The Orthodontic Process
1. Obtaining Initial Records
To make a thorough diagnosis our dental therapists need to gather information about your jaw and bite, including:
- Photographs of your teeth and face.
- X-rays/ Radiographs.
- Impressions of your teeth for plaster study models.
Dr Pang studies these records before determining a treatment plan that is customised to your unique circumstances. The plan is designed to correct the position of your teeth and achieve the best cosmetic results.
2. Separators – Making Space
Separators may be required before braces can be fitted. These small elastics are placed between the back molars to create space for your bands. Bands encircle your molars and help to keep your braces in position. Separators enable your bands to slide on comfortably.
The teeth will move slightly because of your separators. This can make teeth tender for a little while. It is also important to take care of your separators. To ensure they do not become dislodged, avoid flossing and chewy foods like candy or gum.
3. Braces – How it Works
The steps below detail how your braces will be fitted:
- Stainless steel bands & small brackets – bands go all the way around the back teeth (molars). Small brackets are bonded onto the other teeth.
- Archwires – move and straighten the teeth. The brackets and bands act like handles for the archwires which are adjusted to ensure the right force is placed on the teeth. This force is what aligns the teeth.
- Elastic ties –holds the archwire tightly in place. Elastics are changed at nearly every appointment and come in a variety of colours.
4. Elastics – Aligning the Bite
Once your teeth start to straighten, your orthodontist uses elastic rubber bands to guide the upper and lower jaw into alignment.
The elastics are attached to hooks on brackets in both the upper and lower jaw creating a gentle force.
Some discomfort may be felt for the first week. However, if you wear your elastics consistently, the discomfort will go away. Dr Pang will explain how to wear your elastics when the time comes.
5. Braces Removed – Retainers Fitted
After your braces have been removed, the bone must have time to stabilise around the roots of your teeth. This enables your teeth to maintain their new position.
Retainers on your upper and lower teeth will be required for several years.
The human face and skeleton continually changes throughout a person’s lifetime, so it is natural for teeth to move. A retainer improves the likelihood of lasting results. That means wearing the retainer as often as your orthodontist recommends.
Retainers may be removable or fixed in place. Dr Pang will choose a retainer to suit your orthodontic needs when treatment has finished.
6. Final Records
At the end of your treatment photographs, x-rays (radiograph) will be taken to review the changes your teeth have undergone. These records are also used to assess the health of your teeth and jaw.