How does the orthodontics process work?

If you’re thinking about getting braces for yourself or for your child, the first thing you need to know is that you can visit us free! Initial consultations with our orthodontists are free and help you get a sense of what it’s like to work with us.

Step 1: Schedule Your Free Orthodontics Consultation
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends, and we agree, children should be seen by an orthodontist at age 7. This may sound young to those of us who remember braces when we were in our teens, but things have really changed since then. Our orthodontists can detect subtle issues in tooth and jaw development even while baby teeth are still present. Orthodontic consultations to keep an eye on your child’s smile are no charge until you begin orthodontic treatment. These brief checkups, typically on an annual basis while your child is young, will help us care for you effectively, and plan for orthodontic treatment before issues arise. Also, any patient at any age is always welcome to schedule a complimentary orthodontic consultation. We love to meet with you and discuss what’s possible with your smile. Once you decide to get started with First Choice Dental Orthodontics, your orthodontics process will follow these general steps.

Step 2: Your Orthodontist Helps You Get Started with a New Patient Exam
For some, this may be Step 1. Once you’re ready to pursue orthodontic treatment, at your first Orthodontics visit, our Orthodontists, Dr. Sarah Santos will complete a thorough new patient Orthodontic examination to determine your needs. This takes about an hour for your orthodontist to evaluate your needs and answer your questions. We may request a special orthodontic x-ray and photographs to help figure out which orthodontic treatment is best for you.

Your First Choice Dental orthodontist will be able to:

  • Provide you with an approximate cost of the treatment
  • Give you an estimated timeline for how long it will take, and
  • Provide options for completing treatment.

The treatment coordinator will then:

  • Take records including additional X-rays and impressions.
  • Schedule the series of appointments necessary to get you started and
  • Discuss convenient options for financing your treatment.

Step 3: Our Treatment Coordinator Will Explain Recommended Treatment Options at Your Treatment Conference
At the orthodontic consultation, your Treatment Coordinator will go over all of your orthodontic records and show you examples of braces, Invisalign aligners, and any appliances that may be involved in your treatment. The consultation is scheduled for 20-30 minutes. Once you've decided to move forward with treatment, your appointment to get your braces on can usually be scheduled the same day or within a few days of your consultation appointment. Invisalign™ impressions can usually be taken at the treatment conference appointment if you desire.

Step 4: Getting Your Braces On!
The appointment to get your braces on takes about two hours, but you can watch TV or listen to music to pass the time. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just long. One of our Orthodontic Assistants will assist the orthodontist with placement of your appliances and answer your questions as she walks you through the entire process from beginning to end. The assistant will prep the teeth for the brackets and then your orthodontist will carefully position each bracket on each tooth. Because this is such a critical step in the entire process, your orthodontist and First Choice Dental invest time in the smallest details to achieve the best results.

Step 4 Invisalign Option: Starting Invisalign treatment with the Help of Your Orthodontist
If you've opted for Invisalign treatment with our Premier Invisalign provider Dr. Sarah Santos your impressions for Invisalign treatment leave our office the same day they are taken. These impressions are sent to our Invisalign lab to be scanned and the computer model of your teeth is constructed. From this model, your custom aligners are created. Once the aligners are received in our office, you are notified by phone and an appointment is set up to bond/glue any small, clear colored buttons/attachments to your teeth. These clear attachments act as your 'braces' and allow us to manipulate the teeth. Your first aligner is inserted and instructions on wear and care are given. Your Invisalign aligners are worn for 22-23 hours of the day and are usually changed every 2 weeks, or as prescribed by your First Choice Dental orthodontist. Contact us to schedule a complimentary orthodontic consultation to learn about Invisalign.

Step 5: Adjustment Visits During Orthodontic Treatment
Throughout your orthodontic treatment, we’ll help you schedule routine checks which are super quick appointments to adjust your brackets, answer questions and help check progress. These appointments typically take no longer than 15-20 minutes and take place every 6-10 weeks throughout your treatment depending on your needs. If you have Invisalign treatment, these checks occur every 4-6 weeks.

Step 6: Your Orthodontist Helps You Get Your Braces Off and Start With Retainers
You may have been anticipating the end of your Orthodontic Treatment during the last few visits, and now your First Choice Dental orthodontist has said that it is time to get your braces off. Our office will schedule you for the next available appointment, called a "debanding" appointment. Make arrangements with your Dentist to have a good cleaning, check-up, and fluoride treatment following the removal of your braces. Some patients opt for teeth whitening at this point as well.

Removing your braces will only take us about 80 minutes and you will be pleased at how easy and comfortable the process is. At your “debanding” appointment, you will be provided with a photo of your teeth before you had braces so you can compare how your beautiful smile looks now! Before you leave the office to show the world your outstanding smile, we will take a final set of Orthodontic Records. We will also make you a set of retainers to hold your teeth in position. Your First Choice Dental orthodontist will decide which retainer is best for you and will prescribe a protocol for wearing your retainers. Most patients are advised that they should wear their retainers indefinitely in some capacity. The general rule is "wear your retainers for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight".

Questions? Contact Our Orthodontic Team
Schedule your free consultation now, or give us a call. If you have any questions at all about the First Choice Dental Orthodontics process, please call our ortho team at any time at (608) 848-0820 and we'll put you in touch with an orthodontist or treatment coordinator who can answer your questions right away!