Orthodontic treatment is intended to correct the misalignment of teeth and jaw structure in order to improve your smile and overall oral health. Orthodontic treatment plans vary considerably from case to case, though there are several things that are more or less constant for all orthodontic care.
What to Expect
- The first appointment is when your orthodontist conducts a thorough examination of your mouth, and takes X-rays and a mold of your teeth, which will be used to create your personalized orthodontic appliances. These may be braces, aligners, retainers, or trays. In some cases, this information can be obtained during your initial consultation if you choose to start your treatment immediately.
- A second appointment when the appliances used in your treatment plan (braces or aligners) will be fitted in your mouth. For metal braces, the brackets will be attached to your teeth, and a wire passed through them. The wires or bands are used to pull the teeth to the desired position. If you’re using removable aligners, they will be fitted in your mouth and the necessary adjustments made.
- Follow up visits, usually at 4-8 week intervals depending on your needs. For braces, the appointments are necessary to adjust the tightness of the wires and receive new rubber bands. With removable aligners, you can pick 3-4 sets of trays between follow-up appointments. Each set of trays is worn for 2 weeks.
- Final appointment to remove the wires and brackets. You may need follow up treatments such as retainers to hold your teeth in their new position.
- Pain medication prescription to ease the discomfort caused by orthodontic appliances, such as sore teeth as your teeth begin to move from the forces being exerted to straighten them
- Your orthodontist will also give you instructions on how to clean and care for your teeth and orthodontic appliances, including the requirement to only consume soft foods. Your orthodontist will recommend special tools to help you clean underneath the wires if you’re wearing braces. If you’re using aligners, you should also clean them properly to prevent plaque buildup and subsequent damage to your teeth.
Living comfortably with Braces
Some comfortable soft foods to consume during treatment include oatmeal, pancakes, eggs, yogurt, mashed potatoes, cooked pasta, soup, and smoothies. Avoid soft drinks, snacks, and candies that have high sugar content, as well as hard crunchy items like peanuts, corn nuts, popcorn, and ice. You may also need to cut your meat and raw vegetables into tiny pieces.