Many of our patients come in excited about their treatment but wonder how to follow up or keep track of their progress. Besides, many of our readers want to know how we divide their treatment plans into stages they can easily follow. What do orthodontists consider when developing this specialized treatment, and what are the stages of orthodontics?
As with many other specialized treatments, your orthodontist will have to review your conditions and, preferably, track any changes to your body for a long time. In orthodontics, the more time we spend time with a patient, the better picture we’ll get about their orofacial development.
Certainly, we can gain a lot by reviewing the challenges in orthodontics, but we want to focus now on what to do before, during, and after the active phase of orthodontics.
Orthodontic Treatment Stages and Phases
Fortunately, when you come to our office, you’ll find the best orthodontist Albany, CA has. We don’t just jump to action without a clear idea of our patients’ requirements. Orthodontics is only successful when the specialist and patient know what they want and how to achieve it. That requires careful planning and attentive adherence to the treatment plan of action.
The Planning Stage
Here’s where it all begins. We invite you to make an appointment with your preferred orthodontist to get a chance at a good conversation about your specific orthodontic condition, your goals, and what your treatment will require from you.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) highly recommends you bring children for their first visit with an orthodontist by age 7. We ask families to follow this recommendation because starting orthodontics from a young age allows everyone involved to track the patient’s development properly.
As the child continues to grow, orthodontists like the team at Estes Orthodontics can determine if there are any signs of problems with their dental development and plan accordingly.
What We Need for This Stage
- Medical and Dental Evaluations. Regardless of the patient’s age, we have to review whether there are no dental health problems. Unfortunately, many patients only come in when they have problems with gum disease or tooth decay and may not realize that their dental alignment is to blame. We want to ensure our patient’s dental health is in optimal conditions to resist their orthodontic treatment.
- Dental X-Rays. Many individuals are afraid of the radiation concerns from x-rays, but the advancements in technology from the past half a century have let us use them safely within the office setting. These detailed images let us track the dental development of younger patients. We can predict if their permanent teeth will erupt without problem or not. These tools also help us determine what happens with your wisdom teeth and if you need a tooth extraction.
- Photographs. Sometimes, specialists will want to get some evidence for before and after case studies. Taking these pictures will also help the patient realize how far they’ve come since the start of their ortho treatment with braces or other appliances.
- Models and Computer-Generated Images. We want to be absolutely certain that we’re planning for the right case; we don’t want just to see as we go, so we’ll need a model of your mouth to know where you need the most help. Computer-generated 3D models also let us make projections and show them to you.
The Active Stage of Orthodontics
This is definitely what most people think of when the idea of orthodontics reaches their minds. The active stage of orthodontics is where all the action happens. The active phase takes care of aligning your teeth, placing them in the right position, correcting your jaw positioning, and bite correction.
The mechanics are simple. Once we’re done with all the planning, the mechanics are simple. The appliances apply force over your teeth and gradually reposition them. Clear aligner trays, traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and other appliances rely on the composition and nature of our jawbones.
Bone remodeling is only possible as the jawbone dissolves and the supporting tissues break down. This enables safe tooth movement to get the smile you dream of. Even if you’ll feel a bit of soreness in the first few days, your treatment will be painless.
Technically, you could straighten your teeth at home without braces by pushing with your tongue or finger, but you would have to do it for several hours every day in the exact direction, over the course of several months. Orthodontics does it all for you.
The Retention Stage of Orthodontics
And then comes the grand finale. Once you’re done with your ortho treatment with braces or clear aligners, we have to move on to the retention stage.
Have you heard about orthodontic retainers? Well, these are necessary appliances that ensure you don’t waste all your hard effort, energy, and time. Remember how we said orthodontics deals with bone remodeling? By the end of the active stage, you’ll need retainers to let the bone and supporting tissues to form again around the new positions of your teeth.
If you don’t wear a set of retainers, you risk losing all your hard-earned results, as teeth have a natural tendency to shift positions. We just want to avoid orthodontic relapse and the only safe way to do so is with retainers.
You’ll get to choose from various types of retainers and your orthodontist will make a recommendation based on your performance during the active stage, your age, and general observations they’ve made over the course of your orthodontic care.
Start Your Treatment With the Best Orthodontist in El Cerrito
Everyone here at Estes Orthodontics wants to help you achieve your goals and work with you for that dreamy and healthy smile. The road is not a walk in the park, but all the advancements in orthodontics make it a very affordable treatment.
Please, get in touch with us and set an appointment to check what you’ll need to reach your goals. Let’s start this treatment together and get you a beautiful smile for a lifetime.