You get curious to know a lot of things regarding braces before getting them. People want to know, “What is the process of getting braces?”
Here are the steps of getting braces:
- Performing dental cleaning
- Getting a referral and set the first appointment
- The first consultation with the orthodontist
- Making an impression and mold
- Taking an x-ray
- Taking a picture
- Measurements and planning the treatment
- Using of spacers
- Extraction of teeth
- Final evaluation before attaching braces
- Cleaning and conditioning teeth
- Drying the mouth
- Placing the braces brackets by applying the bonding glue
- Inserting the archwires
- Placing the ligatures or O-shaped elastic
Let’s know it in detail and step by step.
Steps before getting braces on
Here is the processes performed before getting braces:
Performing dental cleaning
First of all visit a dentist for a professional dental cleaning. You should get braces on clean and plaque-free teeth.
If plaque gets buried under your braces, it’s bad for your teeth. Though your orthodontist cleans the surface before attaching braces, you should take the cleaning treatment.
This also helps find out if there are other problems with your teeth and gums. You must take the treatment and solve those problems before braces.
Getting a referral and set the first appointment
You visit your dentist more than an orthodontist. You can take suggestions with who you should consult for orthodontic treatment.
Because of regular communication with him, a good relationship is built between you two. So, you can trust his or her words.
However, you have the freedom to compare the treatment plan and cost of various orthodontists and take the final decision.
After you decide, set an appointment over the phone. Most of the consultation is free, so you have the freedom to consult with different orthodontists.
But, don’t overdo it, because you’ll get confused.
The first consultation with the orthodontist
When you visit your preferred orthodontist for the time, take all your previous dental records such as x-ray.
It’s also a great idea to prepare yourself to ask all the questions regarding your treatment. The first appointment is a consultation.
Your orthodontist will take a look at your teeth and evaluate your misaligned or crowded teeth.
Then, he or she will tell you whether or not you are a candidate for braces treatment.
In minor cases, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary. In those cases, it would not be a good idea to get braces.
However, if you need braces to straighten your teeth, you will get answers to all of your questions regarding the treatment during this meeting.
He or she may suggest you go for other alternatives like Invisalign. If you decide to get braces treatment, you can negotiate with the orthodontist to start the treatment.
During this visit, you’ll be asked so many questions. So, get yourself ready to face them.
He or she may make an impression and mold of your teeth on the same day or put spacers.
Making an impression and mold
It’s the first step before starting the orthodontic treatment. The orthodontist will design your treatment and do all measurements using the mold and x-ray.
He or she will make an impression of your teeth to make a mold. This can be done at your first visit or your 2nd visit.
A tray containing an impression material is inserted into your mouth. This makes an imprint of your teeth, gums, and palate.
The orthodontist makes a mold using plaster material from that impression. He or she can take a digital scan of your mouth instead of manual impression taking.
The mold also helps your orthodontist see the progress during and after the treatment.
Taking an x-ray
As x-ray is an important tool for the orthodontic treatment, the orthodontist may take the x-ray during the first consultation, or the next appointment.
It’s different from other x-rays that you have to take for other dental diseases or conditions.
Taking a picture
Your orthodontist will take some pictures of your teeth, lips, and jaw from different angles. This helps to see the progress of your treatment and make a record.
You can also collect the before and after braces photo to see how much change you get after the treatment.
Measurements and planning the treatment
Your orthodontist will evaluate your case and perform various measurements with the help of a model or your teeth and x-ray.
Finally, he will design treatment to fulfill your needs. Treatment plans vary from individual to individual.
It’s obvious that the treatment plan will be different between a person with gaps in teeth and a person with crowded teeth.
Similarly, the correction of an overbite is different from an underbite. However, it may look the same to you.
The orthodontist will plan which components of braces you need to move teeth at which time. You can know from him how much time it may take to complete the braces treatment.
He can create a mockup of the braces using the mold that he took.
Using of spacers
If your orthodontist sees, there are no gaps between your back or molar teeth, instead, they are tightly contacted, you need to wear spacers to create space.
Spacer or separator is a small elastic band placed between the two teeth. It puts pressure and moves the tooth to create a gap.
This space is required to place the molar bands on back teeth. You have to wear it for a week before getting braces. You feel sore while you carry those bands on your teeth.
Extraction of teeth
Braces treatment may need a tooth extraction. Sometimes, people need to get 2, 4, or more teeth extracted for braces.
If you need it, your orthodontist will refer you to an oral surgeon for the extraction procedure.
However, it may delay the date of getting braces. Extracted tooth sockets should be healed before the braces.
It may take a few weeks to a month. After that, you may get the braces. It depends on the case and the number of teeth extracted. Your orthodontist knows the exact time schedule.
Know when you need to get teeth extracted for braces.
How many visits before you get braces
You may have to visit one or more times in the orthodontist office before getting braces on your teeth.
It depends on the treatment planning and the severity of cases.
If you need spacers or tooth extraction before braces, it may take more appointments.
Know in detail how many appointments you may need depending on cases.
How long does it take to get approved for braces
You get the approval for braces from the orthodontist at your first appointment. If you aren’t a good candidate for braces, you will also know it on that day.
However, you may get approval later when you have to get a tooth extracted for braces. He will wait until the tissue of the tooth extracted area gets healed.
So, you may need to wait a few weeks to get braces.
Can you get molds and braces on the same day
Usually, you don’t get the braces and the molds on the same day, as the orthodontist has to perform various analyses on the mold and design the treatment plan.
However, you can get braces on the same day, but you have to wait for a long time. You should not be in a hurry about orthodontic treatment.
Give the orthodontist time to make a perfect treatment plan for you. Keep patience to get the best treatment outcome.
The braces installation process (Traditional metal or ceramic braces): Steps by step
Here is the step by step process of getting braces:
Final evaluation before attaching braces
On the day of your getting braces, your orthodontist will check the condition of your teeth, gums, tongue, and jaw for one last time and see if there is any problem to get braces.
He will ask a few more questions to confirm whether you feel any problem in your mouth and teeth. If everything is ok, he will start the procedure.
Cleaning and conditioning teeth
Before applying braces, your orthodontist or his assistant will clean. It’s important to remove all food debris completely.
As you have taken the professional dental cleaning earlier, it won’t take much time to clean.
After that, he will use a special chemical which is called enchant or etching agent to prepare the tooth surface to hold the braces and glues.
Drying the mouth
After the cleaning, he will also dry your teeth and mouth. During applying the glue and placing the brackets, he will try to keep your teeth dry as much as possible.
Otherwise, glues become weak and brackets get loose easily.
Before getting the braces attached, it may take 10 to 30 minutes.
Placing the braces brackets by applying the bonding glue
The first material you get is the small braces brackets in the center of your mouth. These brackets hold the wire in your mouth and the pressure is applied to teeth by the wires through the brackets.
The orthodontist uses a special type of glue or resin to attach the brackets with your teeth. He applies the bonding glue in the center of every tooth.
After that, he applies a blue light over the adhesive glue. This glue can only be fixed with teeth and braces when it gets the light.
Though the taste of the glue is bad, it doesn’t harm you. The brackets can be made of metal or ceramic. You can choose which types of braces you want.
Ceramic braces are invisible or transparent in appearance. On the other hand, traditional metal braces look metallic, but you can make them colorful later.
Placing the molar bands
The molar band is another very important component of braces. It helps provide anchor or support to braces.
Your orthodontist places the metal bands in the molar teeth. The molar band is a ring that encircles the molar tooth.
The orthodontist selects the right size of the band for your tooth. Then he attaches it to your teeth with the same bonding glue.
While placing, he slides the band onto the tooth. Just like a bracket, he applies the blue light to set the glue and fix the band to your tooth.
You may feel pressure or pinch on your tooth because of the molar band. Tell him about your problem and he will adjust it accordingly and after that, he will feel comfortable.
Inserting the archwires
After getting the braces brackets, your orthodontist inserts the archwire. The archwire is a special type of wire.
Your orthodontist prepares the wire with a plier and gives it a semicircle shape that looks just like the curve of your jaw.
He cut the wire to the right length. The archwire runs through the slot of all brackets. After that, he cut the excess part of the wires behind the back teeth.
The archwire may poke back the mouth if it’s popped out or excess wire remains there. Let your orthodontist know if you have any problem.
Placing the colorful ligatures or O-shaped elastic
To place the wires in their place, your orthodontist places O-shaped elastic bands in all brackets, called ligature bands.
These bands encircle the brackets. This makes the kids excited as the elastics are available in different colors. To choose the color you can get help from braces color wheel.
Different people can try different colors that make them look great.
If you wear self-ligating braces, you don’t get the elastic, instead, the bracket contains a door that’s closed to hold the archwire in place.
How long is the process to get braces
On average, the getting braces appointment may take about 1-2 hours to complete. However, it may vary depending upon the case and procedure that’s performed.
Does getting braces hurt? How long?
You don’t feel any pain when braces are attached to teeth. But, you will experience pain and pressure in your teeth after coming back home. Soreness may last for the first few days.
Learn how to relieve pain from braces at home and when braces hurt more.
How long will it take to get used to my braces?
You may need about a month to get used to the braces. After six months, you may not even notice that you wear braces.
Braces may hurt you for a few days and you feel uncomfortable with the braces. But, soon pain reduces over time and you feel comfortable gradually.
Lingual braces are almost similar to the metal or ceramic braces instead it’s placed on the back or lingual surface of your teeth.
Components of braces are also the same. As placing braces on the back of the teeth is a little bit difficult, it may take more time to complete.
Caring for braces
Here are the tips for caring braces:
Tips for the first few days
After coming back home from your getting braces appointment, you start experiencing pressure in your teeth and gradually you feel pain.
Your orthodontist advises you what to do in the first 24 hours and beyond.
If you can’t tolerate the pain, you can try different pain-relieving methods like applying an ice pack, or putting wax on braces that rub and hurt your cheek.
You can also apply warm cloth over your mouth in the affected area or rinse with salt water to get rid of the pain.
Learn about all the ways to relieve pain from braces.
You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers or apply over-the-counter oral numbing gel where you get hurt.
After the first two days, pain starts to reduce. Take liquid or softer foods for the first day so that your teeth don’t feel pressure while eating.
Try to clean your teeth carefully to prevent it from hurting.
Changing food habits
Avoid acidic and sugary foods and drinks, because they are responsible for tooth staining and decay.
Stay away from foods like apples and burgers that need to open mouth wide to take a bite. Ignore sticky foods with braces.
If these foods get stuck with braces and in between teeth, you can’t clean them easily. Learn what foods you should avoid with braces.
Professional dental cleaning
While wearing braces, brush or floss can’t reach all surfaces of your teeth and braces.
So, more plaque and food debris are deposited in your teeth and braces than usual.
To remove those, you need a professional dental cleaning. Visit your dentist’s office every 6 months for that.
Maintaining oral hygiene
As maintaining oral hygiene is difficult with braces on teeth, you need to be more aware of cleaning teeth.
Use soft bristle toothbrushes and flossers that are safe to use with braces. Brush your teeth at least twice a day thoroughly and every day.
Floss your teeth regularly to remove food particles from almost every surface of braces and teeth.
Rinse your mouth every time after you eat something.
Process after getting braces
Here are procedures and appointment that need after getting braces:
Wire adjustment and tightening appointments
After getting braces, you need to visit your orthodontist every 4 to 8 weeks for an adjustment.
During these appointments, he will remove the previous wires.
You will get new wires that are a little bit stronger and different in strength and configuration.
During each adjustment appointment, you will get more different wires. He will put the wire the same way when you got braces.
Then, he will bend the wire again. The tightening is required to move the tooth continuously. After one tightening appointment, a tooth moves to a certain limit.
After that, you need new wire to put more pressure and keep the tooth moving. You will feel pain after getting the new wire.
However, you won’t feel much less pain than the first time after getting braces and pain goes away soon.
During these appointments, other procedures are also done. The duration of the appointment is quicker than the braces getting an appointment.
It may last for 20 to 30 minutes. In some situations when a special procedure is needed to perform, it may take a little bit more time.
Replacing the colorful ligature bands
An interesting thing is the orthodontist will also change the ligature or those colorful elastic bands during the adjustment appointments.
So, if you want you can change the color of the bands and get a new color, decide which color you want before the appointment.
Getting other braces components
Aside from wires, you will get different types of components to braces during those appointments.
So, you may find the procedure a slight difference. Here is the component of braces that you may get:
Interarch Rubber bands
You get rubber bands when additional pressure is needed to move teeth forward or backward. These elastic bands connect the brackets on both jaws.
For the first time, your orthodontist attaches the bands. But, after that, you have to apply it on your own. So, he will instruct you about the procedure.
You need to change the rubber band regularly to maintain oral hygiene and get the job done with it properly.
Learn everything about rubber bands.
The power chain is another very important component of braces. It’s also made of elastic.
Your orthodontist places it on the teeth of a jaw to close or open the space between teeth.
Learn in detail about power chains.
You may also get springs during orthodontic treatment. They put extra pressure along with brackets to move teeth in a certain direction.
Normally, there are two types of spring. They are coil springs and forsus appliances.
Coil springs place on the braces of the same jaw while forsus springs connect the braces of both jaws.
Final appointment for braces
This appointment comes after a long time. Usually, you have to wait for 2 to 3 years for this appointment when your braces are removed.
During this appointment, your orthodontist will take a look at the braces and your mouth. He will evaluate them properly if braces can be removed.
After that, he will take off the braces one by one. He will use the same instrument just like the time when he attached the braces.
Usually, this procedure doesn’t hurt you. When all the brackets are off, the orthodontist removes the remaining glue from your teeth and makes them clean.
Finally, you will be excited when you look at your beautiful smile. You may feel a slight pain in the gums and teeth after coming back home. It goes away after a few days.
Know about the steps of braces removal and what to expect before getting braces off.
However, it’s not the end of orthodontic treatment. You get retainer after braces.
So, during this appointment, the orthodontist takes the impression and makes a mold again like the first day to prepare a retainer.
Duration: It takes about 15-20 minutes to remove the braces. However, full appointments last for about an hour including the procedure for the retainer.
After braces, you have to wear a retainer to hold teeth in the new position, otherwise, they will go back to their original place.
This period is called the retention phase. You may get the retainer during the braces removal appointment or a later visit.
You have to wear the retainer for six months at least. Though it may vary from person to person.
Your orthodontist may set an appointment after that time. You must maintain the retainer as your orthodontist’s advised to get the best result.
In short, after taking an x-ray, impression, and making the mold, the orthodontist performs various measurements on the mold and x-ray and designs a treatment plan depending on the case.
During the getting braces appointment, the orthodontist cleans and drys your teeth. Then, he applies adhesive glues on the teeth and puts the braces brackets over it one by one.
After that, you get archwires that are placed through the brackets. Finally, braces are tightened by bending the thin braces’ wires.
This applies pressure to your teeth and moves them in the desired position. Ligature elastic is also used to hold the braces and wires in place.
The process of getting braces may last for about 1 to 2 hours normally. The procedure may not cause any pain.
But, after returning home you will feel pain in your teeth for the first 2-3 days. Besides, you get used to the feelings of braces within a month.
During the orthodontist treatment, you have to visit your orthodontist regularly.
You also get other important components like rubber bands, power chains, or springs according to the need in the course of treatment.
You must follow all the instructions from your orthodontist to get the best result.