After you get braces, you’ll have a series of check-up appointments with your orthodontist to make sure everything is going well and your braces are doing what they are supposed to.
You shouldn’t be afraid of the orthodontist or these check-ups. They are made to help you and make sure all your efforts to get straighter teeth are working. These periodic appointments may include some sessions when your orthodontist needs to make adjustments to your braces.
What Happens During Periodic Orthodontic Appointments?
During these appointments, the orthodontist will check your brackets and wires to make sure none of them are damaged or broken.
First, your orthodontic assistant will remove the ligatures or tiny elastic bands that hold the wire in place on your brackets. Then, the orthodontic will examine your teeth and make sure they are progressing well and look healthy. You may need to have something adjusted or you may just have new ligatures replaced to allow more movement. Each appointment might be different depending on what stage of treatment you are in.
These appointments also allow your orthodontist to keep you accountable. They can tell how well you’ve been brushing, flossing, and cleaning your teeth. If you haven’t been following the braces-care instructions they’ve given you, they will be able to tell. Your orthodontist wants the best for you and your teeth, so they will want to give you a thorough examination.
Are Braces Tightened?
Many people think that going back to the orthodontist means they will have to get their braces tightened, but that is actually not entirely true. Braces are not technically tightened. Actually, each time a new archwire is placed, your braces are being “tightened.”
The ligatures that are replaced apply pressure to your wire and brackets, which is what causes your teeth to move into their proper positions.
The pressure these ligatures put on your teeth may feel like your braces have been tightened, but it’s really just the force of new elastics on your brackets.
Do Adjustments Hurt?
One of the biggest fears of seeing the orthodontist is that they will hurt you every time you go to their office. The actual examination of your braces and teeth does not hurt, but some people may feel discomfort when the new ligatures and wire are put on.
Braces use pressure over time to arrange your teeth in a straight line, so when that pressure is newly applied, like with fresh rubber bands on your brackets, your teeth will feel it.
It should not hurt for very long, but be prepared for some discomfort by taking over-the-counter painkillers. Eating softer foods should also help limit any pain you feel; this is also a good excuse to eat as much ice cream as possible!
You’ll be seeing the orthodontist regularly throughout your treatment time with braces, so you will be very familiar and comfortable with them. Staying relaxed and trusting the orthodontic staff is key to limiting your discomfort and improving your entire experience with braces.
If you have any questions about follow-up appointments or what orthodontic treatment entails, call Charleston Orthodontic Specialists today at (843) 4-BRACES.