2Q2. Treatment Progress

Orthodontic Treatment Progress

Usually the greatest dental changes are seen during the first six months to a year of treatment.

In the straight wire technique, the orthodontist uses a series of successively bigger and stiffer wire to slowly align crowded teeth.

Wire can be stiffer in 3 different ways:

  1. Increase the cross section surface area of a wire by using bigger wire or by using differently shaped wire
    1. 0.020 inch diameter round wire is about 2 times stiffer than 0.016 inch diameter wire.
    2. 016X016 inch rectangular wire is about 1 and 1/2 times stiffer than 0.016 inch round wire.
  2. By using different material for wire
    1. 016 diameter SS wire is about 6 times stiffer than 016 NiTi wire.
    2. 016 diameter SS wire is about 3 times stiffer than 016 TMA wire.
  3. By using wires manufactured by different method
    1. Annealled SS wire will softer
    2. Cold worked SS wire will generally be stiffer.


Since every patient is unique, there are no cookbook steps that can be applied to ideally treat all patients. Instead, individualized treatment plan must be created to maximize the achievement of treatment objectives and to minimize the risks and side effects.


For the purpose of this guide, I will arbitrary divide treatment progress into four stages, correction of transverse problem, correction of vertical problem, correction of sagittal problem, and detailing and finishing. Again, every patient is unique and will not necessary follow all these steps in a cook book fashion.