Orthodontist Mornington Peninsula

Braces 101: What to Expect During Your Orthodontic Journey

Getting braces can be an exciting and intimidating experience, especially if you’re not totally sure what to expect. It’s important to understand the process of getting braces and what to expect during your orthodontic journey.

From choosing a dentist or orthodontist to caring for your teeth while wearing braces, understanding the basics is key. This article’ll discuss what to expect during your orthodontic journey.

Choosing an Orthodontist

Choosing an Orthodontist is an important decision that can impact your dental health for a lifetime. Orthodontists are dentists who focus on correcting the alignment of teeth and jaws.

When selecting an orthodontist, it is important to consider their qualifications, experience, and reputation. Ask for referrals from family and friends, read online reviews, and schedule a consultation to meet the orthodontist in person and discuss your treatment options.

By choosing the right orthodontist, you can ensure that you receive the best possible care and achieve the beautiful smile you desire.

Initial Evaluation and Diagnosis

Initial evaluation and diagnosis are crucial in any medical or therapeutic treatment process. It involves gathering information about the patient’s symptoms, medical history, and physical examination to determine the possible causes of the problem. This process helps identify any underlying conditions and provides a baseline for monitoring progress during treatment.

An initial evaluation and diagnosis are critical in developing a personalized treatment plan when considering orthodontic treatment. This evaluation typically includes a thorough examination of the teeth, jaws, and facial structures and X-rays and other diagnostic imaging to determine the underlying causes of any orthodontic issues. From there, a diagnosis can be made, and a treatment plan can be developed, including traditional braces, clear aligners, or other orthodontic devices.

Types of Braces Available

There are several types of braces available for different dental needs. The type of braces recommended will depend on the individual’s specific dental needs and preferences.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are a type of orthodontic treatment that has been used for many years to straighten teeth and correct bite issues. They consist of metal brackets attached to the teeth and connected by wire. The wire is adjusted periodically to move the teeth into the desired position gradually.

Although metal braces are often associated with a “metal mouth” appearance, technological advances have made them smaller, less noticeable, and more comfortable. They are still popular with many people, especially those with more complex orthodontic needs.

Metal braces can cause discomfort and pain, especially during the first few days after they are placed or adjusted. The braces work by applying pressure on your teeth, which can cause soreness and sensitivity. Additionally, the brackets and wires can irritate the inside of your mouth and cause small cuts or ulcers.

However, the pain and discomfort usually fade over time as your mouth gets used to the braces. Your orthodontist can also provide you with wax to cover the brackets and relieve some of the irritation. Overall, metal braces may cause discomfort, but the result of a straighter smile is well worth it.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are orthodontic appliances very similar to traditional metal braces. Still, with one important difference – instead of metal brackets, they are made from clear or tooth-coloured ceramic material. This means they are much less noticeable than metal braces, making them an ideal option for people who want to straighten their teeth but don’t want to draw attention to them.

Ceramic braces work the same way as metal braces, using a system of brackets and wires to gradually move the teeth into the correct position. They are popular with adults and teenagers who want a more discreet orthodontic treatment. While they offer a more discreet option than traditional metal braces, many still wonder if they hurt.

The truth is that ceramic braces can cause some discomfort, just like any other type of braces. However, the degree of pain or discomfort varies from person to person. Some people may experience more discomfort than others, but it is typically manageable with over-the-counter pain relief medication and proper care and maintenance.

Overall, the benefits of properly aligned teeth far outweigh the temporary discomfort of wearing ceramic braces.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are an orthodontic treatment where the brackets and wires are placed on the backside of the teeth instead of the front. This makes them popular for people who want a more discreet treatment option.

Lingual braces work like traditional braces, applying gentle pressure to the teeth to gradually shift them into the desired position. However, because they are placed on the back of the teeth, they can take a bit longer to get used to and may require more frequent adjustments.

Like any orthodontic treatment, lingual braces may sometimes cause discomfort or pain. The initial placement of the braces and the periodic adjustments can cause soreness in the mouth and difficulty eating or speaking for a few days. However, most patients find that the discomfort subsides quickly and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.

Lingual braces may also cause some irritation or soreness to the tongue, but this can be alleviated with orthodontic wax. Your orthodontist will provide you with instructions on how to manage any discomfort associated with lingual braces. Overall, lingual braces can be a great option for those who want a straighter smile without the noticeable appearance of traditional braces.


Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that uses clear, removable aligners to straighten teeth. Unlike traditional metal braces, Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible, making them a popular choice for adults and teens looking for a more discreet way to improve their smile. The aligners are custom-made for each patient and typically worn for 20-22 hours daily.

Invisalign treatment can take several months to a few years, depending on the severity of the case and the patient’s compliance with wearing the aligners as directed.

The Placement Procedure

Orthodontic braces are used to correct misaligned teeth and improve the smile’s overall appearance. The placement procedure of orthodontic braces starts with a consultation with an orthodontist, who will evaluate the patient’s teeth and recommend the best braces based on their specific needs. The braces are then attached to the teeth using special adhesives and wires, which are adjusted periodically to move the teeth into the desired position gradually.

The entire process can take anywhere from several months to a few years, depending on the severity of the misalignment and the patient’s compliance with the orthodontist’s instructions. With proper care and maintenance, orthodontic braces can help patients achieve a straighter, healthier smile and improve their self-confidence.

Pain Management During the Placement Process

Orthodontic treatment is a process that involves the placement of appliances such as braces or aligners to correct misaligned teeth or jaws. While orthodontic treatment can provide various benefits, such as improved appearance and dental health, the placement process can be uncomfortable and painful.

Pain management techniques such as over-the-counter pain relievers, ice packs, and orthodontic wax can help alleviate discomfort during placement. Orthodontic patients can also discuss pain management options with their orthodontist to ensure a comfortable and smooth treatment experience.

Adjustment Periods During Treatment

Orthodontic treatment involves braces or aligners to straighten teeth and improve their overall appearance and functionality. During this process, several adjustment periods may be where the braces or aligners are tightened or changed to encourage tooth movement. These adjustment periods may cause discomfort or soreness as the teeth shift, but they are important to the treatment process.

Patients should follow their orthodontist’s instructions for care and maintenance during these adjustment periods to ensure the best possible results. With patience and proper care, orthodontic treatment can lead to a beautiful, healthy smile for a lifetime.

Oral Care With Braces

Oral care with braces is essential to maintaining good dental hygiene during orthodontic treatment. Braces can make it harder to clean teeth and gums, leading to the accumulation of plaque, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. To keep your teeth healthy, here are 10 tips that you should incorporate into your daily routine:

1. Brush your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes, using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.

2. Clean around your braces after every meal with interdental brushes or floss threaders.

3. Avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible to prevent plaque buildup on your teeth.

4. Rinse your mouth with water after eating to remove any food particles stuck in the brackets or wires of your braces.

5. Visit your orthodontist regularly for checkups and adjustments so they can monitor the progress of your treatment.

6. Use an anti-bacterial mouthwash daily to reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease while wearing braces.

7. Wear a protective mouthguard when playing sports or engaging in physical activities to protect your teeth from injury or damage caused by hard impacts or falls during playtime.

8. Use a fluoride gel treatment once a month to help strengthen enamel weakened by braces.

9. Avoid chewing hard foods such as ice cubes, nuts, and hard candy that can damage the brackets on your braces or cause them to come loose prematurely.

10 Wear orthodontic elastics (rubber bands) as instructed by your orthodontist to help correct misalignment issues between upper and lower teeth during treatment if prescribed for you

Proper oral care with braces can help prevent dental problems and ensure a beautiful, healthy smile after treatment.

Eating With Braces

Eating with braces requires a little extra care and attention. It’s important to avoid foods that can damage or get stuck in your braces, such as hard candy, popcorn, and sticky foods like gum or caramel. Stick to softer foods that won’t harm your braces, like cooked vegetables, soft fruits, and lean proteins. You should also cut your food into small pieces and chew carefully to avoid damaging your braces or getting food stuck.

With a little caution and planning, you can still enjoy a variety of delicious foods while wearing braces.

Cleaning Your Teeth and Braces Regularly

Regularly cleaning your teeth and braces is crucial for maintaining good oral hygiene. When you have braces, brushing and flossing after every meal is essential to remove any trapped food and prevent plaque buildup. Neglecting to clean your teeth and braces can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

Regularly cleaning your teeth and braces will help keep your orthodontic treatment on track, which means faster and more effective results. Remember to schedule regular checkups with your orthodontist to ensure your braces are in good condition and adjust them as needed.

Repairing or Replacing Broken Parts of Your Brace

If you have a brace or orthodontic appliance, it is possible that, at some point, a part of it may break or become damaged. Whether it is a bracket, wire, or other component, it is important to have it repaired or replaced promptly to ensure your treatment stays on track.

Orthodontic braces can get broken due to several reasons. One of the most common reasons is eating hard or sticky foods that can cause brackets or wires to become loose or break. Poor hygiene habits, such as not brushing or flossing properly, can also lead to breakage as bacteria build up around the braces. Another reason for broken braces is engaging in physical activities or sports without wearing a mouthguard, which can result in impact or trauma to the mouth.

In some cases, depending on the severity of the damage, it may be necessary to replace the entire appliance. Your orthodontist will be able to assess the situation and provide you with the appropriate course of action.

It is important to follow the orthodontist’s guidelines for the care and maintenance of braces to prevent breakage and ensure successful treatment. Ignoring a broken or damaged brace can cause delays in your treatment, discomfort, and potentially even harm to your teeth and gums.

Retainers After Treatment Is Complete

After completing orthodontic treatment, it is essential to wear retainers to maintain the new alignment of your teeth. Retainers are custom-made devices that hold your teeth in their correct position while the surrounding gums and bones adjust to the changes. Without wearing retainers, teeth can start shifting back to their original position, resulting in the regression of your orthodontic treatment.

There are different types of retainers, including removable and fixed retainers, and your orthodontist will recommend the best option for your post-treatment care. Remember, wearing retainers is crucial to ensure long-lasting results and a beautiful, healthy smile.

Duration of Treatment

The duration of orthodontic treatment varies depending on individual cases and the severity of the dental issue. Typically, orthodontic treatment can last anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. It’s important to note that orthodontic treatment requires patience as the teeth gradually move into their desired position.

Regular appointments with an orthodontist are necessary to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments. The length of treatment can also be impacted by patient compliance, such as wearing rubber bands or retainers as instructed by the orthodontist. While the duration of treatment may seem long, the result of a beautiful, healthy smile is worth the wait.

Cost of Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment can be a significant investment, but it is well worth it for the benefits it provides. The cost of orthodontic treatment varies depending on several factors, including the problem’s severity, the treatment length, and the type of braces or aligners used.

Traditional metal braces are typically the most affordable option, while clear aligners like Invisalign can be more expensive. Many orthodontic offices offer payment plans or financing options to help make the cost more manageable. While the upfront cost may seem daunting, the long-term benefits of a straighter, healthier smile make orthodontic treatment a wise investment.

Insurance Coverage for Orthodontic Care

Insurance coverage for orthodontic care is important for those who require braces or other forms of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic care can be expensive, and many people may not be able to afford it without insurance coverage.

Insurance coverage for orthodontic care can help offset treatment costs and make it more accessible to those who need it. Many insurance plans offer coverage for orthodontic care, but it is important to check with your insurance provider to understand the specifics of your coverage. Overall, insurance coverage for orthodontic care can be a valuable resource for those seeking to improve their dental health and achieve a better smile.

Scheduling Follow-Up Appointments with Your Orthodontist

It is important to schedule follow-up appointments with your orthodontist to ensure that your orthodontic treatment progresses as planned. These appointments allow your orthodontist to make any necessary adjustments to your braces or aligners and ensure that your teeth are moving correctly. Additionally, follow-up appointments allow your orthodontist to monitor your oral health and address any issues that may arise during your treatment.

By scheduling and attending these appointments, you can help ensure you achieve the best possible results from your orthodontic treatment.