After the orthodontist applies your braces, he will ask you to return regularly for adjustments. These appointments are an extremely important component of your orthodontic care, and necessary if you want to correct your smile.
Many patients miss appointments from time to time. This is quite common, as appointments usually are scheduled just a few weeks apart over the course of a couple years. It is understandable that issues will arise that will require you to cancel an appointment.
However, canceling should not mean skipping altogether. If something comes up, you will need to reschedule for the soonest possible time, and try to stay on course with your treatment plan. Not scheduling your regular appointments, or canceling them often, can lead to a significantly longer treatment time.
Why Do I Need Adjustments?
The pressure that the braces place on your teeth to cause movement will reduce over time, making it necessary that the orthodontist re-establish the force needed to straighten your teeth. The orthodontist needs to adjust brackets, replace rubber bands and make small bends in the wires. Without adjustments, your teeth will stop moving and treatment will not progress.
You also need regular checkups while you wear braces to ensure that the orthodontist corrects any teeth that are not moving the way they should, or that any unanticipated problems can be addressed before they advance.
Why does my orthodontist schedule my appointments so frequently?
Patients with minimally crooked teeth and no issues with jaw alignment might wear braces for as little as six months, where patients with more serious malocclusions and misalignments may wear braces for at least two or three years. You cannot compare yourself with your child’s or friend’s time in braces. Because someone else goes to an adjustment every six weeks does not mean the same goes for you. Ignoring your orthodontist’s return instructions is a critical mistake that will ensure you’re in braces longer.
A normal adjustment appointment will last about 30 minutes and may include:
- Replacing the rubber ties that hold the wire into the braces
- Removing the wires or trimming back the archwire
- Allowing the patient to brush and floss
- Checking on progress and recommending treatment (i.e. new wires, elastics, rubber bands, etc.)
- Placing new colored rubber bands onto the braces
The key is to keep in touch with your orthodontist to ensure that you know what is happening with your treatment plan and what to expect with each appointment.
What if I’m wearing a removable tray instead of brackets?
If you’re wearing invisible braces, you’ll be fitted with a brand new tray every time you go to an appointment. Skipping adjustment appointments can have the same adverse affects on your treatment as with traditional brackets.
What Else Could Happen With My Teeth?
Wearing braces doesn’t magically prevent you from having any other dental problems. In fact, it could create future dental problems if you don’t take care of your teeth during your orthodontic treatment.
You still need routine dental cleanings and checkups while you wear braces. If you have a cavity, or need more serious dental work like a root canal or a crown, the orthodontist might need to temporarily adjust or remove part of the braces and wires.
Offering the convenience of 9 locations around Baltimore, Orthodontic Associates uses state-of-the-art appliances and revolutionary practices to provide our patients with the most up-to-date services available today. Call us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to making you smile.