When you learn that you or your child will need an orthodontic plan, you will likely have many questions.
Having a step-by-step braces treatment plan for how the treatment will advance ensures that you won’t be caught off-guard by your own care.
In this guide, we break down the main structure of orthodontic treatment plans from the initial consultation to the aftercare. Note that while these steps represent a broad average of patient experiences, your treatment needs may vary. Speak with your provider to clarify how your plan may differ from the information below.
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At your initial consultation, your orthodontist will examine your mouth, ask you questions, and perform the necessary X-rays. In a modern orthodontic clinic, many providers offer 3D X-ray scans that are more advanced than the old-fashioned ones. They present a more complete picture of the patient’s oral health profile, allowing for more fine-tuned orthodontic treatments.
These scans show not only the surface-level appearance of your teeth and jaw but also the roots, gums, and ligaments. Additionally, your provider will know from these scans whether you need treatment from a dentist before proceeding with your orthodontic treatment plan.
At the second consultation, your orthodontist will review your scans with you and refer you to a dentist if needed. If you have cavities, gum disease, or other oral health issues, orthodontic appliances will need to wait while you receive treatment for these problems. Additionally, some patients may require tooth extraction before beginning treatment.
If you’re ready, your provider will tell you about your braces treatment plan options. Most likely, they will recommend braces, potentially in conjunction with another appliance. The nature and severity of your oral health issues will determine the treatments that will be available to you.
For many patients, multiple types of braces can treat their issues. These include metal, ceramic, lingual, and clear braces. While metal and ceramic braces work identically, the difference in material changes the durability and cost of the treatment. Clear braces or Invisalign often cost more, but they are more discreet.
Whatever you choose, your provider will help you understand the benefits of your plan, the payment options available, and what you need to do next.
For some patients, expanders or separators may be used before treatment starts. Expanders help younger patients widen their jaw, sometimes helping with overcrowding without the need for tooth extraction. Separators are rubber bands that wrap around the patient’s back teeth, which make room for the metal ring that attaches the braces there.
At your braces appointment, your orthodontist will attach your appliance. If you are receiving conventional metal or ceramic braces, the brackets will be glued to the front of the affected teeth and then connected by the wire. Once the orthodontist tightens this wire, you will feel the pressure that will gradually move your teeth to healthier new positions.
At the end of this first treatment appointment, your provider will show you how to use a threader to floss around the wire, as well as how best to brush your appliance to avoid getting cavities and plaque during treatment. They will help you understand the level of discomfort that is normal and tell you how to lessen it in the first week.
During your treatment, which takes 12-24 months on average, you will need to visit your provider every 1-2 months so they can check your progress and adjust your appliance. This usually entails tightening the wire to continue moving your teeth into the desired positions.
Many patients need to have their bite adjusted as part of their plan. Your provider will review this timeline with you if you have an underbite, overbite, crossbite, or another issue that warrants an additional treatment step. Springs, elastic bands, implants, or a dedicated appliance may be used to help correct your bite once your mouth has gotten used to the braces.
When your provider believes that the desired change has occurred, they will remove your braces. However, to maintain the changes, you will need to follow their aftercare plan, which includes wearing a retainer. The scans or molds required to make it will be made at your final appointment to ensure that you can maintain the changes in the weeks (and years) to come.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.