Dental anxiety is incredibly common, and not knowing what to expect at your orthodontic appointment can make it seem all the more intimidating.
Thankfully, your first – and future – appointments are nothing to worry about. To help you prepare, here’s what to expect at every step of your journey.
Your first appointment
Your consultation is a chance for you to visit the practice, meet our team and find out how we can help. We’ll have plenty of time, so we’ll take things at a relaxed pace and explain every stage as we go.
Your appointment will include a gentle examination of your smile with specialist orthodontist Dr. Jackie Bracken. We’ll take photos of your face and teeth, and if they’re needed, we’ll take some X-rays, too.
We’ll use our iTero scanner to take digital impressions of your teeth and jaws to show you a 3D preview of your smile after braces.
In the past, we took impressions using a putty-like material called alginate. Some patients found this process uncomfortable if they had a sensitive gag reflex. Thankfully, the iTero scanner is quick and comfortable.
Fitting your braces
Most of our patients want to know what their braces or aligners will feel like – and, most importantly, if they’ll hurt.
Rest assured, fitting your fixed braces will be a pain-free experience. We use indirect bonding to make the process as quick as possible. Instead of attaching brackets to your teeth one by one, we use custom-made transfer trays to fit them simultaneously with the same level of precision.
If you opt for Invisalign aligners, it won’t take more than a few minutes for us to show you how to take your aligners in and out. They can feel a tad tight to begin with but will quickly become more comfortable.
IPR and attachments
If we need to create extra space to help us move your teeth and achieve the best possible outcome, we might recommend interproximal reduction. IPR involves removing tiny amounts of enamel from between your teeth. While this might sound scary, IPR isn’t painful and won’t affect the health of your teeth.
If you choose Invisalign aligners, we may need to fit small attachments to your teeth to help your aligners achieve more complex movements. These tiny dots of composite are very discreet and comfortable to attach and remove.
Adjusting to braces
Whether you choose fixed braces or aligners, you may experience some mild discomfort during the first few days.
Your teeth will feel a little achy as they start to move. You can take over-the-counter painkillers to help, and we recommend sticking to softer foods for the first few days.
Sometimes, braces and aligners can irritate the inside of your cheeks or tongue. It’s like wearing new shoes – you will get used to them, but in the meantime, we’ll give you some wax to shield any troublesome areas.
During your treatment, we’ll see you for regular appointments to check your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your teeth or braces.
Before each appointment, we’ll explain everything that’s about to happen, so you can feel as relaxed as possible.
To avoid unnecessary visits to the practice, we’ll keep in touch between appointments using our DentalMonitoring app. Our team will review photos of your teeth and send you feedback via the app.
You’ll only need to visit us in person every eight weeks if you have fixed braces or every 15 weeks if you choose Invisalign aligners.
Removing your braces
When it’s time to take off your braces, we’ll carefully remove any brackets or attachments using specialist tools that won’t damage your teeth. You might feel some pressure, but you shouldn’t feel any discomfort.
We’ll take new scans of your final smile, which we’ll use to create your retainers. Both removable and fixed retainers are designed to keep your teeth straight and very comfortable.
If you have fixed retainers, it won’t take long for you to forget they’re there.
Dealing with dental phobia
For a small number of patients, dental anxiety can be severe and cause unpleasant symptoms such as a racing heart and panic attacks. If you’re feeling particularly anxious, please let us know.
We can talk through any specific concerns you might have and tailor your treatment to make you feel as comfortable as possible.
You might find it helpful to explore coping strategies such as mindfulness or hypnotherapy.
If you have any questions for our friendly team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.