What Are the Steps in Orthodontic Treatment?

Two women who have completed the steps in orthodontic treatment.

It can be hard to feel your best when you’re self-conscious about your teeth. In fact, studies from the American Dental Association reveal that more than 20% of US adults today:

  • Avoid smiling due to the condition of their teeth,
  • Feel embarrassed about their smile’s appearance, or
  • Experience anxiety in public due to how their teeth look.

Thankfully, modern orthodontics has made it easier than ever to obtain a perfect smile. Aided by digital tools, improved hardware, and cutting-edge treatment methods, forward-thinking practices like Beverly Hills Orthodontics can correct alignment issues with speed, accuracy, and comfort. But what exactly does treatment entail?

Below, we take a look at the different steps in orthodontic treatment, beginning with the initial consultation and ending with the final retention phase. Read through to gain a better understanding of the orthodontic process, and once you’re ready to undergo treatment for yourself, contact one of BHO’s four Los Angeles offices to schedule a consultation.

The First Step in Orthodontic Treatment: Attend a Consultation

As you may expect, the first step in orthodontic treatment is attending a consultation with your orthodontist.

Your first orthodontic appointment sets the stage for your entire treatment process. During this appointment, you will meet your orthodontist, fill out the proper forms, and undergo an examination to ensure that you are healthy enough for orthodontic treatment. After these steps, your orthodontist will:

  • Capture digital scans of your oral anatomy
  • Create a 3-D model of your dentition via dental software
  • Use the computer-generated model to determine treatment options

Once these steps are complete, your orthodontist will be able to answer important questions like:

Together, you and your orthodontist will then determine which treatment path will work best for your medical needs and lifestyle.

The Second Step in Orthodontic Treatment: Begin Active Treatment

Following your consultation, you can begin the active treatment stage of orthodontics.

At this stage, your orthodontist will use either Invisalign aligners, braces, or a similar orthodontic appliance to begin realigning your teeth. Generally speaking, the active alignment stage takes around 12-30 months to complete. Treatment duration is influenced by factors such as:

  • What type of misalignment is being corrected
  • How severe the misalignment is
  • Which treatment method your orthodontist is using to move your teeth

For those looking for a shorter treatment period, accelerated orthodontics can reduce treatment times by a significant amount. Accelerated orthodontic procedures and oral devices are available to qualifying patients.

During active treatment, you will need to periodically visit your orthodontist’s office to ensure that progress is going as planned. For patients with braces, these appointments are required every 4-6 weeks so that the orthodontist can properly adjust how much pressure the braces are applying to the teeth. If you’re undergoing Invisalign treatment, however, you don’t have to visit the orthodontist nearly as often because Invisalign aligners come in bulk sets.

As active treatment progresses, you can discuss with your orthodontist how frequent your appointments should be.

The Third Step in Orthodontic Treatment: Retain Results

The third and final step in orthodontic treatment is retention.

Once your braces are off or you’ve finished progressing through your Invisalign sets, your perfect smile will be in place. To keep it in place, it’s essential that you use a retainer as instructed by your orthodontist. Today, there are three major types of retainers:

  • Hawley retainers, i.e. traditional removable retainers
  • Essix retainers, which resemble Invisalign clear aligners
  • Permanent retainers, which are made of metal and permanently bonded to the back of teeth

With guidance from your orthodontist, you will be able to choose from these options once active treatment is complete. As long as you use your retainer as directed, you will be able to preserve your new and improved smile for life.

Dr. Madan with patient.

Ready to Take the First Steps in Orthodontic Treatment?

Completing the steps in orthodontic treatment is easy when you have a trusted orthodontist at your side. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, our team is staffed with experts that are dedicated to providing the best patient experience possible.

With locations in Beverly Hills/Century City, Toluca Lake, Alhambra, and Downtown Los Angeles, BHO is recognized as one of the top Invisalign providers in the country. Led by Dr. Monica Madan, Beverly Hills Orthodontics uses Invisalign, conventional braces, and other orthodontic appliances to create custom treatment plans that meet the unique needs of each patient. If you’re interested in hearing what it would take to obtain a perfect smile, schedule a consultation with BHO today.

Want to learn more about the steps in orthodontic treatment? Call or text us at 310-785-0770 or visit our contact page to book an appointment.