Orthodontic treatment is necessary for helping repair a misaligned bite, but it can also be nerve-wracking, just like any visit to the dentist. In addition, there’s the prospect of wearing steel bands on your teeth for a year or two, which no one really looks forward to.
Having some knowledge about what’s going to happen can help you prepare yourself and calm your fears about getting braces. Whether it’s you or your child who needs orthodontic treatment, here is a brief rundown of the process you’ll go through.
Choosing an Orthodontist
First, you need a dentist you can trust. The right orthodontist will have experience in the field and strong technical skills. In addition, he will be able to build rapport with his patients and help them feel comfortable at his practice. Access to multiple treatment options is also helpful since that will enable him to tailor a treatment to your specific needs.
Prior to doing anything related to orthodontics, you’ll need a basic exam first. This will determine whether any work needs to be done prior to performing orthodontic treatment. This is important since certain issues like tooth decay can be exacerbated by braces. If any work such as fillings, root canals, or tooth extraction needs to be done, that should be handled first to prevent further damage to the teeth.
The way braces will be configured will depend on what exactly is going on with your bite, i.e. the way in which teeth come together when your mouth is closed. This ultimately comes down to the reasons why you or your child would need braces, such as:
- Crowded teeth
- Teeth spaced too far apart
- Impacted teeth
The type of issue (or combination of issues) will be measured with a bite mold. Usually, this involves biting down on putty or some other malleable substance to get an impression of your bite. This impression is then used to craft a model of your mouth which will help design your unique set of braces.
Choosing an Appliance
The type of braces you’ll be able to use will depend on your unique orthodontic needs. Some of these, such as Invisalign, will eliminate the need for steel wires strapped across your teeth. Others might be custom designed with computer technology, like Insignia braces. Cutting-edge orthodontic treatments also work faster than traditional braces given the ability to fit them specifically for your mouth.
Once the type of braces has been chosen and fitted, you can expect to wear them for at least a year, probably two. Periodic adjustments will also be necessary to gradually shift your teeth into the optimum position. Once the treatment is complete, retainers are generally necessary to preserve your smile afterward. The time you will need to wear those generally depends on your unique mouth.
A skilled orthodontist will be able to help ease you into wearing braces and answer any additional questions you have. He will also be able to handle any issues that may arise during treatment and make wise recommendations on what types of treatment are right for you.