Follow-up Appointments: What’s Next?

Young Girl Smiling in Orthodontists Office chair

So you’ve got your braces. Now you’ll want to know what happens next in helping to get that great smile and healthy bite. This is where your regular follow-up appointments become vital to the success of your orthodontic treatment. Here are answers to some of the more common questions you might have.

How long are the visits?

This depends on what is being done. But generally, you can expect these visits to be about half an hour (30 mins).

How often are the follow-ups?

As a general rule, your orthodontist will want you to return to their office every 4-6 weeks. The adjustment process is designed to be a gradual one so as not to damage your teeth’s support structure.

Teeth move roughly about 1mm per month, and your doctor will also tailor that movement to ensure that both you and your teeth can handle that movement with as little discomfort as possible.

What happens during the visit?

There are a number of different possibilities during your ensuing visits to your orthodontist’s office. They include:

  • Changing the archwire—it might have to be substituted for one that is a little stiffer.
  • Adding and/or changing elastics
  • Replacing rubber bands on the brackets
  • Adjusting or tightening ligature wires

Why do you need to follow up?

Your doctor has set you a particular plan and he needs to see you to make sure that it is all going according to plan and stay on track with your projected treatment length.

If you miss your appointments, over- or under-correction can occur, which means more time in braces.

Being in braces indefinitely is probably not part of your long-term plan, so the regular appointments to monitor the movement and make sure that it is going according to the prescribed treatment plan becomes important in staying on target.

Does it hurt?

As treatments and tolerances vary, so will an individual’s reaction to the new and different forces on teeth and supporting structures. Regardless of the threshold, any discomfort goes away fairly quickly.

To take the edge off, try the over-the-counter pain medication as well as those soft foods your doctor recommends. You can even try a delicious (and chilly) smoothie to help sooth any pain you might have.

At Orthodontic Associates we offer nine locations around Baltimore to help make your follow-up appointments as quick and convenient as possible. Our doctors appreciate that your and your family’s time is valuable, so we make the process as quick and as smooth as possible to get you back to your school or work day.

We look forward to making you smile!


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