Blog Resource Center

Patient Compliance = Successful Orthodontic Treatment

Posted in Maintaining a Healthy Smile
Patient Compliance = Successful Orthodontic Treatment

The number one question asked by patients: “When will my braces be removed?” Most patients require 18 – 24 months of treatment. However, treatment time varies with each individual. It really depends on the complexity of your orthodontic issue. Your orthodontist will be able to give you an estimate at your initial appointment, but remember this is only an estimate. Every patient is unique and there are many factors that can affect the duration of treatment. Good oral hygiene paired with regularly scheduled orthodontists appointments are key to successful orthodontic treatment. Patient compliance plays an important part in your treatment duration. By following your orthodontist’s recommendations, you can help control the length of time you will be in braces. These recommendations include: eating proper foods, keeping teeth clean, wearing your elastics, and keeping your scheduled appointments.

Eating Proper Foods
Braces only work if they remain on your teeth. Stay away from foods that are sticky, chewy, hard, and crunchy. It is best to cut food into small pieces especially raw fruits and vegetables. These tend to be hard and should be chewed using your back teeth. Also, stay away from chewing on anything that is not food: finger nails, pencils, packaging, etc. By eating properly you can avoid breaking brackets and bending wires, which delay treatment by causing extra appointments to fix these issues.

Keeping Teeth Clean
We can not stress enough the importance of brushing and flossing to all our patients. Teeth with braces do require extra attention which means brushing after each meal including snacks. By keeping teeth and gums healthy, they are able to move more freely. Poor oral hygiene can lead to bleeding or inflamed gums as well as tooth decay resulting in the removal of braces to repair damage. This often delays the length of time in treatment.

Wearing Your Elastics
Elastics (rubber bands) are used by most patients at some point during their treatment. As with braces, they only work if they are on your teeth. Elastics should be removed for proper tooth cleaning and when eating, but it is imperative they be replaced after each. Elastics are needed to keep the jaw muscles from pulling back and returning to the previous undesired position. In other words wearing elastics moves you three steps forward, not wearing them sets you two steps back. This obviously will cause a delay in your treatment.

Keeping Your Scheduled Appointments
Keeping your scheduled appointments allows your orthodontist to make adjustments to your braces or aligners, address any questions or concerns, and ensure your treatment progresses smoothly. Most of these appointments require only a short amount of time, but missed appointments can result in additional time in braces.

Your Compliance is Key to Revealing a Beautiful Smile!