If you're a candidate for orthodontics and you've decided to move forward with treatment, congratulations! Though an exciting time, it's understandable that new patients will have many questions regarding their treatment plan. And one of the most frequently asked questions is how often they'll be visiting their orthodontist's office for routine appointments.
Patients need to clearly understand before beginning treatment that orthodontic treatment requires patient compliance (in other words, dedication and involvement). If you are not willingly an active participant in your treatment and rely solely on your orthodontist or appliances to do the work, treatment may not progress successfully. You depend on your orthodontist to provide a personalized treatment plan to achieve your desired smile results — but the treatment plan can only be successful if your orthodontist trusts you to be compliant.
To be blunt — you should always think twice about skipping appointments! Of course, situations come up in everyone's lives that make it necessary to postpone a visit. But it's never advisable to miss an appointment entirely without rescheduling it as soon as possible.
Why are frequent checkups necessary?
The importance of follow-up appointments cannot be stressed enough. Being compliant means that it's crucial to attend both your orthodontic checkups and your regular checkups every six months with your dentist. Your orthodontist needs to evaluate your appliances and the health of your teeth and gums during treatment. It's crucial to take the necessary steps to avoid any significant interruptions to your orthodontic treatment progress.
How often will I have to visit the office?
Your orthodontist will typically schedule appointments every four to six weeks during treatment — but this is all dependent on your treatment plan. During checkup appointments, your orthodontist will check the progress of how the teeth are moving, replace any worn-out elastics, and make adjustments to the archwires. Adjustments aren't necessary if you have Invisalign clear braces, but checkups are still essential to check on progress and pick up the next set of clear aligners in your series. Skipping or canceling these appointments can slow down your treatment progress, and prolonged treatment means you will be wearing your braces or Invisalign trays for much longer than initially anticipated.
Why do my braces need to be adjusted?
Adjustment and tightening appointments are necessary to move your teeth to their desired position. But this can't all be done in one visit, which is why you have regular adjustment appointments scheduled with your orthodontist. Suppose you are wearing traditional metal or ceramic braces that utilize brackets and wires. In that case, they need adjustments periodically, and tightening the braces will help the teeth move into their correct alignment gradually. Additionally, your orthodontist will also evaluate the progress of your treatment to see if rubber bands are required to assist with the progress. If you happen to skip an appointment and rubber bands are needed, you will, unfortunately, delay tooth movement and your overall progress without adding the attachments.
Why do I still need to visit my dentist during treatment?
Many patients are under the impression that they don't need to visit their dentist because their orthodontist is already treating them. However, it's essential to see your dentist for routine checkups and oral examinations to help ensure your mouth and teeth remain healthy. If you neglect to see your dentist for checkups while wearing braces or Invisalign clear braces, you could develop serious oral health issues like gum disease. A dedicated oral care routine must be implemented during treatment, as food particles and bacteria can become trapped in the brackets and wires. Your orthodontist, dentist, and hygienist will work closely to ensure that your oral health remains a top priority during treatment.
Frequent visits to your orthodontists' office allow you to become more engaged in your treatment. You've taken a big step to correct your smile, and it's important to remember that straight teeth are healthy teeth. But keep in mind that if you skip appointments, you are likely adding extra time to your treatment plan. If you're anxious to complete your orthodontic treatment promptly, be sure to attend all scheduled appointments and take the advice of your orthodontist to care for your smile correctly.
Remember, patient compliance is essential for successful treatment. Do your part to get the healthy, straight, and beautiful smile you've always wanted!