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The 5 steps of the orthodontic journey (in Vilafranca / near Barcelona)

Updated: Mar 27

You've just found out that you need an orthodontic treatment or you've been thinking about it for a while?

Here's what you need to know about your orthodontic journey, from the first appointment with your orthodontist to…well, the rest of your life as a proud owner of a beautiful and healthy smile.


1. The first visit to the orthodontist

You get here either because you yourself have asked to see the orthodontist, or because you were recommended an orthodontics check-up by your dentist, who noticed there's something wrong with your bite or your teeth's alignment, that could further damage your oral health.


During the first orthodontic visit you will be asked several questions regarding the way you see the problem that got you here. The orthodontist will want to know if you have any pain in your muscles or joints, chewing, breathing or speaking issues or if it's just the aesthetic aspect that's bothering you.

After that, the orthodontist will examine your teeth, your bite, your joints, your muscles, the way you swallow and the way you speak.

Depending on what he finds out at this point, the orthodontist might recommend anything from a simple cleaning to more complex treatments or therapies before even considering starting the actual ortho treatment.

The reason for this is the fact that teeth, bones, muscles and joints need to be in a stable state of health before any movements are made, otherwise the orthodontic treatment becomes longer, more risky and with less predictable results.

So after this initial evaluation, two options might arise: either you need to undergo one or more dental procedures before you can start your ortho treatment, or you're good to go to the next step, the treatment planning.

If the latter is your case, your next stop is called dental records acquisition. Keep that in mind, as we'll talk more about it shortly.


2. The orthodontic treatment planning


This is an essential step in achieving the desired result - your beautiful and healthy smile.

Planning the treatment means that the orthodontist identifies first the existing problems, then the desired outcome and then the ways and means to get from "what is" to "what will it be like".

In order to plan the treatment you need, which is characteristic only to you and and your teeth's issues, the orthodontist needs to have available the most complete representation of your unique situation on his desk.

What does that mean?

It means that he needs to be able to "replicate" your mouth's characteristics without you being present so that's where dental records come in.

Basic dental records are: models of your teeth, photos and radiographs. Additionally, depending on each patient's situation, further records might be mandatory, such as CT scans, MRI, more complex registrations of the bite or joints' position. Without these, there's no way to plan the treatment.

Depending on different factors, like your orthodontist's preferences, the timing, the dental clinic's possibilities, this dental records acquiring process will take place in the dental clinic or in a specific radiology premises.


After the orthodontist has all these records available he can make all the necessary measurements and calculations needed for planning the treatment. This is a complex task and of uttermost importance. Literally everything needs to be taken into account - your teeth's position, shapes and dimensions, the characteristics of the bone, the relationship between the teeth and the bone in terms of position and implantation, your gingiva and oral tissues, your lips and tongue, the shape of your face and profile, the way your teeth show when you smile, and so on and so forth… So you shouldn't expect your treatment plan to be available very soon, neither free of charge - on the contrary, any of these two should be a "red flag" for you.


3. The orthodontic treatment plan presentation (a.k.a. "The Talk")


When the treatment plan is ready, you will meet again with the orthodontist. He will explain everything he found out about the way things are and about the ways to get to the desired outcome, what types of appliances are recommended, advantages and disadvantages of each, what you should expect in terms of treatment duration, evolution and costs.

He will answer your questions (don't worry, you are expected and welcomed to have a lot of those) and the best thing you can do at this point is to ask as much as you feel the need to, so that everything is as clear to you as possible, so you can make the right decision

After this appointment, things should be clear enough for you to make a choice. If they're not, and you find yourself at home with more questions than before, you should ask for another appointment or talk on the phone with your orthodontist to get things clear.

4. The actual beginning of the orthodontic treatment (day 1)


This is the day when you receive your appliance. This appointment can last between 30 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the type of appliance used. This is when you will also receive information about the proper way to take care of your appliance and your teeth and about what you can expect during the adjustment period. Some types of appliances will function in such a way that you need to "activate" them at home - the doctor will show you how.

The best way to describe the sensation you will have on this day is new and odd, but you'll see that you'll adapt quickly.

Your orthodontist will answer your new set of questions and together you'll schedule your next appointment.


5. The following appointments


You will meet with your orthodontist on a regular basis, usually every month, but depending on the type of appliance and the stage of the treatment, the frequency of your appointments can vary between 2 and 8 weeks.

These appointments can be either check-ups (the orthodontist ckecks how the treatment is going, if everything is in it's place and he gives you info about what you need to do and about your next appointment) or activations (besides the checkup, new forces are put to work in order to move your teeth).

Photos, impressions, scans, X-rays, bite registrations or any other dental record can come in necessary at these appointments, in order for your treatment to go as planned.


Arriving to destination - last day of the active treatment


This is the day when your appliance comes off and you can finally enjoy your new smile. Again, expect photos and any other dental records acquiring. But don't even dare to dream this is the last time you'll see your orthodontist, because another phase of the treatment comes along - the retention phase.


The retention - keeping your new smile as it is now


The retention phase is incredibly important for maintaining your new smile as it is. During the active treatment, the teeth are moved, right? But do you know what really happens when they are moved? The forces expressed by the orthodontic appliance act - through the teeth - upon the bone surrounding the teeth in such a way that the bone changes its structure in order to allow this movement. Meaning it becomes…let's say "softer". The bone will return to its normal structure after a few months of stability, a few months of no movement of the teeth through the bone. The day when your appliance comes off is a very special day for you, but the bone doesn't know and doesn't care about that. Its structure is still in the "moving-teeth-mode".

What that means is that ANY force that touches your teeth (chewing, lips or tongue pushing) can change the position of your teeth, as the bone is still soft.

So, for the following months, the orthodontist will recommend some type of appliance that keeps the teeth exactly as they are - called retainers, so the bone has the time to rearrange its structure, in order to become its usual self.

The length of the retention period and the type of retention needed will be decided by the orthodontist depending on the original position of your teeth, the type of treatment you have gone through and the results achieved.


So…these are the main check-points of your orthodontic journey, I hope it was helpful and if you would like to know more about orthodontics, check out the other articles on the orthodontics page of our website.


Before you go

We hope that we succeeded in clarifying how the journey to the orthodontist and the phases of the orthodontic treatment look like.

At our dental and orthodontics clinic in Vilafranca del Penedes (near Barcelona), we offer a wide range of orthodontic treatments for children and adults (with mobile and functional appliances, classic or aesthetic brackets and invisible aligners) and our orthodontists have specialised education and experience that you can rely on.

If you have questions or are thinking about starting your orthodontic treatment in Vilafranca/near Barcelona, give us a call at (+34) 676-34-49-59 or write a message to us here and we’ll make sure to answer your questions or hold your hand during the treatment at our clinic.



About the Author


our orthodoncist Alexandra Manescu

Dr. Alexandra Manescu is a specialist in invisible and clasic orthodontics with over 13 years of experience. She has been an expert in multiple type of treatments: from metalic brackets to invisible aligners. She is our expert in ClearCorrect Strauman Invisible Aligners







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