodontic treatment. The orthodontist is actively moving the teeth into their ideal positions, and you will have a series of ‘checkup’ appointments so that your progress can be monitored. These appointments typically take place every 6-8 weeks, with adjustments and elastics as needed.
5. Taking the braces off
In the fifth step, once the orthodontist has achieved the perfect bite relationship, the braces can be taken off. The length of time between step 3 and step 5 can vary, depending on the severity of your particular case, but can average between 12 months and 24 months. It is also common to have a retainer placed on the teeth on the same day.
6. The retention phase
The orthodontist will advise you on how and when to wear your retainer, and you’ll need a few periodic appointments for checkups in this sixth and final phase of your orthodontic journey.
Talk to a Mt. Washington or Louisville orthodontist today for more details about the orthodontic process.