Your First Visit
At your complimentary consultation, we will collect information from your medical and dental history. Dr. Morgan will perform a thorough exam and describe your treatment options. Then our Treatment Coordinator will discuss the fees, length of treatment, and payment options. Questions are always welcome, as you are the most important part of our team!
For diagnostic purposes, our staff will take a panoramic X-ray, lateral cephalometric X-ray, and digital photographs as well as create a digital model of your teeth. All will help your orthodontist to finalize your personalized treatment plan.
Length of Treatment
Orthodontic treatment typically takes 1 to 2 years. However, early treatment (usually between the ages of 7 and 10) may only take a few months. The actual treatment time ultimately depends on the severity of the problem, growth of the mouth and face, and patient cooperation. Caring for the appliances as instructed is key to finishing on time. Just as different people grow at different rates, some patients may respond to orthodontic treatment faster or slower than others.
Frequency of Appointments
At the start of treatment, a longer appointment will be scheduled in the morning to allow for more time and attention to put on your braces. The following wire adjustment appointments take place every 4-6 weeks, last about 30 minutes, and can usually be scheduled any time during the day. But check with our schedulers—our Mobile Clinic may be coming to your school!
Eating with Braces
After getting your braces, you will probably need to eat soft foods for the first few days until your mouth gets used to your appliances. You will also need to avoid the following foods to prevent breakage of the braces, which can lengthen treatment time:
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, hard nuts, hard candy, hard bread
- Sticky foods: gum, taffy, and other sticky candy
- Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, raw carrots
- Chewing on hard things: pens, pencils, or fingernails
After treatment begins, your teeth and gums may be sore for a few days as you become accustomed to the braces. Over-the-counter pain medication (Advil, Motrin, etc) can help with discomfort during this time. For lip and cheek irritation, we will provide you with soft wax to temporarily cover the brackets to make them smooth.
Loosening of Teeth
Teeth sometimes feel loose during movement, and this is necessary for the straightening process. For patients with healthy teeth, bone, and gums this is only temporary. The teeth will stabilize after their position has been corrected.
Care of Appliances
Treatment time depends on the appliances working properly. Therefore, it is important to wear any elastics as instructed and be careful not to damage the braces. Poor patient compliance and excessive breakage of braces will lengthen treatment time unnecessarily.
Great oral hygiene is extremely important, and we will show you how to brush with your braces. You should brush after every meal and keep regular dental hygiene appointments. Adults with periodontal disease may need more frequent cleanings. Your toothbrush and floss are tools to prevent gum disease, cavities, staining, and bad breath. We also recommend a Waterpik for patients who have difficulty keeping their braces and teeth clean.
A mouthguard can provide protection for your teeth and jaws and should be worn during active sports. If an injury occurs, check immediately for any damage to teeth and braces, and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Loose Wire or Band
To alleviate irritation, cover the wire with soft wax or use a blunt instrument (pencil eraser) to push the wire away from your cheek or lips. If you can’t manage, schedule an appointment and bring the broken piece with you.
In cases of severe pain, a loose band, a broken wire, or an irritation that you cannot resolve, call for an appointment as soon as possible.
After you finish your braces treatment, you will need to wear retainers to stabilize the position of your teeth and preserve your beautiful new smile. If retainers are not worn properly, your teeth can shift and become crooked again. Replacing retainers is expensive, but if you’re careful, they’ll last for years.
- Speaking is hard at first, but you’ll get used to it in no time.
- Remove retainers when eating, playing sports or swimming. (Keep them in the retainer case, don’t put them in napkins!)
- Clean with toothbrush/toothpaste or denture cleaner.
- Retainers are breakable, so be careful! Call ASAP if lost or broken to prevent teeth from shifting.
- Don’t let pets chew them!
- If loose, let us adjust it, don’t attempt to do it yourself.
- Bring retainers for all follow-up visits.