The process of getting braces can take anywhere from one to three years. Although this sounds like a long time, the results are life-changing. If you’re heading into your first orthodontist appointment, you may be a little worried. What can you expect? How long will braces take? How many appointments will you need?
Don’t worry! The process of getting braces is simple, and you’ll surely be smiling in no time.
The consultation is your first appointment with us. You’ll meet our orthodontists and learn about the treatment plans available. Most patients may find that traditional braces meet their needs, but Invisalign aligners are also available.
Our orthodontists will take a quick look at your teeth using x-rays and may even take some impressions. We’ll also take some photos of your face, mouth, and smile. This helps us better determine how long your treatment may take. Also, it is fun to look back at the photos after your braces come off!
During your next visit, the braces will be placed. This will be one of your longer visits. First, we clean the teeth to prevent any bacteria from being trapped by the brackets. Next, we’ll attach metal brackets to each tooth using bonding glue. Then, a wire is placed through the brackets. Finally, the wire is secured by rubber bands. You can get creative with your bands! Some patients like to express themselves through color, while others like simple, clear bands.
You may experience discomfort following the placement of your braces. This is common, and the slight pain can last a few days. Cold and soft foods like ice cream, yogurt, or smoothies may offer some relief. Over-the-counter pain medicine can also help alleviate the discomfort, while orthodontic wax will help prevent scratching or irritation.
Maintenance and Adjustments
By the time your next appointment rolls around, you’ll be used to your braces! You’ll visit our office about once every month for a checkup and to have your braces adjusted. Your teeth are realigning, even if you can’t see the results yet! We’ll adjust your wires and replace your bands. These appointments are only about 30 minutes and are the perfect opportunity to ask questions or address any concerns you may have.
During this time, it is also very important to practice proper dental hygiene. While you already should be brushing and flossing at least twice per day, you may have to brush a little more to ensure no food gets trapped in your braces. This can lead to bacteria and cause decay. Meanwhile, stay away from hard or crunchy foods that can break your braces.
After one to three years (depending on your age and the complexity of your case), you’ll have your braces removed. We’ll gently remove the brackets by breaking the bonding beneath them and then cleaning the adhesive from your teeth. This is everyone’s favorite part! You’ll have a mirror ready so you can take a good look at your new smile and compare it to the pictures from your first appointment.
The most important step of the process of getting braces comes after the braces are removed. You’ll be fit for a retainer, which you’ll be required to wear regularly. This ensures your teeth don’t shift in alignment and the beautiful smile you’ve worked so hard for stays in place.
If you’ve been considering braces, we encourage you to give us a call. Our orthodontists will be with you every step of the way, walking you through each part of the process. And no matter how many appointments you need to get your smile just the way you wanted, you’ll only pay one flat fee. To learn more, request an appointment today.