I Want My Braces off on Time!
Obviously, the treatment duration of an orthodontic case is determined to a great extent by its complexity. However, even having the best orthodontist in the world is no substitute for the patient doing his/her part when it comes to reaching the desired result in the shortest time possible.
Here are some of things that you, the patient, can do to speed things up:
- Avoid hard/sticky/crunchy foods, such as tortilla chips or hard breads, caramel, crunchy chocolate bars, or solid and gummy candies that can cause loose brackets or break your orthodontic appliances. Having multiple loose brackets or broken appliances will delay your treatment, because your follow up appointments’time will be spent on fixing your orthodontic appliances as opposed to being utilized on working to achieve the next step of your treatment. In addition, treatment can be delayed because on some occasions, back steps need to be taken after fixing your orthodontic appliances as opposed to picking up where treatment was before.
- Make sure to do the things your orthodontist advises you to do with regards to wearing your elastics, your clear trays (in case of Invisalign®) and any removable appliances exactly the way you are instructed. You don’t expect your physician to treat you without taking the medications he or she prescribed,so similarly, you have to follow your orthodontist’s instructions to achieve the desired result. I always tell my patients that following instructions during orthodontic treatment (such as wearing elastics) is like rolling a rock uphill. You can’t slack before reaching the top of the hill, otherwise things will regress backwards!
- Make sure not to miss your orthodontic appointments and to show up on time. Needless to say that being present in the dental chair as required for each step of your orthodontic treatment is crucial for your treatment to be completed as planned. Also, showing inflexibility as far as the times and days of your appointments’ scheduling can cause a delay in treatment,simply because your appointment might end up being pushed further to accommodate the exact time and day you are demanding.
- Maintain a good oral hygiene routine. In addition to all the other issues that poor oral hygiene can lead to, it can make it hard for your orthodontist to work around your braces due to any inflamed and enlarged gums.
Working Together for an Efficient and Productive Treatment
So, the next time the million-dollar question pops into your mind about when your braces or appliance will finally come off, make sure to go over the above list to see if your role in your own treatment has been a constructive obstructive one. After all, an efficient treatment with a great out come is best attained through a joint team effort between the patient and his/her orthodontist.