Not Keeping Your Appointments And Other Ways To Delay Results Of Orthodontic Treatment
Although it may take some getting used to, it’s a simple fact: braces are one of the most efficient ways to correct biting and chewing difficulties, protruding teeth, and other bite-alignment problems. From the outset, your orthodontist will tell you that they must be worn anywhere from 12 months to 2 years to see results.
What To Expect
Before we go into all the ways to delay your orthodontic treatment, it’s important to understand what to expect, although you don’t necessarily need to know the braces process month by month.
The Initial Alignment
This is the first part of your orthodontic treatment. If you’ve chosen metal braces, the brackets will be attached to each tooth. Typically, at this stage, only the brackets for the upper teeth are placed and wires attached.
Following this, low and constant pressure will be placed on the wire. This is what will cause your teeth to line up properly, and it is important because the teeth need to be lined up before you can move to the next stage of having braces. Initial alignment may only take a few months, but it’s different for everyone.
This second stage is where the long-term correction of your teeth will take place. In this stage, your orthodontist will apply braces to both your upper and lower teeth, and then match the upper and lower teeth so that they align in a proper bite.
The correction process can take up to 18 months and will involve placing your teeth at correct angles for their roots, achieving a normal curve with each tooth, and changing the width and stiffness of the wires. That’s a lot of adjustment, but it has to be done. More on that later.
Not Using Your Bands
The correction stage of orthodontic treatment usually includes putting elastic bands on your braces. They are put there for more than one reason: to help you get your braces off faster. How? They keep your bite at a normal position so that you can chew foods properly.
Neglecting Oral Health
Your orthodontist probably told you in the past how important it is to take care of your teeth. Even without braces, your teeth need regular cleanings to prevent cavities and bacteria build-up from foods. When you have braces, however, it becomes even more important to ensure cleanliness. Why? Because, in order to continue working the way they should, both your braces and your teeth have to be clean.
Not cleaning your braces will cause bacteria, plaque and tartar buildup. Plaque forms in your mouth over a very short time—between 4 and 12 hours after eating. If that plaque comes into contact with any sugars, acid formation will be the result.
If not removed, this acid will begin to eat away at your teeth and gums. If you wear braces, this acid can also corrode the glue, the brackets, and the wires that are holding your brackets in place. This damage will make your braces less effective, not to mention cost you cash for more visits to the orthodontist.
In order to maintain good oral health while wearing your braces:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth every day.
- Clean between the brackets of your braces every day.
- Floss every day to ensure food particles from between teeth are removed.
Ignoring Appointment Reminders
Your phone keeps buzzing, reminding you that your orthodontist appointment is coming up. Yet, you keep dismissing the reminder. This is another way to delay the removal of your braces. It’s important to keep appointment reminders to ensure that you’re on track with your progress, not to mention the most important reason: to get the proper adjustments to ensure that happens.
Your braces may need to be adjusted several times, and in several ways over the time you have them—maybe they need to be tightened, or the wires need adjusting. Your brackets may even need to be moved. Without these adjustments, your teeth can end up returning to the way they were. Talk about counterproductive.
Eating And Drinking Anything And Everything
Along with all the advice your orthodontist will give you, they’ll also advise you to forego eating certain foods.
The truth is that eating certain foods can delay the final stages of braces treatment and make it more uncomfortable to live with your braces. Sticky foods like caramel and gummies are full can also cause wires to bend. Other things to avoid include:
- Chewing on gum
- Eating chips
- Eating popcorn
All the above foods can prevent your teeth from lining up the way they should.
There is good news, though; you can still enjoy hard foods like raw veggies, apples, and biscotti, but you should chop them up into smaller bites first and always chew carefully and slowly. Also, you don’t want to chew on your nails or a pen while you’re wearing braces because this can do a lot of damage to the wires.
Leaving Your Retainer On Your Nightstand
You may think that once your braces are removed, your treatment is over, but your teeth are real movers and shakers. Although you may have spent the last year or more wearing braces and training your teeth to stay put, your teeth have a mind of their own; instead of listening to you, they’ll want to go right back where they were.
The ligaments, which are the connection between tooth and bone, will stretch as your teeth are moved into their new position with braces—but your teeth have a good memory of where they used to be. That’s what your retainer does; it keeps your teeth in their new position until they forget where they used to “live.”
Leaving Your Retainer On Your Nightstand
If you haven’t gotten braces yet, you might be wondering what type of braces work the fastest. Actually, there are such things as fast-acting braces. One is Invisalign; however, you will need to keep the following in mind if considering these fast-acting aligners, because they:
- Do tend to cost more than metal and wire braces.
- Aren’t suitable for some orthodontic issues, such as disorders of the jaw or an abnormal bite.
- May not provide enough support, and you will require metal and wire braces anyway.
Ceramic braces are another option. They are less obvious than metal braces, too, and they are typically lower in price than Invisalign. With so many choices, it’s easy to become confused, but don’t worry; Labbe Family Orthodontics can help you understand your options and the process.
Whether you’re located in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton/Gambrills, or Greenbelt, we are happy to provide you a complimentary orthodontic consultation will provide you with specific information and a detailed care plan for your individual needs. Call us at to schedule your consultation, and we’ll show you why life is better with a smile!