If you or your child wears braces, you’re probably making and keeping those periodic adjustment appointments. Sometimes, however, you may let them slip. Here are four reasons why that’s not a good idea…
Reason 1: “Where the Rubber Meets the Tooth”
The main thing to remember about braces is, while they may look stable in the mouth, an awful lot of movement is actually going on!
When treatment begins, and once the braces (brackets and wires) are placed, the wire portions are secured into the braces with very small rubber bands known as elastic ties. These ties come in a variety of colors, and can be the “fun” part of wearing braces. Clear, colorless ties can also be used if you want to minimize the appearance of the braces.
Wires are very flexible and they return to their original shape, which results in a continuous and gentle force on the teeth. As the ties holding the wire into the brackets are stretched, they also grow weaker. And as they grow weaker, the braces are less likely to move the teeth as they were designed to do. That is why orthodontists use regular “adjustment” appointments to replace the weakened ties and maintain that all-important movement of the teeth.
Reason 2: The Changing Course of Your Smile
During the time you wear braces, your teeth are on the move, often with results that are hard to predict! That means, orthodontists must use their knowledge and experience to help keep your teeth moving to their final destination. Missing adjustment appointments could result in no progress, or the wrong progress.
Reason 3: “Pick A Color, Any Color!”
As mentioned, elastic ties wear out and need to be replaced. Now’s your chance to pick a new color or colors that reflect your mood!
Reason 4: “Brush and Floss”
Since wires will be temporarily out of your mouth, adjustment appointments present a great opportunity to do some cleaning that may not have been possible with the wires in! Keeping your mouth and teeth clean with braces can be tricky, so it’s important to catch debris before it causes cavities!
Attention: Please come to the front desk!
So how often should you be scheduling your adjustments? Since the effects of adjusting tooth movement often requires three or more weeks to take effect, your orthodontist will probably suggest times in the three to eight week range. However, many of the wires used today last a lot longer, and more frequent visits may not be necessary. It’s all up to you and your practitioner.
Feeling A Little Funky
Remember that your orthodontist probably made some corrections in the movement of your teeth during your adjustment. That’s got to make your mouth feel a little strange. In fact, feeling tightness, then soreness later in the day, is very common after a braces adjustment. The recommendations for managing the pain, if any, are over-the-counter pain medication. But no fear, the pain will usually decrease over the next three to five days.
The main thing to remember is, keep your appointments, maintain and care for your braces, and keep your teeth as clean as possible. That’s the ticket for a great smile!