Are you thinking about straightening your teeth? Maybe you’ve made an orthodontist appointment and you’re wondering if your child should have one too?
It’s a good idea to start visiting the orthodontist as soon as your child’s adult teeth begin to erupt, usually no later than age 7. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends children receive their first orthodontic evaluation at this age! And if you’re experiencing any common orthodontic problems such as overlapping or crooked teeth, it’s an even better idea to get evaluated as a family! You’ll be able to set an excellent example for your child and help alleviate any fears
Now scheduling an orthodontic appointment doesn’t always mean there’s braces in your family’s future! Our family orthodontists will only recommend braces or clear aligner treatment if they believe it will benefit you or your child’s smile!
But how exactly is seeing an orthodontist going to benefit your family’s smiles? Let’s talk in depth about why it’s necessary to visit your orthodontist regularly—from the first orthodontic exam to after orthodontic treatment!
When should you visit an orthodontist?
One of the best reasons for your child to get an orthodontic check-up at an early age is to stop any misalignments or growth issues before they worsen. As soon as your child’s adult teeth have grown in, one of our orthodontists will be able to estimate the best time for orthodontic treatment, if braces or other appliances are necessary!
Early monitoring of teeth crowding can ensure that orthodontic treatment is done at the best time for the best possible smile results. While not all children need braces or clear aligners at their first visit (or even their 4th), regular check-ups are crucial to ensure your child’s teeth and jaw grow in healthy alignment. If your child isn’t quite ready for braces, they’ll automatically be enrolled into our Nth Degree Kids Club! Every 6 months they’ll come in for orthodontic checkups to help prepare them for braces. The best part? These appointments are free.
During Your Braces or Clear Aligner Treatment
Once you or your child is ready for braces, our experienced orthodontists will talk through the process with you, from treatment length to proper care. How often you’ll visit our offices will depend on your unique smile needs and if the unexpected happens. Here’s all the reasons you or your child will come in for a check-up:
1. To Ensure Your Teeth Are Moving as Planned
Our orthodontists know how teeth should move at every stage of the straightening process. You should go into the office for regular check-ups to ensure your teeth are straightening as planned. Even if your wires aren’t adjusted with every trip, your visits are still important. Keeping an eye on the way your teeth are moving is an important part of the process. You don’t want your teeth to move too far or not fast enough.
2. Adjust Your Braces or Clear Aligners
You’ll visit us every 8 to 10 weeks for a braces adjustment or “tightening” appointment. If your teeth aren’t shifting at a steady rate, your brackets and wires can be adjusted to speed up the process. Similarly, if your teeth are moving too fast, your brackets and wires can be adjusted to keep the process moving at the correct rate. It’s totally normal for orthodontists to adjust your wires throughout the process; it means your teeth are moving into healthy alignment! Make sure you schedule your next appointment before you leave each appointment and do your best to keep it. (This helps ensure a fast and comfortable smile journey!)
Clear aligners such as Invisalign or Spark need to be adjusted too! Our orthodontists can let you know how often you’ll need to head into the office for fittings. Generally, you need to head into the office every 10 to 12 weeks to ensure the aligners are moving your teeth at the appropriate rate and to be fitted for your next set of aligners. Since each aligner is fitted to move different teeth, you’ll need to keep going in for new aligners as your teeth “graduate” to the next level.
3. To Resolve a Minor Orthodontic Emergency
Accidents happen, we understand. When you’re faced with a loose bracket, simply secure the bracket with a piece of orthodontic wax and give our emergency orthodontists a call. Our friendly team can help guide you with tips to resolve the minor orthodontic emergency or be able to schedule you for an braces repair appointment.
Visiting Your Orthodontist After Treatment
Your teeth might be straight and healthy, but you can’t break up with your orthodontist yet! You’ll still need to keep heading to the office to ensure your teeth don’t drift back to misalignment.
1. Get Fitted for a Retainer
First, you’ll need to be fitted for a retainer. Retainers are worn overnight to ensure your teeth don’t drift back during the 8 or 10 hours you’re asleep. Your orthodontist can fit you with a retainer to keep your teeth in healthy alignment.
2. Ensure Your Teeth Haven’t Moved Back
You’ll still visit us regularly after you’ve gotten your retainer too. You’ve just spent a few months to a few years of your life aligning your teeth. Make sure your beautiful, healthy smile lasts by keeping your orthodontic retention appointments.
3. Ensure Your Retainer is Working Properly
Our orthodontists want to ensure your retainer is doing it’s job! So you’ll need to bring your little plastic friend into the office with you too. As a result, you might even need to be fitted for a new retainer if it turns out the old one isn’t working properly.
4. Ensure New Teeth Aren’t Crowding Your Mouth
This concern is typically reserved for teens or adults. With wisdom teeth coming in around 17 to 21 years of age, it’s important to visit our orthodontists regularly to ensure there’s no issues. Though many people opt to get wisdom teeth removed, it’s not always necessary—especially if you’ve had orthodontic treatment before your wisdom teeth erupted.
Schedule a Complimentary Exam with Our Family Orthodontists
Regular checkups with your family orthodontist will ensure your entire family receives the best smile results in shortest amount of time! If you’re on the fence about scheduling an orthodontic appointment for you and your family, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or text. Our team is here to help you on every step of your smile journey—even before it starts.
Ready for you and your child to experience a beautiful, healthy smile? Schedule your complimentary exams with our top orthodontists in Gaffney, Union, Duncan, West Spartanburg or East Spartanburg today!