What to Expect


New Patients

A proper diagnosis is needed to plan a good treatment. The initial examination with records usually takes +/- 1 hour and the appointment will be scheduled in the morning.

  • We will need 2-3 X-rays to show all teeth, tooth roots, the bone, jaw, alignment, tooth angulations adenoids, sinuses and an indication of growth left. Tumours, impacted teeth, extra teeth etc often show upon these x-rays that one cannot see with the naked eye!

  • A set of before treatment photos will be taken to use as a record and later allow comparison with your after treatment photos.

  • Impressions to make plaster models will help me to do more detailed space measurements and are often taken.

With the help of these records I will make a diagnosis, classify the case, prepare a treatment plan and also write a motivation for the treatment with the list of problems that can be submitted for your medical aid.

Banding/Fitting of Braces

If you decide to continue with the treatment proposed, we will set up (usually 2) appointments:
A short appointment to place separator elastics between the back teeth. This might be rather uncomfortable for a day or 2 but needs to create a little space for us to fit metal bands/rings as anchors on the back teeth.
The fitting of braces a week later takes, with the patient's cooperation, an hour and a half and is NOT TO WORRY about. The procedure is NOT painful.
The teeth will be polished, bands fitted and braces stuck to the tooth surfaces while using retractors to keep the lips and tongue away and the areas dry. Next we slip a thin wire (to start with) through the slots on the brackets and fasten the wire with the colour of elastics you choose. We will explain how to brush, what to eat and what to avoid as well as what to do when braces poke or rub against your cheeks at the start of treatment.
You may need a little wax (that we will provide) for the first week and only some patients need to take a painkiller.

Follow-up appointments

Treatment with fixed appliances usually lasts from 12 up to 18 months but sometimes longer. The patient's cooperation wearing elastics and headgear as prescribed, brushing very well and carefully looking after the appliances is very important in the overall success and length of treatment.
Follow up appointments are 6 weekly except if indicated differently. New elastic colours can be chosen at these appointments. These elastics are also called "donuts" in our office.
If you do contact sport, a guard should be worn. The dentist should also be visited on a regular 6 monthly basis during your orthodontic treatment for normal dental checkups.

Debanding /removal of braces and retention phase

We remove the braces when the teeth are well aligned and in a good stable position. Most patients will thereafter need retainers (fixed wires at the back of the teeth, see through mouth guard type of appliances or removable plates). The retainers will be prescribed according to what your teeth looked like before the treatment.
This phase is very important to let the teeth settle and keep them well aligned for years to come.
We usually see our patients for another 9 months, but on a less frequent basis.

Copyright Dr A Ackerman 2014
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