Orthodontic treatment and your road to a winning smile typically entails three stages – the Planning Stage, Active Stage, and Retention Stage. Remember – treatments generally take between six to thirty months to complete, though treatment time largely depends of the classification of the problem, the type of orthodontic devices used to correct it, and the perseverance of the patient!
Here is a summary of the three stages:
Stage 1 – Planning Stage
Dr. Kierl makes an exact diagnosis in order to realign the teeth in the most effective and expedient way. His assessment comprises the following evaluations:
- Medical and dental evaluations – Dental and physical problems tend to go hand in hand. Problems in the oral cavity can lead to (or be caused by) medical problems. The goal of this evaluation is to ensure that prior medical and dental issues are completely under control before treatment begins.
- Digital study models – Dr. Michael Kierl no longer takes the old fashion impressions for study models. The patient’s teeth are scanned with a digital scanner. Digital study models enable the Dr. Michael Kierl to scrutinize the position of each tooth, and how it relates to the other teeth.
- Panoramic X-rays – X-rays are fantastic tools for viewing potential complications, X-rays also allow Dr. Kierl to see the exact position of each tooth and its corresponding root(s).
- Computer generated images – These allow Dr. Kierl to examine how specific treatments may affect the shape of the face and symmetry of the jaw.
- Digital photographs – Many orthodontists like to take “before, during and after” photographs of the face and teeth to assess how treatment is progressing, and the impact the treatment is having on the patient’s face shape.
Stage 2 – Active Stage
Next, Dr. Kierl will recommend custom orthodontic device(s) to gently move the teeth into proper alignment. This orthodontic appliance may be fixed or removable. Most commonly, traditional fixed braces are affixed, which utilizes individual dental brackets connected by an archwire. Lingual braces are also fixed, but fit on the inside (tongue side) of the teeth to make them less visible.
Whatever the orthodontic device, Dr. Kierl will regularly adjust it to ensure adequate and continual pressure is being applied to the teeth. It is essential to visit our office at the designated intervals and to call if part of the device breaks or becomes damaged.
Stage 3 – Retention Stage
When the teeth have been correctly aligned, fixed braces and removable devices will be removed and discontinued. The most cumbersome part of the orthodontic treatment is now over. Next, Dr. Michael Kierl creates a custom retainer. The goal of the retainer is to ensure that the teeth do not begin to shift back to their original positions. Retainers need to be worn for a specified amount of time per day for a specified time period. During the retention phase, the jawbone will reform around the realigned teeth to help toward stabilizing them in the correct alignment. However, due to a variety of factors, Dr. Michael Kierl will never instruct a patient to discontinue retainer wear.
If you have questions or are ready to schedule a consultation with the team at “the Home of the Winning Smile,” please contact our office today.