Orthodontic Treatment Phases
Our orthodontists use tried and true methods to make your teeth straight and your jaw healthy. Usually orthodontic treatments have two or three distinct phases. Correcting misaligned teeth makes your smile more beautiful and makes biting, chewing, and speaking easier. Visit our Upper West Side dentist office to correct your malocclusion.
There are several types of bite irregularities, including:
Overbite – The upper teeth protrude further than or completely cover the lower teeth.
Underbite – The lower teeth protrude further than the upper teeth causing the chin to look prominent.
Crossbite – Some of the upper teeth may close inside the lower teeth rather than on the outside.
Overcrowding – Insufficient room on the arch causes some adult teeth to erupt incorrectly and become rotated.
The Phases of Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontic treatment generally takes six to thirty months to complete, depending upon the type and severity of the irregularity being treated.
Phase 1 – The Planning Stage
Our orthodontists work with you to create a personalized treatment plan, starting with an exact diagnosis, which is key to an effective and efficient realignment of the teeth. In the first few visits, the orthodontist completes evaluations such as:
Medical and dental evaluations – Dental problems are often related to other medical problems. The orthodontist completes this evaluation to ensure your treatment will not be negatively affected by prior medical issues.
Bite Impressions – The orthodontist may take impressions of your teeth by having you bite into a special gel that hardens around the teeth. The orthodontist then removes the trays and creates models that allow them to study the position of each tooth and the relationships between the teeth.
Panoramic X-Rays – The orthodontist can use x-rays to check the exact position and degree of damage of every tooth, the roots of the teeth, and the jaw.
Computer generated images – Such images allow the orthodontist to treatment plan and examine how specific treatments may affect the shape of the face and symmetry of the jaw.
Photographs – Many orthodontists like to take before, during, and after photographs of the face and teeth to assess how treatment is progressing and the impact the treatment is having on the patient’s face shape.
Phase 2 – The Active Phase
Diagnostic tools like the ones above will be used to develop a customized treatment plan for the patient. Using the information gathered during the diagnosis and evaluations, the orthodontist will recommend custom fixed and/or removable orthodontic devices to gradually and gently move the teeth into proper alignment. Many treatments may include traditional fixed braces.
Removable devices such as Invisalign, headgear, and face masks may be used instead of to regular braces. These devices are designed to be worn for a specified amount of time each day to expedite treatment.
The orthodontist will regular adjust whichever orthodontic device you have, ensuring the correct amount of pressure is being used to move the teeth. It's essential to keep your regularly scheduled orthodontist appointments at our Upper West Side dentist office to keep your orthodontic treatment on schedule! You should also call our dentist office in the case of any emergencies, including broken or damaged orthodontic appliances.
Phase 3: The Retention Phase
When the teeth have been correctly aligned, fixed braces and removable devices will be removed and discontinued. The hardest part is over! The orthodontist will next create a custom retainer to ensure that the teeth stay in their new, ideal positions. Please follow your orthodontist's instructions and wear your retainer as directed. At the end of treatment, enjoy your straight teeth, beautiful smile, and healthy bite!
If you have any questions about orthodontic treatments, please contact our Upper West Side dentist office at 212-799-5310.