Congratulations on deciding to wear braces this year! You can expect to wear your braces anywhere from 1-3 years depending on your growth, how complex the problem is, and of course, how well you care for your braces with your daily oral hygiene routine.
Your Specific Treatment Plan
Modern methods of straightening the teeth make wearing braces easier than ever. Once you get your braces installed, your mouth will adapt to the braces hardware and the little rubber bands that attach the archwires onto your brackets.
In between adjustments, your teeth need time to settle into their new position. Staying on schedule is necessary because if you delay your routine adjustments or skip any of them, you could end up taking longer to accomplish your treatment plan.
Wires, Brackets, and Ligatures
Today’s wires are flexible, and they go back to their original shape, so when you wear them, they apply constant, gentle pressure on your teeth. Over time, this pressure lessens as the elastic ties stretch. That’s why you need to have your routine adjustments to replace these ligatures (the stretched out rubber bands and elastic ties). This visit then reapplies the necessary pressure to allow your teeth to continue moving steadily into their desired position as determined by your treatment plan.
Every appointment you attend for adjustments will allow our orthodontist to evaluate your progress and your teeth. According to the biological movement of teeth (the way they move), it takes at least three weeks for the teeth to shift into position, so your appointments are usually scheduled within a range of 3-8 weeks. You can count on spending around 20 minutes or so in the chair having this done.
What to Expect During Routine Adjustments
- Taking off the ligatures that hold the wires onto your brackets (which are attached directly onto your teeth)
- Removing the archwires
- Letting you brush and floss while the wires are off to make sure that you are properly caring for your teeth
- Evaluating your teeth and their movement. We need to make sure that your teeth are moving in the necessary direction at the proper rate and angle so you can accomplish your goals in a timely way
- Adding any new wires, elastic bands, or chains
You can expect to feel some tightness of your teeth during and after your appointment. Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers and applying an oral anesthetic or ice pack can help with any tenderness. Sticking to soft foods also minimizes discomfort. Soft foods that are gentle on your teeth include yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, soup, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cooked vegetables, fish, and scrambled eggs.
If you have areas in the mouth where the wires or brackets are irritating the insides of your cheeks, a bit of orthodontic wax covering those spots should do the trick. Rinsing with a saltwater solution can also help with sore areas.
We are excited to help you create the straightened smile you have been waiting for forever. Be sure to keep all routine adjustment appointments and in-between visits, take good care of your pearly whites. Before you know it, your braces will come off, and you will have reached your smile goals!