Calendar symbolizing delays in orthodontic treatment

Whether you’re wearing traditional metal or clear braces, Invisalign® or another appliance, if you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment you are probably much(!) more excited about the end result than going through the treatment process itself. After months or even years of commitment to your orthodontic journey, the last thing you want is more time added to your sentence—err, treatment.

With that in mind, we’re sharing some tips today that will help you avoid delays in your orthodontic treatment. You will learn that patient compliance is one of the most important factors in determining the success—and speediness—of orthodontic treatment. In fact, most of the issues that would extend your treatment time can be avoided simply by following the tips below.

TIP 1 Keep Your Adjustment Appointments

Your adjustment appointments are scheduled at specific intervals to tighten the braces and/or make other adjustments as needed to keep the teeth moving as they should. Delaying or skipping appointments will only hinder your progress and can potentially add weeks or even months to your treatment time, so it is imperative to keep up with them and reschedule promptly when cancellation is unavoidable.

TIP 2 Take Care of Repairs Immediately

Delays can occur if your orthodontic appliance is damaged or one of the pieces is loose or missing. If a bracket breaks, a wire is poking or a band is missing, be sure to tell your orthodontist right away to keep your treatment time on track.

TIP 3 Wear Your Bands

Orthodontic treatment is not only about straightening teeth, but aligning the bite so the teeth fit together properly as well. As such, orthodontic elastics (or bands) are an essential part of the process; most patients will need to wear them at some point during the course of treatment. Not wearing your bands as often as your orthodontist prescribes (or at all) will extend the length of your treatment, so it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and wear them accordingly.

TIP 4 Oral Hygiene

Your oral hygiene routine may take a little longer while you’re wearing braces, but if you want to avoid delays it’s extremely important to make the effort. Taking the time to keep your teeth and braces clean each day, as well as maintaining your regular cleaning appointments with your dentist will prevent tooth and gum problems that could otherwise stall your orthodontic treatment.

If you’re currently undergoing orthodontic treatment, we’re sure you’ve heard all of this from your orthodontist already. But perhaps at the time you didn’t realize just how big of an impact following those instructions really has on how long your treatment will take, not to mention the success of the outcome.

If that’s the case and you’ve found yourself slipping in one or more of the areas discussed above, don’t get discouraged and feel like you’ll never reach the end of treatment. The best thing you can do is regroup, recommit and start following these guidelines now—the sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be braces free and enjoying your healthy, beautiful smile!