What to Expect at an Orthodontic Adjustment Appointment

Once a patient starts orthodontic treatment with either braces or clear aligners, the orthodontist will need to see the patient at regular intervals to monitor the progress of treatment. These adjustments will allow the orthodontist to evaluate oral health and hygiene, change wires, and make sure treatment is going as planned.

Teeth move because of forces on them. Forces are applied to the teeth through pressure created by wires or clear aligners. Between adjustments, the forces on the teeth will decrease as wires loosen or aligners complete the programmed movement. To continue to move the teeth and progress treatment, the pressures on the teeth need to be re-established, this is what occurs at the regular orthodontic appointment. The orthodontist will tighten or change the wires, replace rubber bands/ ties, and may make bends in the wires to direct tooth movement. For patients in aligners, the orthodontist will make sure the aligners are “tracking” properly, no attachments have come off, and the teeth are moving as predicted. Missing scheduled appointments will delay treatment as forces on the teeth will diminish, and the teeth will stop moving.

Most orthodontic treatment takes 1-3 years to complete. Patients can expect to be seen for regular adjustment appointments every 6-8 weeks for braces and 10-12 weeks for clear aligners. These appointments typically take 30 minutes. Adjustments could take longer if brackets have broken or come off, if new brackets/ attachments need to be added or repositioned, or if progress records (photos/ x-rays) need to be taken. Your orthodontist will let you know when longer appointments will occur.

What Happens at the Adjustment Appointment?

  • An orthodontic assistant will bring the patient to their chair and review the chart.
  • The assistant will check for any broken brackets/ attachments, remove the color ties, and take the wires out.
  • The orthodontist will examine the patient, check oral hygiene, evaluate progress, and plan what the next step will be (new wires, new ties, power chain, rubber bands, etc.)
  • The wires will be tightened/ changed and clipped or bent to assure nothing is poking.
  • Patients will choose their new tie color.
  • Your next adjustment appointment will be scheduled for 6-8 weeks.

It is not unusual to have some soreness or discomfort for a day or two after the appointment as the teeth start to move again. The patient may choose to eat softer foods for a couple of days. Over-the-counter pain medications can also be taken as needed.

Morgan Orthodontics is known for their friendliness and professionalism, treating each patient like family with genuine care and understanding. Dr. Kelly Morgan celebrates 15 years of providing Loudoun families with excellent customer service, the latest technology, and the highest quality of care.  We accommodate the busiest of schedules and offer a complimentary middle school limo service to/ from appointments. Experience the Morgan Difference with customized treatment plans and personalized care. Schedule a complimentary today.