What does orthodontic treatment involve?

First and foremost, orthodontic treatment involves the patient.  To achieve the desired results, the patient must diligently follow the orthodontist's instructions about wearing orthodontic appliances and practice good dental hygiene.  With braces, certain foods, like peanut brittle, caramels and bubble gum are off limits - as is chewing ice.

The orthodontist proves custom-made braces, retainers or other corrective appliances, according to the problem being treated.  Whether they're removable or "fixed" into the mouth, whether they're made of metal, ceramic or plastic, all orthodontic appliances have a common purpose - to use gentle pressure to move teeth and jaws into their proper positions.  Today's patients benefit from techniques and materials that enhance the comfort of orthodontic treatment.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

Although every case is different, generally speaking, patients wear braces from one to three years.  Treatment times vary with factors that include the severity of the problem being corrected and how well the patient follows the orthodontist's instructions.

After the braces are removed, most patients wear a retainer for some time to keep or "retain" the teeth in their new positions.  The orthodontist will determine how long the retainer needs to be worn.  Most patients remain under their orthodontist's supervision during the retention phase to ensure that the teeth stay properly aligned.