Who doesn't want to enjoy a new smile by having their teeth and bite aligned as quickly as possible? Orthodontic treatment timing can vary, based on how complicated your treatment is, your age, and genetics. Here are 5 ways to help keep your treatment on track and finish as quickly as possible:
1. Accelerating Technologies
Advances in orthodontic technology continue to give rise to new procedures that could potentially shorten treatment time. These include micro-osteoperforations (MOPs), custom braces, temporary mini implant devices (TADs), and tools such as Acceledent. Though some of these technologies give results, others have unfortunately been shown to do very little (if anything). Before you invest in one of these technologies, talk to your orthodontist - they can advise if the accelerated program works, and if it is a good fit for your case.
2. Keep Up With Appointments
One of the most important aspects of finishing orthodontic treatment in a timely manner is keeping up with your appointments. The estimated treatment time your orthodontist gives is based on regular appointment intervals. If your goal is to complete treatment in less time, then you’ll also want to focus on being seen as planned. If you miss scheduled appointments, or cannot be seen at a recommended interval, you’ll likely end up delaying your treatment.
3. Follow Food Guidelines
It goes without saying that wearing braces requires a change in what you can and can’t eat. Regardless of whether you have metal braces or clear ceramic braces, you want to avoid foods that can damage or break your brackets and wires. Damaged or broken braces will not function properly, which can delay your treatment.
Dr. Godley can review our guide to braces-friendly foods and how to adjust your eating during treatment. A good rule of thumb is steering clear of anything hard, chewy or crunchy. This includes crust, chips, nuts, taffy, and popcorn to name a few. In addition, if you’re prone to chewing on the end of pens or pencils, or your nails, now would be the time to quit.
4. Wear Your Appliance Correctly
Some bites require a bite corrector or elastics in order to correct. If Dr. Godley prescribes elastics as part of your treatment, they are a must in order to achieve treatment goals. Be sure to follow instructions you’re given for wearing them — how they are worn plays a big role in aligning your teeth and bite. Unless instructed otherwise, they are worn daytime and nighttime. Only take them out when eating, and make sure they are placed before bed.
Your rubber bands can feel uncomfortable, especially the first few weeks of adjusting to them. It can be tempting to play with them or even take them off. However, doing so will only prolong your orthodontic treatment.
5. Keep Your Mouth Healthy
As soon as braces go on, you'll be at a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Good oral hygiene is your best tool against against fighting these. Believe it or not, a healthy mouth often results in faster braces! That's right - clean, healthy gums are more likely to allow teeth to move faster when your body doesn't have to fight off inflammation and plaque. Seeing your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and evaluation is also important to ensure healthy teeth during treatment.
When you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, we suggest at least swishing with water thoroughly to help remove food particles. Rinsing with water also helps remove acids and returns your mouth to a pH level that’s less hospitable to the bad bacteria that can turn into plaque.
While there may be no big shortcut with braces, following these tips during treatment can help towards revealing your brand new smile as quickly as possible. Dr. Godley and our team at Godley Family Orthodontics are happy to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to contact our Zionsville Carmel office, or book an appointment online.