Walton & Maready Orthodontics Blog

Straightening Teeth:

There are many reasons for having straight teeth … a confident smile, an improved bite, reduction of tooth wear, better dental hygiene. Whatever the reason, you have choices when it comes to accomplishing this. Your first step in reaching this goal is a consultation with your orthodontist in Raleigh.

The process of straightening teeth varies depending on the type of method you choose. Here, we will discuss traditional braces and clear aligners.

Straightening Teeth With Traditional Braces

The first step to getting your most confident smile is to make an appointment with one of our experienced orthodontists. You’ll have a free evaluation and X-rays will be taken. Your orthodontist will discuss your goals and your lifestyle to help you make the right choice in the type of braces you’ll wear.

Once you have decided on your orthodontic treatment plan, your first appointment will be when an assistant takes molds of your teeth and photographs for reference. They’ll take these again at the end of the treatment, and it’s fun to see just how much has changed.

If you choose traditional braces, brackets will be adhered to your teeth and metal wires (archwires) will be placed through these brackets and held in place by elastic O-rings. Your orthodontist can put springs at strategic places along the archwire to push, pull, open or close the spaces between your teeth. The brackets are placed in such a way that once the archwire is installed, gentle, constant pressure is exerted on the teeth over a period of time. This moves the teeth slowly. As the teeth move, the bony socket that holds the tooth in place and attaches it to the jaw bone is able to adapt to its new position. You will have appointments with your orthodontist every 6-8 weeks to check on your progress and to adjust or change springs and archwires to accomplish each phase of your treatment.

The single best indicator for success, in the time frame that the orthodontist prescribed, is patient compliance. When wearing traditional braces, you have to take extra care in cleaning your teeth. You have to watch what you eat. You may have to wear any additional appliances (like headgear or rubber bands) for the prescribed amount of time each day. Following the doctor’s direction will help ensure that your smile will be exactly what you want it to be!

At the end of treatment, when it’s time to remove the braces, an assistant will use a special tool to take the brackets off of your teeth. They will then make sure there aren’t any traces of adhesive left and then polish them up! You’ll get some pictures taken (and the molds again) and then you get to celebrate! Finally, you’ll learn about how you should wear your retainers. Retainers hold the teeth in place because teeth are always moving, believe it or not. This is a critical step in your treatment and will maintain that beautiful smile for many, many years to come!

Straightening Teeth With Clear Aligners

If during your free consultation with our orthodontists in Cary and Raleigh, NC, you come to the decision that clear aligners are the way to go, you’ll set up your first treatment appointment.

As with traditional braces, you’ll have molds and pictures of your teeth taken. The clear aligners will be made from these molds with small differences in each subsequent aligner. You will generally wear each set of aligners for approximately two weeks, and the total number of aligners will be determined by the issues that you are trying to fix.

Since the aligners are slightly different than how your teeth are currently positioned in your mouth, the same constant, gentle pressure that the archwire delivers in traditional braces is provided by the aligner. You will receive a couple of months of aligners at a time and will work through them independently. This will mean fewer check-ups at the office.

Again, the best indicator of success is patient compliance. You will have to wear the aligners for about 22 hours a day. You have to remove them when eating or drinking (this also means there are no limitations to what you can eat or drink!), so keeping them safe is important. The aligners are medical-grade plastic and can warp or discolor if you wear them while eating or drinking.

Once you’ve worked your way through all of the prescribed aligners, it’s time to celebrate that beautiful smile! Pictures and molds will be taken so you can see how much your smile has changed. You will also receive instructions on how to wear your retainer because regardless of the method used to straighten your teeth, they are always moving and the retainers help keep them in the desired alignment.

Straightening teeth can be a complex or simple process depending on what issues you are presenting with or trying to fix. Our orthodontists in Cary and Raleigh, NC, will help you decide the best option for straightening your teeth to accomplish your beautiful, healthy smile.