The Different Phases of Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontic treatment is different for every patient. However, the journey is similar for everyone. The treatments are usually in three stages, and in this article, we will explain what to expect from each.
Phase 1 – Planning and evaluation stage
Orthodontic treatment take several weeks and may extend into months. As expected, it involves making several trips to the dentist. Your treatment and duration will depend on your condition and the type of treatment you’ll require.
During the first phase, your orthodontist must evaluate your condition to recommend the most appropriate treatment. It usually includes medical and dental evaluations and impressions. Since dental and physical problems occur simultaneously, your dental problem may be caused by a medical problem. Therefore, your dentist will evaluate your medical history to completely understand the peculiarities.
After reviewing your medical condition and history, the team will proceed to make bite impressions of your teeth.
Most dental practices will ask you to bite down into a dental tray filled with a gel substance that hardens around the teeth. Regardless of the method, the essence is to create a cast or model of your teeth. After biting into the tray, the tray is removed and filled with plaster. Instead of studying your teeth and making you uncomfortable, your orthodontist now has a physical impression of your teeth he can examine and possibly take apart to understand each tooth.
To aid comprehension, you will proceed to the X-ray room for X-rays of your teeth and face. This step is crucial to identify possible damage to the jaw joints and the position of each tooth and root. Then, a photographer will take pictures of your face profile, smile, teeth, inside and outside the mouth, and the roof of the mouth. This step will continue throughout the treatment so your orthodontist can compare progress and assess the impact of the treatment on your face.
The last step in phase one is the computer generation of images. Depending on the dental clinic, this step could be the second or third in phase one. Computer-generated images aid in forecasting how the treatments may affect the symmetry of the jaw and the shape of the face.
Phase 2 – Treatment
The essence of phase 1 is to prepare you and your orthodontist for phase 2. However, not all patients will immediately get to the treatment phase after evaluation. The reason is that your orthodontist can defer your treatment.
Deferring treatment often occurs if there is the need to wait until certain conditions are met before commencing treatment. For example, gum disease, jaw injuries, or poor oral health can make them postpone your treatment. In this case, you only need to wait and follow your orthodontist’s recommendations for a few weeks before you come in for treatment. Then, you can continue with phase 2 as planned.
- After determining the condition and treatment required, your orthodontist will recommend a customized treatment plan. Let us look at a few below:
- Dental crowns: dental crowns are prosthetic caps worn on the tooth. It is mostly made of porcelain and ceramics and is used to cover chips, cracks, and discoloration. It is also worn to protect implants since it functions as a false tooth.
- Veneers: Veneers are used to cover discoloration. It is also useful for concealing chips and cracks. Veneers are wafer-thin, custom-made shells used to cover the front surface of the teeth for improved appearance.
- Dental implants: a dental implant is a surgical fixture placed into the jaw and allowed to fuse with the bone. This way, it serves as a strong foundation for a replacement tooth.
- Braces: braces are used to correct dental problems like overcrowding and alignment. The devices are used to straighten and align the teeth and often involve wires, brackets, and metal.
Whatever device or method your orthodontist recommends, phase 2 is where you receive them. Sometimes, the dental clinic may need to collaborate with another one, as it often occurs for porcelain veneers. The team will send the model of your teeth obtained in phase 1 to the ceramics, who will make the permanent veneer and send it back to your orthodontist for fitting.
After fixing the device or implementing the solution, your orthodontist will regularly adjust it to ensure the perfect fit and pressure. The orthodontist will also recommend you visit at intervals for control.
This is what phase 2 treatment looks like for dental braces:
Removal of the separator – bracket installation – teeth alignment – adjustments – brace removal – retainer installation.
Phase 3 – monitoring and control
The third phase of your orthodontic treatment is as crucial as the other two phases, although most patients don’t treat it as such. While it’s true that the most challenging stages of the treatment are over, you must still visit your orthodontist for quality control. The team will create a custom plan you must follow to ensure that whatever procedure they did, does not fail. Think of it like a monitoring phase to check and ensure stabilization.
An orthodontic treatment is highly predictable. However, its success depends equally on the orthodontist and patient. Therefore, you must use the best of the best providers. At Sbenati dentistry, we operate one of the largest dental clinics in London, Ontario. Our team of qualified staff will be glad to help you on your journey with the best possible care and offer you your smile back.