Step 1: The Consultation
At your first Orthodontic visit Dr. Richardson will complete a thorough Orthodontic examination to determine your Orthodontic needs. Our office generally schedules 30 minutes for this appointment to give the doctor ample time to evaluate the patient, as well as answer all of your questions. She may request a special X-ray to help her diagnose the problem. All of the information gathered at the initial exam appointment is forwarded to the patient’s general dentist.
If you are ready to start treatment, Dr. Richardson will be able to provide you with the cost of the treatment, a timeline for how long it will take, and a fee schedule to meet your budget. She will discuss options for achieving the best result, and will show you the braces and appliances she will use for your unique treatment plan. Her treatment coordinator will schedule the series of appointments necessary to get you started, and will provide you with a completed Insurance Predetermination form before you leave the office.
Step 2: Orthodontic Records
Orthodontic records are the next step towards getting your braces! This appointment is approximately one hour long and will include X-rays, a set of dental impressions, and photographs of you and your teeth. Your Orthodontic records are used to diagnose your orthodontic problem more accurately so that Dr. Richardson can design a treatment plan specifically for you.
Before you are dismissed Dr. Richardson will review your X-rays and determine if you have any specific risk factors for Orthodontic treatment. An informed consent form will be provided so that you are aware of the problems you can encounter during your treatment. Our treatment coordinator will guide you through its contents and Dr. Richardson will be available to discuss any questions you may still have regarding your treatment.
Step 3: Getting Your Braces On!
Our office normally schedules for your braces to be placed about two weeks after you have your Orthodontic records taken. This gives Dr. Richardson time to study your records and determine where and how the braces should be placed on your teeth. Because this is such a critical step in the entire process, Dr. Richardson invests time in the smallest details to achieve the best results. On the day that your braces are placed, you can be sure that every detail has been considered, including bracket positioning, bracket prescription, bracket type, and wire selection.
Getting your braces on takes between 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on whether Dr. Richardson decides to place both your upper and lower braces at the same time. One of our highly trained Orthodontic Hygienists will oversee the placement of your appliances, and will answer all of your questions as she walks you through the entire process from beginning to end. Each bracket is carefully positioned on each tooth following the detailed instructions outlined by Dr. Richardson.
The little “doughnuts” that hold the wire into the braces can be as bright and colorful as you wish, or can be clear so that they are invisible against the tooth. While most adults prefer to have clear braces with invisible doughnuts, our adolescent patients have fun with colors and look forward to choosing unique color combinations. In fact, they can change their colors at every adjustment appointment, which is usually every 6 weeks.
Once your braces are on, you will be given very specific instructions on how to care for your appliances. Keeping the teeth clean and healthy during your treatment, and taking good care of your braces will help your Orthodontic treatment to proceed on schedule. Most of your future visits will be between 15 to 30 minutes in length, and we will try to schedule them at a time of day which is convenient to you.
Step 4 Getting Your Braces Off and Retainers
You may have been anticipating the end of your Orthodontic Treatment during the last few visits, and now Dr. Richardson has said that it is time to get your braces off. Our office will schedule you for the next available appointment. It is important that you make arrangements with you Dentist to have a good cleaning, check-up, and fluoride treatment following the removal of your braces.
Removing your braces will only take us about 90 minutes and you will be pleased at how easy and comfortable the process is. At this appointment you will be provided with a photo of your teeth before you had braces, and you will be able to compare to how your beautiful smile looks now!
Before you leave the office to show the world your outstanding smile, we will need to take a final set of Orthodontic Records. We will also make you a set of retainers to hold your teeth into their final position. Dr. Richardson will decide which retainer is best for you, and she 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”.