How does the orthodontic process work?

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There are many reasons a patient may require orthodontics … an overbite, underbite, or crossbite may have occurred due to overcrowding. The patient may have sucked their thumb pushing teeth forward; or there may be unwanted gaps between teeth. Whatever the reason, crooked or misshapen teeth can result in diminished oral health. Wearing braces can straighten teeth resulting in healthier teeth and gums with the added bonus of a beautiful smile.

The patient will have a consultation to discuss their options. If teeth are crooked due to overcrowding, the extraction of one or more permanent teeth may be required before orthodontics can commence. Very often overcrowding occurs due to insufficient jaw space to accommodate the teeth. Teeth are pushed together resulting in one or more teeth turning; or teeth may not be able to erupt becoming impacted. If this has occurred, oral surgery may be needed before braces are applied.

Once the patient is ready for treatment to begin, x-rays or some type of imaging is completed; dental impressions may be taken; having a photograph of the patient before treatment is often requested.

If traditional braces are the method to be used, the brackets (braces) will be cemented into place. Wires are threaded through the brackets … it is the manipulation of these wires that will allow shift to be shifted to a correct occlusion over time. The patient will visit their orthodontist regularly throughout treatment to have wires adjusted.

Visits with the orthodontist do not take the place of regular dental visits to have teeth cleaned.

Daily brushing and flossing are critically important when wearing braces as brackets provide areas for plaque to form and build that can lead to dental decay.

Depending on the severity of the malocclusion, treatment can take as little as six months for up to several years for completion. Although wearing braces comprises a majority of the treatment time, the patient will be required to wear a retainer for a designated time following teeth straightening. This allows teeth and the bone that holds them in place to develop a memory of their new location.

Failure to wear the retainer as prescribed can mean teeth may shift back to their earlier placement wasting years of treatment.

There are several methods of teeth straightening; a consultation with our orthodontist will outline what is available to correct your malocclusion.