Retainer key

What are the stages of Orthodontic treatment?

If you’re about to begin orthodontic treatment, here are the stages you’ll need to go through to achieve your best possible results.

Orthodontic treatment can be broken down into 3 simple steps.

Step 1: Caring for your braces

Assisting younger people in caring for the braces and learning how to properly care for the braces can ensure you will not need to make too many additional appointments when a bracket come off or a wire dislodges.

These breakages can sometimes happen through no fault of your own, however it is best practice to be aware about how to avoid unnecessary breakages.  The orthodontic team will demonstrate the best way to brush and floss the teeth and how to brush and clean around the brackets.  

Other information your orthodontist and his team will provide is what to eat when you first have your braces placed, as the teeth may be a little sensitive initially while adjusting to the new appliances.

Examples of soft foods that are suitable during this time are mashed potato or banana, avocado, soups, yoghurt and smoothies.

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Avoid hard food during this time and ideally throughout treatment to reduce brace breakages. Foods such as nuts, lollies, hard muesli bars, very crunchy food and any food that would need to be bitten into hard to be consumed such as pork crackling.

Additionally, to safeguard the braces and mouth if your child plays contact sport, is to ask your orthodontist about custom made mouth guards while they are undergoing treatment.

Step 2: How to maintain your braces

It is likely you will need to see your family’s specialist orthodontist on a regular basis (e.g. every 6-10 weeks) so your child can have their braces adjusted.

This may involve changing or relaying the archwires, adding elastics, changing the chain and even repositioning the braces throughout treatment to help progress to the next stage of treatment.

Additionally, if an orthodontic appliance has been fitted they may also require a check or adjustment. Some orthodontic appliances may need to be adjusted every day, this is where parents may need to assist.

Generally this is a very simple process using a key like device and you will be given instructions on how this should be done. Regular appointments with your specialist orthodontist will always ensure the braces or appliances are continually moving the treatment forward to the desired end result.

It is likely you will need to see your family’s specialist orthodontist on a regular basis (e.g. every 6-10 weeks) so your child can have their braces adjusted.

Ensure an expert is supervising the full orthodontic process in teeth straightening by seeking treatment from a professional provider such as an orthodontist who specialises in jaw development, bite alignment and straightening teeth.

The orthodontist will ensure the monitoring of any changes or development during treatment, having the knowledge and professional aptitude to make adjustments to treatment direction safely.

Step 3: After braces are removed?

Removing braces or appliances is not the final stage of treatment and does not complete the orthodontic process.

The removal of braces is a non-invasive procedure that lasts about an hour.

A specialist orthodontist will supply two types of retainers at the end of active treatment (when teeth, bite and jaw have moved to the desired state). 

The first retainers consist of wires placed permanently at the back of the front teeth, these wires are custom made to fit the exact shape of your teeth and are designed to hold the front teeth in place after braces have been removed.

The second retainers are made from a clear plastic which are also custom made from moulds of the teeth.

These retainers are designed to cover the teeth like a plate and are worn while sleeping.  The night retainers are removable and should be worn for a similar duration as the braces were on.

The bite stabilises after a period of time, then the night retainer wearing can be gradually reduced.

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