What are the 5 stages of braces?
If you or your child need braces, you’re probably wondering what the process will be like from start to finish. Getting braces can be a big commitment, but knowing what to expect at each stage can help you feel more prepared. At Lawn Dental Center in Chicago, IL, we break down the braces journey into five main stages.
Consultation and Records Appointment
The first step is to come in for a consultation and records appointment. This is your chance to discuss your goals with your orthodontist near you and learn about the different types of braces available. The orthodontist will take x-rays of your teeth, make molds of your teeth, and may take photos of your teeth and smile. These records allow the orthodontist to come up with a customized treatment plan that will give you the best results.
During this visit, be ready to ask any questions you may have about braces. Topics to discuss include:
- Types of braces (metal, ceramic, lingual)
- Treatment length and number of appointments
- Initial down payment and monthly payment options
- Foods to avoid with braces
- Proper oral hygiene with braces
Getting Your Braces Put On
At your braces placement appointment, the orthodontist will thoroughly clean your teeth and put etching solution on them to help the braces glue stick better. Brackets are bonded to each tooth, and then the orthodontist attaches the archwire that connects all the brackets and allows your teeth to start moving.
O-rings or elastic ligatures will be placed around each bracket to hold the archwire in place. These may be clear, silver, or colorful bands. The orthodontist may also place temporary anchorage devices if needed for certain movements.
Getting braces placed takes about 1-2 hours. Putting your braces on doesn’t hurt, but you may feel pressure, and your teeth may be tender for a few days. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen if needed.
Early Stage – Lots of Adjustments
During the first few months, you’ll need frequent orthodontic adjustments, about every 4-6 weeks. This allows the orthodontist to change the wires and elastics to move your teeth into position. Tightening the archwires at each visit is what creates the steady pressure that shifts your teeth.
These frequent early visits are needed because teeth move fastest right after getting braces on when there is the most room to move. There is tension in the teeth, and some soreness is normal for a couple of days after each tightening.
Middle Stage – Keep Making Progress
During the middle stage, adjustments are usually needed every 6-8 weeks. Less force is needed now since teeth have moved closer to where they should be. Appointments are focused on keeping teeth moving in the right direction.
This is when you’ll start to see changes in your smile take shape! Keep taking pictures to look back at your teeth’s amazing progress. The orthodontist may have you start or change elastics at this point too.
Final Stage – Finishing Touches
At the end stage, when teeth are nearly straightened, appointments stretch to 8-12 weeks apart. The orthodontist focuses on minor tweaks and adjustments to get the perfect finished position for braces removal. This fine-tuning takes precision and patience.
Some final steps include:
- Closing up any small spaces
- Ensuring proper bite alignment
- Rubber band wear for bite adjustment
- Reshaping tooth contours
Braces Removal and Retainer Phase
Once your teeth are straightened to the orthodontist’s standards, you’re ready for braces removal! This quick and painless appointment involves removing each bracket and cleaning off the glue from your teeth. Many patients notice teeth whitening near you after braces removal since years of built-up plaque are also removed.
But the work’s not done after braces come off. You’ll need to wear retainers full-time for the first six months, then nightly after that to maintain your beautiful new smile. Be diligent about retainer wear to avoid teeth shifting.
So those are the main stages to expect with braces treatment. Knowing the braces timeline helps you stay informed on what’s happening each step of the way. If you have any other braces questions, Visit the dentist’s office near you at Lawn Dental Center in Chicago, IL. Our team is always happy to explain and guide you through the process. Let’s get you started on your journey to an amazing new smile!