There’s no denying that orthodontic treatment is on the rise as more and more adults are seeking that perfect smile. For many, this means going into orthodontic treatment for the first time. So whether that’s clear aligners or conventional bracket and wire braces, there are some important facts you should know. Let’s dive in and take a look…
You have choices
Many people imagine the orthodontic treatment process means having to endure a metal-mouth smile for several years, but the truth is, that there are a wide variety of options for getting teeth straightened. These include
- Clear removable aligners
- Lingual style braces, which are placed behind the teeth
- Ceramic tooth-colored braces
- Accelerated orthodontic treatments designed to straighten those teeth that are visible only when you smile, and…
- Conventional metal braces
All of which are designed to do a specific job of straightening the teeth. As a result, it’s advisable that you get a little familiar with the various orthodontic processes, so you can weigh the pros and cons which make them suitable or unsuitable for you.
Getting teeth straightened has no age restrictions
Both adults and teens alike are opting for orthodontic treatment. Many adults prefer the discreet applications of clear aligners or hidden lingual braces, while some children prefer to be fun and funky by sporting colored braces. Getting straight teeth really has no age restriction; so as long as you have teeth to straighten, there’s an orthodontic process that’s right for you.
Treatment times are both varied and customizable
In fact, no two orthodontic cases are ever the same and in most cases, the step by step process and treatment time will depend upon the needs of each individual patient. Typically, treatment time can vary from 3 years, right down to a few months and anything in between. Here at Uniform Teeth, for example, our clear aligners are usually worn for 6 months or less. In any case, your orthodontist will give you a better perspective on treatment time when you attend your first consultation.
Speaking of consultations, this brings us nicely to our next fact…
The process of orthodontic treatment is easier than you think
It’s true! The orthodontic treatment process (once you’ve chosen your style of treatment) is relatively straightforward. During an initial visit or consultation, x-rays and scans are taken and a treatment plan is agreed upon. In the case of bracket and wire style braces, patients usually return in 2-3 weeks for the fitting. With clear aligners, 3D scans or x-rays are also taken and a treatment plan is agreed upon. Two weeks later, your aligners are ready. So irrespective of braces type, getting orthodontic treatment started for the first time should take no longer than 3 weeks.
Your diet may need to change (in some instances)
Be aware that the orthodontic treatment process you choose may have a bearing on the foods that you should and shouldn’t eat. For example, if you opt for traditional, fixed braces, you may want to avoid foods such as:
- Sticky or hard candy
- Hard cookies or crackers
- Beef jerky
- Hard taco shells or tortilla chips
Whereas, you might want to adopt a nutritious healthy diet to aid all the biological changes that occur when teeth move. On the contrary, food avoidance isn’t so much of a big deal when wearing clear removable aligners, because as the name suggests, they’re designed to be removed before eating and drinking anything but water.
Expect a little discomfort
During the different treatment stages, sustained gentle pressure is applied to stimulate the bone and tissues surrounding the tooth causing them to act. As the appliance produces pressure and tension, it causes the surrounding bone to remodel and rebuild. There’s usually a time lag between the moment pressure is applied to any actual tooth movement, and this is why patients notice slight discomfort a few days after a braces adjustment, or when wearing a new aligner. This is entirely normal, lasting for several days and shows the process is working. The good news is that any discomfort felt can normally be brought under control quickly using over-the-counter medications.
You’ll need to wear a retainer
When getting orthodontic treatment for the first time, bear in mind that your treatment won’t stop when your braces or aligners are finally removed. Retainers will need to be worn to ensure your teeth don’t move back to their original positions. Don’t worry though because your orthodontist will speak to you about your options for life after treatment.
Be a patient patient!
Regardless of your chosen orthodontic treatment, step by step tooth movement isn’t going to happen overnight. So it’s important to remain positive, stick to the guidelines as laid down by your orthodontist and above all, you need to have patience. Remember to trust in both the process and your orthodontics team, and you will have straighter teeth that you can be proud of.