“How often do you need orthodontist appointments?” is one of the most common questions about getting treatment with braces.
Certain factors affect how frequently you’ll head into the office, but some generalities can give you an idea of what to expect in this regard. It’s important to see your orthodontist as often as recommended. Getting braces and other orthodontic treatment is an investment of your time and money into more self-confidence and better oral and overall health. Progress must be monitored, and care must be taken not to let progress start to reverse.
So, how often do you need orthodontist appointments when you get braces? Here are some thing to know.
The First Orthodontist Appointment
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontist appointment at age 7. Kids have a mix of baby and adult teeth at this age, and it’s a good time to identify concerns. It’s easiest to address many issues early on. Sometimes, treatment may begin at this point, but often the course will be to take a wait-and-see approach, with a recommendation for another exam in the future.
Beginning Treatment with Braces
After an initial examination and some imaging, you and your orthodontist discuss the recommended course of treatment. You may need to take certain steps, such as having a mold made of your teeth if you’re getting clear aligners, and of course there’s an appointment for getting braces put on.
Appointments Once the Braces Are On
Your orthodontist will let you know how often you should come in for appointments. With traditional braces, appointments are typically needed once every four to eight weeks. Some appointments are relatively quick checkups to evaluate the progress of treatment; others take a little longer, used to make adjustments, replace wires, and maybe give you some new rubber bands.
If you have clear aligners, appointments average just a little more often at once every four to six weeks.
Some patients may need to schedule a quick unforeseen appointment to address a concern. This is usually for something like a broken wire.
Appointments After the Braces Come Off
After braces are removed, you need to temporarily wear a removable or fixed retainer. You’ll need an appointment to be fitted for a removable one or to have a fixed one bonded to your teeth. Your orthodontist still needs to see you occasionally to check things out and make sure your teeth are staying put. Expect a few appointments per year while wearing the retainer. After your orthodontist has cleared you to stop wearing the retainer, it’s still recommended that you go back in for annual checkups to make sure your treatment isn’t starting to reverse and that no new problems are developing.