A day in the life of an orthodontist

by Lee Waring | Jul 13, 2017

We chat to Diego Chavesta who works at Foyle Orthodontic Centre in Northern Ireland about what his day at the busy mydentist practice is like ...

My normal day starts in the beautiful city of Derry at 7am. It was not easy at the beginning since I am not originally from the city, but I managed to acclimatise to this welcoming place quite quickly.

At 8.45am we prepare for a day of work at Mydentist Orthodontic Centre on Spencer Road, one of the most visited streets in Londonderry. All the team wants to make sure we always give our best service every day.

After saying good morning to each other, we study the agenda for the day. The receptionists, Brenda and Shauna, welcome everyone who enters the practice with a kind smile. Kerry, our therapist, is in charge of helping out by seeing patients and being my right-hand woman.

Orthodontic appointments

The team of nurses, made up by Alison and Stephanie, always keep the practice clean and help out with the materials, instrument and patients. Last but not least, Caroline, our practice manager, is in charge of making sure we deliver an effective service. It is as if we are all a small family.

Our patients’ appointments range from 10 to 30 minutes – it all depends on the type of appointment they need. However, every appointment’s first minutes always consists of the same:

  • Find out whether the patient is taking any new medication, and if so a form must be filled in, indicating what type of medication it is and the dose
  • Ask the patient whether they are having any recent problems with their braces, such as one brace coming loose
  • Conduct an examination of the patient’s oral and gum health.
Once all of the above has been done, we will focus on the following steps and depending on these we will proceed accordingly:
  • Alignment and levelling, in which we will correct with slight pressure vertical problems, crowding and cross-bite corrections
  • Correction of the bite and molar relation, in which we will correct and settle the bite
  • Closure of spaces, with the help of intraoral elastics and power chain
Finishing and completion – this is the most difficult phase since we have to:
  • Match the position of the roots
  • Adjust the small individual dental positions
  • Correct midline discrepancies
  • Perform the final settlement of the teeth
  • Removal of the dental device – only once we have achieved the final desired position of the teeth will we then proceed to removing the braces
  • Retention, being the last and most important phase to avoid any possible relapses.

A job well done

The evenings in our practice are very similar to the mornings – perhaps a bit calmer after lunch but they become busy pretty quickly in the last couple of hours which is when our patients finish work or school.

It is 5pm and the last patients are arriving. We see them all and then I catch up on the treatments for the next day with Kerry. Meanwhile the nurses are preparing all the instruments to be cleaned.

At reception Caroline continues answering some emails and Shauna and Brenda carry on giving appointments and receiving calls from patients.

One more day ends, with the satisfaction of a job well done and feeling grateful belonging to this wonderful team. Until tomorrow.

Dr Chavesta answers some frequently asked questions from orthodontic patients

‘What is the most frequent complication in orthodontics?’

People think the number one answer is detached braces, which is true in a way since it is a very important problem, but I would say that the most important problem of all is the shifting of the arch wire, which can cut the cheek.

To solve this, we could move and reposition the arch wire. However, if the dental movement itself has caused the shifting, then we would trim the arch wire. Usually we would advise our patients to use orthodontic wax if they are not able to get an appointment soon, so this eases any discomfort they may be suffering until we are able to solve the problem.

‘How much time do I have left with my treatment?’

This is the million-dollar question; I must hear it on a daily basis and lots of times, I hear it more than once a day. I can give an estimate time but not a definite answer – it depends on every patient since every treatment plan is different.

Why do I not have colored elastic bands on my braces?

The act of holding the arch wire with elastic bands is an old orthodontic technique. We use self-ligating braces in our practice – specifically Smartclip, In-novation and Damon brands.

Does it hurt when placing or removing the braces?

At our practice, we do not use any type of needles, which is what causes patients the most anxiety. The placing of the braces does not hurt at all. It is a procedure that lasts between 15 or 20 minutes and it is completely painless.

The removing of the braces, however, can cause a slight discomfort since we have to clean off the remains of adhesive material on the teeth, and in order to do this we have to use a high-speed handpiece that irrigates with cold water constantly, and this could cause sensitivity on some patients.


Dr Diego Chavesta Rivadeneyra LicOdont

MOrth studied at the Faculty of Dentistry in Madrid, qualifying in 2007. Diego completed a one-year postgraduate course at the European Centre of Orthodontics, LEDOSA, and a masters of orthodontics in 2010. Diego moved to Northern Ireland to work at Foyle Orthodontics in May 2012, where he is based full time and treats a mixture of private and NHS patients in a very busy practice.

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