Orthodontic Treatment in 6 Basic Steps

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 Mt. Washington orthodontist, there are only about 6 basic steps in the journey towards a straighter smile.

The Initial Exam

The first step includes documentation of your medical and dental histories, and evaluation and explanation of your recommended treatment, and a discussion about your payment and financial arrangements.

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.

Putting the Braces On

The third step is pretty exciting! This is when the orthodontist actually places the braces on your teeth. The bands, brackets, and wires are all fitted to the teeth. Patients who have opted for Invisalign will receive the 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.

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.

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 orthodontist today for more details about the orthodontic process.