STAGES OF FIXED BRACES
It is an important decision to go through orthodontic treatment. One main reason is the relatively long duration of this treatment. Comprehensive orthodontic treatment duration changes significantly depending on the malocclusion. We may say that it takes between 6 months to 30 months in general. Of course there are special cases where it may take even longer.
Mainly there are 3 stages for a full orthodontic treatment
Stage 1 – Planning
Your orthodontist makes an evaluation of your dental health supported with the information you provide about your general health.
X-rays are crucial during primary evaluation to assess unseen cavities as well as surrounding bone structures.
Orthodontic models and orthodontic photographs are also taken for this purpose.
Types of braces, necessary extractions and additional devices that will be used is decided at this stage. The need for retention (Stage 3) is also discussed with you at this stage.
Stage 2 – Active Treatment
Depending on your choice of braces, brackets are temporarily glued to your teeth (Bonding). A type of composite resin, which is used for dental fillings, is used. An initial cleaning may be performed too. Normally orthodontic treatment starts with flexible low diameter wires and progresses towards stainless steel rectangular wires.
After bonding of the brackets, for the first week, you may experience some pain. This is completely normal. Pain is more noticeable when you bite on something. Therefore you may take pain killer 20 mins before eating if you are having difficulty.
After first week, everything will be back to normal. If you are having lingual braces you may have difficulty with pronunciation. Depending on the type of lingual braces, the time that you need to get used to braces changes greatly.
At this stage your teeth are moved to their ideal if not, optimal position as planned in the first stage.
Once your orthodontist and you are happy with the final position of your teeth, next step is debonding. Detaching the brackets from the teeth surface is fairly a simple procedure. Aesthetic brackets may be a little more difficult to detach from teeth. Afterwards, remaining composite resin material is removed from teeth surfaces.
Stage 3 – Retention
Unfortunately after debonding, if we leave the teeth free, they start to move back to their original position. First 2 years are very critical. However, even after that period, orthodontics literature shows us that there is a chance that your teeth may move to a certain extent. In some malocclusions there is a less chance and in some others it is almost inevitable. Therefore a form of stabilization is necessary. This is called retention. It may be temporary or permanent.
For permanent retention generally a lingual retainer is bonded behind the teeth. A fine retention wire is used for this purpose. This wire does not interfere with your speech. It is not visible to others and it is very easy to get used to.For removable retention, Hawley or ESSIX retainer are main options.
Duration of retention period is discussed with you in the planning stage of your orthodontic treatment.