Orthodontic Treatment Stages: A Guide to Understanding Planning, Displacement and Retention

Understanding the stages of orthodontics will help you plan a lot better and know what to expect from your progress.

Orthodontics is the harmonious combination of the functionality of the mouth and the aesthetics of the smile. It is a delicate and precise process, where the orthodontists use several tools and treatments to achieve a healthy and straight smile.

The most common appliances are traditional metal or ceramic braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners. All of these treatments slowly and gently move your teeth into their correct positions while also addressing bite issues. Once you complete your orthodontic care, you will find it easier to clean your teeth, speak clearly, and eat more comfortably.

Why Is Orthodontic Treatment Important?

When we think of orthodontics, we usually picture a perfect smile; however, this discipline goes beyond the aesthetics of the teeth and mouth. Orthodontic appliances also benefit oral health and functionality. Let’s talk about why orthodontic treatment is essential:

Enhancing Oral Hygiene:

Orthodontic treatment makes it easier to maintain proper oral hygiene; this happens because straight teeth are easier to clean. If you have crooked or crowded teeth, it can be more difficult to clean all surfaces correctly, increasing the risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.

Correcting Teeth Alignment:

The main purpose of orthodontic appliances is to correct the alignment of the jaws and teeth. Once the teeth are in their correct positions, the upper teeth and lower teeth will fit better when you bite or chew. As a result, it will improve the functionality of your mouth.

Improving Speech Abilities:

Sometimes, misalignment in teeth and jaws can negatively affect speech clarity. However, correcting their positions can help you solve these problems, allowing you to improve your speech abilities and speak more fluently.

When to Start Orthodontic Treatment?

Usually, dental professionals recommend starting treatment as early as possible. This is why orthodontic treatment is more common in kids and teenagers. However, there is no age restriction for when you can begin your process. So, it doesn’t matter your age; you still have the opportunity to achieve the smile of your dreams. Here are some factors to consider depending on your age:

Early Treatment for Children:

Orthodontists recommend that children have their first assessment by the age of 7. This early evaluation can help you understand potential dental issues and how to address them before they become more complicated.

Treatment for Teenagers:

The teenage years are a great time to start treatment since most permanent teeth have already erupted. This allows orthodontists to create and implement more precise treatment plans and catch dental problems before they get more complex.

Orthodontics for Adults:

Orthodontic treatment for adults can be highly effective; however, it may take more time and effort to address dental issues. But once you get your perfect smile, you will know it was worth the wait! In addition, there are other orthodontic options that can suit a more mature lifestyle, like removable aligners or clear braces.

How Long Do Braces Take to Straighten Teeth for Adults?

Actually, there is no definitive answer to this question since the duration of treatment depends on the specific case of each patient. In addition, several factors can influence the time it takes to achieve a perfectly aligned smile, such as age, compliance, and the severity of the issue.


Typically, younger patients may obtain faster results because their bones are still growing, which facilitates tooth movement. Adults can also achieve great results. However, it may take more time. So, you just need to be a little more patient!


If you don’t follow all of your orthodontist’s instructions and recommendations, you may extend the duration of your treatment. Remember that compliance is everything in this kind of treatment.

The severity of the Issue

Another crucial factor is the severity of the dental issue. For instance, orthodontic treatment can correct mild to moderate alignment issues more quickly than more severe cases.

What Will Happen if Braces Move Your Teeth Too Fast?

While it’s important to complete orthodontic treatment within a reasonable period of time, you need to understand that moving teeth too fast can have adverse effects, including:

Discomfort and Pain:

Fast movements of the teeth can produce discomfort and pain in the patient.

Unstable Results:

If braces move your teeth too fast, the orthodontic treatment may produce unstable results. As a consequence, teeth are more likely to relapse or shift back to their original positions.

But don’t worry! Orthodontists are professionals who carefully plan the rate of tooth movement and monitor the progress of treatment to avoid moving teeth too fast.

What Are the Stages of Orthodontic Treatment?

We can divide orthodontic treatment into three common stages, which include the planning phase, the active stage, and retention. Let’s explore this further:

Planning Stage of Braces:

In this stage, you will have your initial consultation, where the orthodontist will examine your mouth and take dental impressions or X-rays. Then, the dental professional will explain the treatment options and will create a detailed treatment plan to address your specific issues.

Active Stage of Braces:

In this phase, the actual orthodontic treatment takes place. This means that your orthodontist will attach the appliances to your teeth or give you a series of aligner trays for you to wear, depending on the option of treatment that you choose. Then, you will have regular adjustments, and the orthodontist will monitor your progress in follow-up appointments.

At What Speed Are My Teeth Moving If I Have Braces?

Ideally, your teeth should move at a rate of one millimeter per month; this is the fastest speed of movement that allows your teeth to reposition effectively and safely. Remember that orthodontic treatment takes several months to a few years to achieve the correct outcome.

Retention Stage of Braces:

Once you achieve a straight smile, you need to wear retainers to maintain your teeth in their new positions. During this phase, you will continue to visit your orthodontist for follow-up appointments to make sure your new smile remains stable.

How Long Does Retention Last?

Well, the retention stage can last for several months to a few years. In some cases, orthodontists may recommend that you wear your retainers during the night for a long time, maybe years. It is important to wear your appliances for the time your doctor indicates. This is the only way you can maintain your beautiful smile!

Why More Adults Are Getting Orthodontic Treatment?

Nowadays, it is very common to find adults considering orthodontic treatment. If you think about it, you have more options to choose what kind of orthodontic appliance you want. For instance, Invisalign is a discreet and comfortable option to address your dental issues without interfering with your appearance. In addition, the benefits of clear aligners make orthodontic care more appealing to adults. As a consequence, an important number of grown-up patients are investing in dental treatments.

Smile Stages: Start Your Orthodontic Journey!

In orthodontics, age is just a number. It doesn’t matter how old you are; you can always improve the aesthetics of your smile and your oral health. The first step to start your orthodontic process is to schedule an appointment with Onshore Orthodontics!

Dr. Woolfsom and Dr. Dubiner are experienced orthodontists who create beautiful smiles and design a precise treatment plan that suits your unique needs. During your initial consultation, they will evaluate your dental case and determine whether you need traditional metal braces or clear aligners. After that, they will monitor your progress while you go through every stage of treatment, from the initial planning to the retention phase.

Don’t wait any longer! Book your orthodontic consultation with the team of Onshore Orthodontics. We will welcome you into our offices, a safe and comfortable space where you can address all of your dental issues. We recommend that you take this opportunity to invest in your oral health and the confidence that comes with proper alignment and a stunning smile.