What Does the Orthodontic Journey Look Like?

Posted on May 23, 2024


If you or your child needs braces, you’re probably wondering what to expect from the process. Orthodontic treatment involves several phases, from initial examination to post-braces retention. Let’s walk through the orthodontic process step-by-step, so you know what to expect.

Initial Examination

The first orthodontic appointment is an examination. The orthodontist will take X-rays of your teeth and jaws, make impressions, check for proper biting and alignment, and measure facial proportions. This comprehensive exam gives them the information needed to diagnose orthodontic issues and develop a customized treatment plan. You’ll discuss options like traditional metal braces, clear aligners, or other orthodontic appliances.

Bracket and Wire Placement

At your next visit, the orthodontist bonds the brackets and wires onto your teeth. This may feel strange at first as you adjust to brackets in your mouth. It can take a week or two to get comfortable talking and eating. Minor soreness from the adjustment period is normal, too. The initial discomfort is worth it for the result of a beautiful smile. Two years is the average length of time a person will need to wear braces, according to KidsHealth. For adults, the process may take three.

Periodic Adjustments

Adjustments occur around every four to six weeks during treatment. The orthodontist changes out the wires to move the teeth into better alignment. You may get new rubber bands to wear, too. As your teeth shift, the orthodontist ensures the braces continue applying the right pressure. Tighter wires can cause temporary soreness for a few days after adjustments, but the periodic tweaks to wires and bands are essential for progress.

Retainer Wear

After the braces come off, the teeth are still settling into position. Retainers are required to hold alignment steady. Usually, you’ll wear a retainer full-time and then transition to nighttime-only wear. Retainers take adjustment time too, but they prevent your teeth from shifting back into their original placement. Be sure to follow your orthodontist’s retainer wear instructions carefully. Proper retention ensures you fully benefit from the braces treatment.

While every orthodontic journey is unique, knowing what to expect prepares you for the process. With patience through initial soreness, diligent care, and retainer compliance, your smile makeover will be a great success. If you’re in need of braces and you’re looking for an experienced orthodontist, look no further than our team at Lineberger Orthodontics. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with us!