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You’re ready! It’s time to get the smile you’ve always wanted with orthodontic treatment. Getting the smile of your dreams is more than just getting braces or clear aligners. There is a specific process that includes detailed planning, personalized treatment, and follow-up care to retain the smile you’ve worked so hard to achieve. These three main stages are vital in creating your dream smile and making sure you keep it for years to come. 

Fergus Orthodontics will guide you through these three stages of braces and Invisalign treatment, from your free initial consultation to your last retainer checkup. We will explain what we are doing each step of the way, and we will take your goals and input to heart. Together, we will create the smile of your dreams! 

Fergus Orthodontics Jonesboro Arkansas General Shots 145 - Stages of Braces: Helping Create the Smile You'll Love!

Braces or Invisalign Stage 1: Planning

The first stage of treatment with braces or Invisalign is the most important. It’s the planning stage. This is where we discover your dental issues and create a detailed map toward your ultimate goal — your perfect smile. 

Your treatment begins with your free consultation, which includes a full examination, digital x-rays, and a determination of what type of treatment will be best for your dental needs. Will treatment with Invisalign clear aligners work for you, or would braces be your better option? 

We know many patients prefer treatment with Invisalign because the nearly invisible clear aligners mean your family and friends will hardly notice you’re straightening your teeth. However, braces may be your better option, and we’ll explain to you in detail why that is. We will also offer an alternative — clear braces, which have the same moving power as regular braces, but with ceramic brackets that blend better with the teeth and offer a much lower profile. 

Once we have a detailed plan, it’s time for step two. 

Braces or Invisalign Step 2: Treatment

The next step is a big one — getting your braces or clear aligners! For braces, you’ll come in for a couple of hours while we bond the brackets to your teeth, then connect them with an archwire. The brackets and archwire will slowly move your teeth into their proper positions. 

If you’re coming in for Invisalign, we will use the detailed digital scans to create the Invisalign clear aligners that will use gentle pressure to move your teeth into their proper positions. At your initial fitting, we will ensure your Invisalign trays fit correctly. We will give you a set of trays that you will switch out in a specific order every 1-2 weeks. 

You may notice a bit of tenderness and soreness in your mouth the first few days after getting your braces or clear aligners. This is perfectly normal and can be relieved by swishing warm salt water in your mouth a couple of times a day. You can also take an over-the-counter painkiller if needed. The soreness is from your teeth suddenly being told to move. It should go away after a few days. 

Your braces or clear aligners will slowly move your teeth where they need to go throughout your treatment. You’ll visit us every few weeks for checkups where you’ll get braces adjustments or new sets of clear aligners. After an adjustment, you might have minor discomfort, but your mouth will get used to your braces or Invisalign pretty quickly. Most of the time, you won’t even pay attention to them being there. 

Once your teeth are where they should be, it will be time for the final stage — getting your braces or Invisalign off and getting your retainers. 

Braces and Invisalign Stage 3: Retaining Your New Smile

You may think that once the braces or Invisalign do their jobs, that’s the end. You get them off your teeth, and you’re good to go, right? Not quite. Now that you have your perfect smile, you’ll want to keep it, and retainers are the best way to do that. 

Over the last several months, your braces or clear aligners have been moving your teeth. This happens because the bone around them breaks down, then rebuilds itself after they move. It takes time for this process to kick in, which is why your mouth is a bit sore the first week of braces or clear aligners. It also takes time for this process to stop. That means your teeth will keep moving once the braces or Invisalign trays are off. Further movement will ruin that perfect new smile if they’re already straight. 

That’s where your retainers come in. Retainers hold your teeth in place, preventing them from moving while your jaw learns to stop breaking down and rebuilding. Over the next several months, your jaw stops allowing movement of the teeth and hardens again. This will hold your teeth in place, though the slight movement is still possible over time, which is why we encourage retainer use throughout your lifetime. The good news is, after the first few months, you can usually drop the amount of use down to overnight. 

You will wear your retainers almost all the time for the first 3-6 months while your jaw hardens. This is when your teeth are most prone to movement, which is why it’s so important to wear your retainers as prescribed. They can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. Otherwise, they should be worn, including while you sleep. After the first few months, we’ll evaluate your teeth to see if it’s time to reduce your wearing of retainers from 22 hours to 8 hours a day. 

There are three main types of retainers:

  • Hawley Retainers: These are the most common and tried-and-true retainers. They are made of plastic with wires that fit over the teeth to hold them in place. 
  • Clear Retainers: Sometimes called Essix retainers, these look like Invisalign clear aligners. The custom-molded plastic fits over all of your teeth and holds them in place. 
  • Permanent Retainers: These are bonded to the back of your front teeth to hold them in place. Permanent retainers can’t be lost, but they make flossing more difficult and tarter harder to control. 

Your retainers are included with your treatment plan, but be careful! Losing or damaging your retainers could mean replacements are needed, and those can be costly. 

Braces Treatment in Jonesboro, AR

So you’re ready for orthodontic treatment? Fantastic! If you’re in the Jonesboro, AR, area, you can get started by contacting Fergus Orthodontics and scheduling your free consultation. We’ll work up a customized plan for your unique needs and present our suggestions to you. We’ll answer any questions you have. We’ll also discuss your financing options and how we can make your treatment affordable to you. 

Getting braces or Invisalign is a huge step in improving your oral health and your overall health. Fergus Orthodontics will guide you through the stages of braces and help you reach your goal — getting the smile of your dreams!

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