If you’re considering treatment with braces, you’re probably wondering exactly what the braces process entails. How do they get braces on your teeth? How do braces straighten your teeth? How do braces get tightened? How long is the braces process? It seems like a lot of information, but a good orthodontist will guide you through the braces process from start to finish.
At Wilson & Hendrickson Orthodontics, we understand how exciting getting braces can be, but we also know our patients are sometimes unsure about the process. Our team is here behind the scenes planning out every aspect of your treatment, so you can relax and prepare to show off your amazing new smile. But we also want you to know what to expect, whether you’re talking about an Invisalign or a braces process. So what is the braces process? Let’s take a look!
Getting Started: The Consultation
The first step in the braces process is consultation. Wilson & Hendrickson Orthodontics offers a free virtual consultation or an in-person consultation to patients in the Topeka, KS area. The consultation is essential because we find out what you need to create your new smile and what you want out of your braces treatment. Are you looking to ease pain in your jaw? Do you need to be able to chew your food better? Or are you just looking for a boost of self-confidence by having straight teeth? This process is as much about how you feel about your smile as it is about straightening your teeth.
We will give you a thorough examination and take digital images of your teeth and jaws during your initial consultation. This will allow us to understand what needs to be done and how simple or complex your treatment will be. Once that’s done, we can lay it all out for you and tell you what type of treatment is best for you, whether it’s with our metal braces, clear braces, or Invisalign clear aligners. We will also take you around our office and introduce you to our doctors and team members. We want you to feel comfortable with us from the moment you walk in the door!
Getting Your Braces On
Once you’re ready to start, we’ll set up the appointment to get your braces on your teeth. This process doesn’t hurt, but it does take time. We place each bracket on your tooth precisely using a bonding cement for braces. This bonding cement is specially made for dental use and is nontoxic. Each bracket will take a few minutes to set properly.
Once the braces brackets are set on the teeth, we string an archwire through them and tighten things up. From that moment, your braces wires and braces brackets are hard at work, straightening your teeth! Some braces will hold the archwire with colored elastic bands. Our system uses small “doors” to hold the archwire against the bracket. This allows the wire to move more smoothly and with less pressure, making the braces more comfortable than traditional braces.
If you choose Invisalign, the process is a bit different. Using detailed scans of your mouth, we create the Invisalign trays that custom fit your mouth. We’ll fit you with your first clear aligners and ensure they sit correctly on your teeth. We’ll then send you home with your first sets of Invisalign, which you’ll change out regularly (usually once a week) until you return for your next visit.
Now that your braces are on, you’re probably wondering what comes next. No worries! We’ll send you home with detailed instructions on how to wear your braces and how to care for them. You will need to watch what you eat, as some foods can damage your braces. However, there are plenty of foods you CAN eat, and even the no-no list is just temporary. (It’s also full of junk food, so you may find yourself eating healthier with braces!)
We’ll also show you how to brush and floss properly with braces. It can seem a little tricky at first, particularly with flossing. Tools like floss threaders can make cleaning your braces and teeth much more manageable. It won’t take long until you’re cleaning your braces and teeth like a pro!
You will need to visit us every few weeks to have your braces tightened. You’re probably wondering, “How do they tighten braces?” It’s usually a quick and easy process. We’ll pull the archwire a little tighter on both sides to continue moving your teeth. You might have a little discomfort for a day or two afterward. Just eat some soft food for a day or two. If needed, you can take a Tylenol or other over-the-counter pain reliever. The discomfort should ease pretty quickly.
Invisalign is slightly different. You won’t have to worry about what foods to eat because you’ll simply remove your clear aligners to eat, drink, brush, and floss. However, you will need to brush your teeth and rinse your aligners before putting them back into your mouth. You’ll need to clean your aligners with a special cleaner, and you’ll need to store them properly so they don’t get lost or damaged.
Getting Your Braces Off
Once your teeth are where they should be, it’s time for one of the most exciting days: Debonding day! It’s the day you get your braces off! Again, it will take time because we’ll remove the archwire, the brackets, and any bonding cement left on your tooth. The process isn’t as long as installation, though, so you’ll soon be ready to show off your beautiful, new smile! Get ready to take some pictures!
Finishing Up: Retention
Once the braces are off, you may think you’re done forever! Well…mostly. There is one more thing that needs to be done, fitting you for your retainers. Retainers are necessary to make sure your new smile stays the same. Your teeth, which are now used to moving, will continue to move without retainers. Depending on your choice of retainers, we will create a digital mold of your new smile and customize retainers to fit your teeth.
You will need to wear your retainers all the time for the first few months, taking them out only to eat, drink (everything but clear water), brush, and floss. Your jaw has to set, and the bone has to harden again to hold the teeth in place. After a few months, we will likely reduce your retainer time to a few hours a day, usually overnight. That leaves you plenty of time during the day to flash those straight, lovely, pearly whites!
Starting the Braces Process
It’s easy to get started with the braces process! If you’re in the Topeka, KS area, just contact us to set up your free, no-obligation consultation in person. You can also start with a virtual consultation. Either way you choose, we can guide you through the braces process on your way to the smile you’ve always wanted!