Everyone knows the importance of check ups throughout the year with your dentist. But the same goes for orthodontic visits during orthodontic treatment! A braces check up is part of the on-going process of correcting the position of your teeth. Skipping one could cause major problems.
What Happens at a Braces Check Up?
There are several reasons that you need to visit your orthodontist for a braces check up. Over the course of your treatment, your teeth will shift positions and your braces will need keep pace with those changes. Here are some of the things to expect at a braces check up:
Progress Tracking – Orthodontic treatment is a long-term process that requires close monitoring. Everyone’s mouth is different, so your orthodontist wants to track how your teeth shift to ensure everything is going according to plan.
Adjustments – The core benefit of an orthodontic check up with your braces is for your orthodontist to make minor adjustments to your braces. The wires of your braces need to be set correctly to ensure your teeth are being pulled towards their optimal position. As the treatment continues, these adjustments are necessary as your teeth won’t be in the same position they were when you started.
Replacing Bands – Rubber bands are an important part of how traditional braces work. However, elastic bands can degrade over time. Your orthodontist will use these check ups as an opportunity to replace your bands with newer and stronger ones to keep your treatment going smoothly.
What is the Risk of Skipping a Check Up with Your Orthodontist
Unfortunately, many consider dental check ups of any type of be unnecessary unless they’re experiencing pain or other obvious problems. That’s simply not the case! With orthodontic treatment, check ups are necessary to avoid discomfort and other issues.
The number one risk of skipping your braces check ups? Lost time! If your orthodontist can’t inspect and tighten your braces as necessary, you will delay the completion of your treatment. In fact, some patients could add a year or more onto their total treatment time just by skipping a few appointments!
After a few weeks, when your teeth have shifted from the previous appointment, your braces won’t be applying much force on your teeth. In fact, after a month or so from an adjustment, your braces may not be doing anything at all! Frequent adjustments are necessary to tighten the wires and keep your treatment moving forward.
While braces are important for those who need them, we understand the excitement at the idea of completing treatment. That’s why we always encourage you to do everything you can to make your regular appointments.
Do Invisalign Patients Need Regular Check Ups?
Absolutely! Even if you’re using Invisalign, you’ll need to keep up your visits with your orthodontist to receive new trays. The entire Invisalign process involves progressing to newer trays as your teeth gently move into their ideal position. If you don’t visit your orthodontist to receive new trays, your treatment will stall out. Those month-old aligners won’t have any effect as they’ve already done their job moving you to the next stage.
Additionally, your orthodontist will still want to track progress and make sure there isn’t a need to change the plans regarding your upcoming aligners! Sometimes, aligners need to be worn for longer or shorter than expected. In these cases, your orthodontist will be able to identify the necessary changes and inform you. Without their expertise, you may set your treatment back weeks or months.
Post-Treatment Check Ups
While check ups for your braces will stop when your braces come off, that won’t be the last time you go to the orthodontist! Following treatment, you’ll be given a retainer. It’s very important that you use your retainer as directed!
As the name implies, retainers help you retain the benefits of your treatment. After your braces come off, your orthodontist will want to see you periodically to ensure your retainers are being used and that your teeth are holding their adjusted position. If you skip using a retainer or skip these appointments, your teeth may relapse into the same malocclusions your treatment already fixed!
Do Orthodontic Check Ups Replace Check Ups with my Dentist?
No, orthodontic check ups are exclusively for the benefit of your orthodontic treatment and care! While orthodontists are trained dentists, their job is specialized and focused on the position of your teeth and the development of your jaw structure and related dental health.
Regular dentist visits are still important to maintain general oral health. Problems like gum disease and general cavities are best caught as part of a general oral exam. Furthermore, regular dental check ups will typically include a thorough cleaning from a hygienist, who will help remove built up plaque and help your teeth stay clean!
In fact, orthodontic appliances can add new challenges to your typical dental care. This means your regular dental visits are even more important than usual! You’ll want to know that you’re still brushing thoroughly and that you aren’t developing cavities in places hidden by your brackets.
Schedule a Free Consultation
Do you have questions about Invisalign or orthodontic treatment? We can answer your questions to keep your teeth and gums healthy – schedule a free consultation! Contact us online or call 440-842-8015
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