OK, you took the plunge and decided to get braces. What’s next?
X-Rays and Molds
- You usually need to get panoramic x-rays of your mouth, plus a full set of x-rays of individual teeth.
- Photographs of your face, teeth, and mouth may also be taken, so look nice on x-ray day! Those photographs will be part of your permanent file!
- The orthodontist will take molds of your teeth. This feels like a mouthful of silly putty and doesn’t last long (30 seconds each). They do the uppers, then the lowers. You often have your choice of flavor for the putty stuff. It’s no big deal. If you have an easy gag reflex, just try your best to relax during the process.
- In some cases, the orthodontist might not make molds, but take a 3-D scan of your mouth instead.
- Your orthodontist will review the x-rays and molds, and come up with a treatment plan.
- Before any treatment begins, your orthodontist should review the treatment plan with you in a consultation visit. This is the time to ask all the necessary questions.
- If the space between certain teeth is very tight, you may need spacers inserted before the braces go on. These stay in for about a week and then will be removed. Spacers are uncomfortable and most people dislike this part of treatment. However, you can take solace in the fact that they are usually not in your mouth for long.
- You may need to have some teeth extracted. In some cases, this might happen during your treatment.
- You should have your teeth professionally cleaned.
- If you have sensitive teeth, brush with Sensodyne or a similar toothpaste for at least two weeks to help desensitize your teeth.
- Ask your orthodontist whether he recommends you whiten your teeth before or after treatment. Remember, whitening may make your teeth more sensitive for a period of time!
- If you have any periodontal problems, these should be taken care of before you get braces. Cavities should be filled, etc.
- Practice excellent oral hygiene to prepare your gums for braces! Ask the dentist for suggestions!
- Have you been taking Fosamax, Boniva, or another bisphosphonate drug (either orally or intravenously)? If so, you MUST tell your dentist and orthodontist before your orthodontic treatment begins! Read this article to find out why.
- If you require jaw surgery, this will might take place before braces go on. In some cases, jaw surgery takes place after treatment with braces. It all depends on your individual case.
Next….When the Braces Go On