Regular orthodontist appointments are a part of the process of getting braces—but they don’t need to be scary! When preparing for braces appointments, remember that every visit gets you one step closer to straighter teeth and a beautiful smile.
Besides keeping your eye on the goal, it can also be helpful to know what to expect at your next orthodontist appointment. We’ve put together a quick guide that can help you choose the right orthodontist and prepare for the next step in the braces process—getting you one step closer to the final visit!
First Braces/Orthodontist Appointment
Your first visit is a combination of an introduction and an evaluation. The orthodontist introduces themselves and usually does a full exam and takes x-rays and pictures. Once a full evaluation is done, a staff member outlines the recommended treatments and discusses the cost of the orthodontics and services.
If getting braces is the answer, the orthodontist outlines the best braces options and schedules an appointment to make a mold for your customized braces. This appointment shouldn’t cause any aches and pains, though the molding material may leave a bad taste in the mouth for a short time.
Time to get braces! This is the braces appointment where patients with traditional braces get the chance to choose rubber band colors and get instructions for brushing teeth with braces. Brushing with braces can be a little tricky, so parents may need to help younger brace wearers with brushing. (An electric toothbrush can help too, along with these brushing tips.) The orthodontist can also outline foods to avoid (such as hard, sticky candy and popcorn) and what to do if there are any problems (such as a broken wire).
For those with invisible braces, this is your first chance to receive trays and get information about cleaning and future use. Remember that invisible braces are most effective when worn 20-22 hours a day.
For some patients, getting braces on the teeth can cause soreness; the good news is that it is fairly easy to treat the ache. Patients can take an over-the-counter pain medication and use ice to ease any aches or mild pain. Sometimes traditional braces can rub on the mouth and cause some irritation. This irritation can be eased by applying wax to the top of the braces area that hurts (if it is broken or loose, contact the orthodontist). If the patient’s mouth stays sore, it may feel best to eat softer foods at first (though the aches and pains shouldn’t last long!)
Follow-Up Orthodontist Appointments
Every patient with braces needs periodic checks, typically every 6-8 weeks. The orthodontist can give you an exact timeline and schedule the next appointment. These adjustments are made to correct adjust the positioning of your teeth and may also cause some temporary discomfort or soreness. Again, over-the-counter pain medication and ice can ease any aches. Every appointment is one step closer to your goal of a healthy and straight smile.
Final Orthodontist Appointment
Your final orthodontist appointment is your freedom from braces, but maybe not from orthodontics forever. Many patients require a retainer that is worn over night to keep your teeth looking great. For patients with traditional braces, this appointment may take longer because the metal wires, brackets, and glue need to be removed. The result of this appointment—and wearing braces—is a bright and straight smile!