Orthodontic Treatment Phases
Orthodontics: Phases of Getting Braces
Orthodontic treatments are designed to diagnose, prevent, or treat malocclusions, which are also known as “bad bites.” Malocclusions involve a misalignment between the upper and lower rows of teeth so that they are unable to meet evenly with one another. These bad bites are often caused by having too much or too little room in the jaw, resulting in teeth that either drift out of place or grow in crowded or crooked.
Thankfully, orthodontic treatments such as fixed braces, lingual braces, and Invisalign not only straighten teeth and jaws, but also have a positive impact on the shape and appearance of a patient’s facial features. Among the types of malocclusions that can be corrected by the use of orthodontic devices:
- Overbite: Upper teeth protrude over lower teeth
- Underbite: Lower teeth protrudes over upper teeth
- Crossbite. Upper teeth close inside, rather than outside, lower teeth
- Crowding: Lack of space causes teeth to erupt incorrectly
- Open bite: Teeth slant outward due to a lack of overlap
- Overjet: Upper teeth protrude further outward
What are the three phases of getting braces?
Orthodontic treatments are a popular type of dental procedure due to their highly predictable and immensely successful results. Generally speaking, patients complete treatment within a period between six and thirty months—results can vary depending on the type of malocclusion that’s being treated, the orthodontic device used to correct it, and a number of other factors.
With that said, here are the three major orthodontic treatment phases most patients can expect:
Phase 1 – Planning
In the first orthodontic treatment phase, the orthodontist is evaluating what measures need to be taken in order to make sure that the patient’s malocclusion is treated effectively and swiftly. An orthodontist will commonly run the following tests:
- Medical and dental evaluations: Because oral health problems often stem from bodily issues, tests will be run to ensure medical problems are resolved before treatment begins.
- Study model: A casting or bite impression of a patient’s teeth is created so that the orthodontist can scrutinize teeth and jaw alignment, teeth bite, and overall functionality.
- Panoramic x-rays: Dental x-rays are used to view current or potential tooth and jaw damage or decay, as well as to examine the exact position of each tooth and its corresponding root(s).
- Computer generated images: These images assist the orthodontist in designing individualized orthodontic treatment plans and determining how such treatments can affect the overall shape and symmetry of a patient’s features.
- Photographs – Photos taken during various phases of the orthodontic treatment process can be a great aid to orthodontists in assessing a patient’s progress.
Phase 2 – Active
In the second orthodontic treatment phase, the orthodontist will recommend a custom orthodontic device that will gently position the teeth into proper alignment. The two most common types of orthodontic devices are as follows:
- Fixed braces: Typically, braces are made from either metal or ceramic brackets that are connected by an archwire. Another option is lingual braces, which are fixed but fit on the tongue side of the teeth and therefore less visible.
- Removable braces: Examples of such braces include the Invisalign system, headgear, and facemask. These devices are designed to be worn for a specified amount of hours each day to expedite treatment.
Phase 3 – Retention
In the third and final orthodontic treatment phase, the patient’s teeth have been properly aligned (at least, in the best-case scenario). Thus, the orthodontic device can be removed. However, the patient will still need to make regular dental visits to make certain that the treatment was effective. In many cases, a custom retainer may be custom crafted for the patient so that the teeth will continue their proper alignment.
For further questions about the orthodontic treatment phases, please contact Galleria Dental.