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A smiling boy, wearing braces.

Getting braces

From the first consult to the final removal, learn what to expect during the process of getting braces.

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The process: working with your orthodontist to achieve your perfect smile

As you get ready for your first appointment, you’ll probably have a lot of questions – and maybe a bit of anxiety. That’s normal.

It’s important to know that every treatment may be different. Your orthodontist will provide a recommendation based on your unique needs. Trust them: your orthodontist has done a lot of specialized training to become an expert in their field.

However, the process of getting braces has a similar structure for everyone.

  • An icon of a patient sitting in a dental chair.

    1. Your orthodontic consultation

    Before your first official appointment, you may have a consultation with your orthodontist. Your orthodontist will evaluate your teeth to determine if braces are right for you. They may also recommend a treatment and timing on when to begin.

  • An icon of a sparkling tooth.

    2. Your pre-braces visit to the dentist

    If you’re going to have braces put on, it’s a good idea to go to the dentist for a professional cleaning first. If you need treatment for other oral care conditions, your orthodontist may recommend taking care of these issues before your braces go on.

  • An icon of a tooth X-ray.

    3. Your first official orthodontist appointment

    Your orthodontist will typically start with taking x-rays and photos of your teeth, mouth, and face. To help them build your braces, your orthodontist will also make an accurate mold of your teeth, using either a tray of soft impression material or a digital scan.

  • An icon of two dental tools: a mirror and scraper.

    4. Getting your braces put on

    After inserting a device to keep your mouth dry and your tongue in place, your orthodontist will dry your teeth, apply an etchant, glue on your brackets, and set it with a light. Finally, the orthodontist will run an archwire through the brackets, and secure them with bands if needed.

  • An icon of a tooth on a calendar.

    5. Follow-up appointments with your orthodontist

    You’ll have routine progress checks every 4-8 weeks. This may include adjustments, like replacing your archwire or bands. It’s normal to feel minor discomfort for a few days afterwards. If you are concerned, ask your orthodontist about pain relief.

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    6. Caring for your braces between check-ups

    Your orthodontist will provide detailed instructions for you to follow during the weeks in between visits. To help prepare you for life with braces, we have helpful tips and FAQs on everything from eating to taking selfies.

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    7. Getting your braces off

    It only takes about 15 minutes to get your braces off! They will leave behind just a trace of the bonding material. Your orthodontist will remove it and polish your teeth until they’re smooth and shiny. They will also make a final, accurate mold of your teeth.

  • An icon of a smile.

    8. After braces: maintain your smile

    Your orthodontist will share specific instructions you should follow after your treatment. You will likely receive a retainer to help your smile keep its shape. If you do, make sure to wear it as instructed. From here, keep brushing and flossing regularly — and show off your new smile!

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Three children with braces, eating popsicles.

Care for your braces while living life to the fullest

Learn about life with braces

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Resources

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Ready to get braces? Book a consult near you.

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