When you first come in to see us, we will examine your mouth and talk about your concerns. We will probably take some photos, X-rays and even a dental mould in order to understand what’s happening in your mouth and to make a recommendation on how to straighten your teeth or correct a bite problem.
We will talk through your options and let you make a decision on how you want to proceed. There are three treatment choices that might be available to you: Traditional Braces, Invisible Braces and Invisalign.
Once you have made your decision, the following processes will take place:
Traditional Braces and Invisible braces (also called Lingual Braces)
In the week before you get braces
Before you get braces, you can eat whatever you like. After you get them, sticky, chewy or hard foods will be something you’ll need to avoid. These types of foods can dislodge the brackets holding in your archwires. The more times a bracket is dislodged, the longer your treatment time. To keep you treatment time as short as possible you will need to follow the recommendations we give you.
Your orthodontist may also want to install some separators (spacers) to add some extra space around the molars at the back of your mouth before your braces are fitted. This is because those teeth are used as anchor points for the braces and they need to have a metal band attached around them when you get your braces on – the bands need some clear space to be attached.
On the day you get braces
Your orthodontist will give your teeth a clean to prepare the surface for attaching the brackets.
Bonding glue will be applied to each tooth in the arch that’s being treated. Normally both arches are treated at the same time. The glue tastes a bit ordinary, but it’s not harmful.
The bands that will anchor your braces are attached to the molars at the back of your mouth.
When the glue has bonded with your teeth, it’s time to attach the archwire to your braces. Thin, strong strands of wire are threaded through each bracket and locked in place with a tough elastic band, called a ligature.
If you’re getting traditional braces, we will ask you to choose a colour for the rubber ligatures that secure the archwire to the brackets. This is your chance to go low-key or to highlight your braces for maximum impact!
If you’re getting Invisible Braces or have chosen a system where the brackets on your teeth lock the archwire in place without requiring a rubber band, you won’t need to choose a colour as your treatment is designed to be hidden anyway.
Your archwires will be cut off at the ends so they don’t damage your mouth, and you’ll be on your way to a great smile!
The process will take between 1 and 2 hours. You might want to bring your music player so that you can tune out while it’s happening.
In the week after you get braces
You will notice that your mouth feels a bit sore. Some ibuprofen or paracetamol will fix it. You won’t be able to chew very much, so plan ahead with regard to your meals and look forward to eating some tasty soup. It will only be for a couple of days, so just relax, go with it and before you know it, your mouth will have adjusted.
Some people find that a bracket or two rubs on the inside of their mouth and causes irritation. We will give you some wax that you can use to stop that irritation until your mouth gets used to the brackets touching it. You just take a small piece and apply it to the offending bracket, changing it from feeling scratchy to smooth.
If you play a contact sport, we can fit you for a mouthguard that accommodates your new braces.
6-8 weeks after you get braces
The archwire and brackets have done their job and you will need to come back for an adjustment. Your teeth have moved and it’s time to adjust them again to move the teeth further.
You’ll find that your mouth gets bit sore again but some mild analgesics will fix it and within a couple of days you’ll be back to normal.
Importantly, you’ll be 6-8 weeks closer to your great new smile!
There are 6 easy steps in the Invisalign process.
- Your orthodontist will take photos, an X-ray and digital scans or impressions of your teeth to create your treatment plan.
- The Invisalign company and your orthodontist will use the records to create a customised 3D treatment plan just for you.
- The customised aligners will be shipped to our office.
- We will show you how to fit and wear your aligners and you will get 3-4 sets to wear. You change them over every 2 weeks or so.
- We will see you every 6-8 weeks to check your progress and issue your new aligner sets.
- After the main Invisalign treatment has concluded, we may ask you to wear a retainer at night to help make sure the new position of your teeth is maintained.
After you get Invisalign
You need to take your Invisalign aligners out to eat. They fit very snugly, eating a bigger breakfast, lunch and dinner may help avoid the need for snacks.
You’ll need to clean your aligners daily. Avoid the temptation to clean them with toothpaste – that will actually make them lose their clarity. Instead, just use a mild detergent and rinse them thoroughly.
You will need to wear your aligners for at least 20 and up to 22 hours a day. That means really only taking them out to eat or to go to a special occasion. If you can follow these rules, your treatment plan will take the least amount of time and your smile will be more beautiful, sooner.