Does the orthodontist put braces on the first appointment?

No, braces are not put on during the first visit with the orthodontist. There are some steps that are taken during initial appointments before braces are actually applied. Before putting on braces, visit your family's dentist for a cleaning and exam. Ask your orthodontist how long before your appointment you should get the braces you should have at your dentist appointment.

Dental visits should continue at least every six months during treatment, or more frequently, if recommended. If you usually take an antibiotic before visits to the dentist, be sure to tell your orthodontist, who will tell you if prior medication is recommended before your appointment to place braces. Also, tell your orthodontist about any allergies you have, especially any allergies to metals, including nickel. Your first meeting with the orthodontist will be the consultation.

He will analyze your teeth and determine what needs to be done to straighten them or if you would even benefit from orthodontic treatment. While many people would benefit from having straighter teeth, and in fact do, there are some situations where a person's teeth are straight enough and braces would be an unnecessary expense. The orthodontist will examine your teeth and do x-rays and determine the best plan of action. During this meeting, you can also make a cast of your teeth to better design your treatment.

Your orthodontist or a member of the orthodontist's staff will tell you about brushing, flossing, toothpaste, rinses and other hygiene tools for your teeth, as well as any special instructions on cleaning your aligners. At the end of the consultation, a member of the team will explain how to brush your teeth and floss your teeth with braces, review what foods you should avoid (hard, sticky, and chewable) so that the appliances don't break, and what to do if you have any difficulty with braces. About a week before braces are placed, the orthodontist may insert “spacers” between the back molars. This experience will also be very different for people who opt for Invisalign instead of traditional braces, since less is required to obtain the trays than to obtain the brackets and cables.

While the orthodontist can discuss some of the basics of brace care during the consultation, he'll likely delve into how to brush your teeth, what type of toothpaste to use, and can even provide special toothbrushes to make it easier to clean your teeth and supports. The teeth are then prepared for cement and then the brackets are placed, according to predetermined positions, designed by the orthodontist. Your orthodontist will likely give you some sets of aligners and instruct you to wear them for a week or two before changing them to the next. Knowing exactly what's going to happen and how to handle it is a great way to alleviate some of that anxiety and make sure you're properly prepared for your new braces.

Because more people visit the dentist regularly than an orthodontist on a regular basis, it is usually the dentist who examines the patient's teeth and recommends that they see an orthodontist. Depending on the type of braces you are going to use, the wire can be attached to the tooth with a clip integrated into the holder (“self-ligating appliances”) or by a series of small elastic bands called “ligatures”, which come in many colors. Orthodontists start with a semicircle of wire, cut it to the correct length, and sometimes insert curves or twists into the wire to create a lever over the teeth, helping them move faster to the correct position. During an adjustment, the orthodontist removes the wire, bends it again, or inserts a new one, often using the old wire as a guide.


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