How Braces Work: Step by Step | Thomas Orthodontics

How Braces Work: Step by Step

Portrait of beautiful happy young model with braces

No matter how much you prepare, it’s probably going to be a little stressful when your child first gets their braces on.

…But that doesn’t mean we can’t do everything possible to help!

Below, we’ve collected links to all the blog posts we’ve written about the different steps of orthodontic treatment – and included simple tips for how your child can sail through each new phase. Remember, if you ever have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office. With locations in Hinsdale, Naperville and Oak Lawn, we make it simple to receive treatment no matter where you live in the southwest Chicago suburbs.

Initial Orthodontic Consultation

The first consultation can be the most nerve-wracking part of the process for a parent new to braces. You’re basically conducting a job interview, seeing if the orthodontist will be a good fit for your family. Depending on how much you’ve discussed with your dentist, this may be the first time you learn details about prospective orthodontic treatment. We’ll take x-rays and develop a preliminary treatment plan and timeline for your child’s braces.

What to remember: You don’t need to commit to treatment immediately; if you’re unsure about the orthodontist or treatment plan, consider arranging a consultation with another orthodontist for a second opinion.

Getting Braces Put On

It’s the big day! Getting your child’s braces put on will be relatively straightforward. The process isn’t painful, and will likely take between 1-2 hours. The orthodontist will apply bonding glue to the teeth, then attach the brackets. Next, they will place the archwires in the brackets and secure them with elastic bands.

What to remember: Before the appointment, stock the fridge with soft foods like yogurt and soup. Your child is going to feel a little sore for 1-3 days after their braces are put on. They can also take over the counter painkillers to help with discomfort. If they have a wire poking their cheeks, apply wax to the area and stop by the office for an adjustment. Their braces will feel normal sooner than they expect!

Life with Braces – Eating, Oral Hygiene, Staying Cavity-Free

The braces experience is a little different. Depending on which obstacles your child encounters, they’ll benefit from a variety of approaches. Some struggle to avoid problem foods that might damage brackets or wires. Others find it tough to figure out how to brush and floss easily. Others forget to wear rubber bands or take other steps to make braces progress smoothly. No matter the case, there are pointers that will help.

What to remember: If your child is feeling discouraged or frustrated during orthodontics, remind them that if they follow their orthodontist’s instructions they’ll be able to finish as quickly as possible. It’s also crucial that they avoid cavities or gingivitis during treatment – in some cases, brackets need to be removed for decay to be treated. Make sure they’re comfortable cleaning around their braces, and ask our office for helpful hygiene products.

Regular Appointments

Your child will need to visit the office for adjustments once a month. During these appointments, the archwires will be replaced. This keeps the teeth moving as planned. There will be some soreness after each appointment, as the teeth become accustomed to the new wires. Their orthodontist will also make sure that teeth are moving correctly and on schedule.

What to remember: Mark your appointments on your calendar and let us know if you need to reschedule. We want to make sure your child doesn’t lose progress due to scheduling issues.

Getting Braces Off

For your child, the day they get their braces off is a major occasion! It might be a big deal for you, too – no more monthly visits to the orthodontist! This appointment won’t be uncomfortable – there may be some pressure as the brackets and glue are removed, but then your child will be ready to share their new smile with the world. Their teeth will actually feel a little strange at first – without those brackets and wires, things are surprisingly smooth. But they’ll be excited to dig into their favorite “forbidden” food!

What to remember: If your child’s teeth are discolored after braces, check in with your dentist to see whether their enamel has decalcified. They will be able to help you get their straight teeth looking gorgeous. Their teeth may also feel a little sensitive after the braces come off, but this will fade (if not, visit your dentist).

Life After Braces

There are a few things to remember in the months (and years) after braces come off. Your child should wear their retainers as instructed, so that they maintain their straighter teeth. Retainers help ensure that the new bite will last for years to come.

What to remember: Help your child remember to wear their retainer & brush and floss regularly to preserve their beautiful smile!

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