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The Braces Timeline

If you’re one of the 4 million people who’ve opted for braces as treatment for your smile and bite problems, you know that it can be a long commitment.  

While some can solve their worst problems in just six months, people typically wear braces for about 22 months on average. Some wear braces for as long as 30 months to completely address their concerns.  

Before you devote that much time to your teeth, it’s best to understand exactly what the next months and even years have in store for you.  

At LM Orthodontics, our team of expert orthodontists specialize in giving you confidence in your smile and supporting your oral health with tried-and-true treatments like braces. But above all, we’re dedicated to giving you a complete picture of what to expect so you can celebrate milestones and have the end goal in sight. 

Brace yourself — here’s everything you need to know about your orthodontic journey. 

Step one: The evaluation

Your first experience with braces begins long before metal is involved. You meet with one of our experts to assess your bite, alignment, and spacing issues. 

Expect to go through various examinations like X-rays and a bite analysis. We may recommend you seek additional dental care to address certain issues like cavities or extractions as preparation for braces. 

After determining that braces are your best option, we give you some choices.  

We understand that sometimes braces can get in the way of your normal routine, especially if you have to wear them for a long time. That’s why we offer a wide range of braces options to fit your lifestyle and needs.  

For example, you can choose to have traditional metal braces placed on the outside of your teeth, clear braces that aren’t as noticeable, lingual braces, which are placed on the backside of your teeth, or self-ligating braces, which don’t require elastic bands. 

Step two: Getting your braces

The day has arrived. It’s time to get your braces. Be sure to give your teeth a good brushing and flossing before you leave for your appointment. 

This appointment is painless but may take a while to correctly and securely apply your braces. 

Our orthodontist places a device in your mouth to keep it dry and hold your tongue in place.  

We dry your teeth and prepare them for bonding by applying an etchant to the surface. A special adhesive holds your braces in place and is then dried and hardened with a special curing light.  

Finally, the arch wire is fed through the braces and tightened. This is when we insert the elastic bands, unless you’ve chosen self-ligating braces. 

Step three: Living with your braces

Your clock has officially started. After 4-8 weeks, you head back to our office for an adjustment and progress check. 

For the first few months, the focus is mainly on correcting your alignment. Once those issues have been addressed, we set our sights on adjusting your bite to a more natural position.  

You keep coming back for follow-up appointments until the end of your treatment. This is where you can ask questions, discuss concerns, or do something more fun, like switch up the color of your braces.  

In between these appointments, it’s your job to keep up your oral hygiene routine and follow our care guidelines.

Step four: The last appointment

Whether it was only six months or a full two and a half years, one thing’s for sure — your final appointment will be a breeze. Taking off your braces and removing the residue left over from the bonding material shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes. 

You leave with shiny teeth and a perfect smile!

Step five: Maintaining your results

You’ve gone through so much to get the smile you’ve dreamed of, but you have to put in just a little more work to make sure it stays that way. We set you up with a retainer to help your teeth remember their new position, as they’ll be tempted to shift back to their old ways. 

All you have to do is follow our retainer guidelines, wear them when you’re directed to, and care for them to have a great smile that lasts much longer than your braces did. 

Don’t be dismayed by a lengthy braces process. Our experts are here to support you every step of the way and make the process as painless and effortless as possible from your first consultation to the day we take off your braces. 

If you have more questions or would like to get started with an evaluation, call our office in McLean, Virginia.

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