The Importance of Keeping your Scheduled Appointments

scheduled appointments

When you opt for metal, ceramic, or lingual braces, you make a commitment to straightening your teeth. Part of that commitment is regular appointments with your orthodontist, and in most cases, this means that you will be seeing Dr. Valderrama every few weeks for a brief appointment. Many patients wonder why are those appointments so important, and we always say that there are many reasons — read more about them below.

Making the Movement

While the braces themselves are vital to teeth straightening, they’ll only work effectively if you have them adjusted as needed. Every six to eight weeks, Dr. Valderrama will make small but crucial adjustments that tighten the braces. While you’ll notice a sensation of tightness for a day or two after each appointment, it’s rare for patients to have serious pain or discomfort. You’ll grow accustomed to the sensation and it will become routine very quickly. With every appointment, your teeth are shifted into a better position. Over time — usually anywhere from a year to two years, depending on your particular situation — your teeth can be moved into the optimal position if you’ve had those appointments. If you miss appointments here and there — even if it’s just a few appointments over the course of a year — that can mean that your teeth won’t move into the right position. This, in turn, means that you’ll likely have to wear braces longer than you had planned to get the desired results. At Valderrama Orthodontics, we always send reminders before your scheduled appointments — and it’s a wise idea to make note of your appointments on your personal calendar as well.

Identifying Issues

While most patients enjoy a relatively problem free braces experience, there are always potential issues that may develop. Problems like loose wires or brackets or even broken brackets can mean big issues for your braces and for your smile in the long term. If you stick to your scheduled appointments at Valderrama Orthodontics, Dr. Valderrama can identify these types of problems before they have a chance to cause serious damage. Loose wires can cause tearing or even ulcerations in your delicate mouth tissues and loose brackets or wires can mean that your teeth aren’t in the position needed to achieve the correction you want. You’ll never have to worry about these issues when you’re seeing the orthodontist on your regularly scheduled appointments.

Adjusting the Teeth Straightening Plan as Needed

While Dr. Valderrama will usually be able to give you a general idea of how long your teeth straightening will take, it’s important to realize that this timeline is just an estimate. Many different individual factors may play into your braces timeline, which means it can be very difficult to be precise about how long you’ll wear braces in total. As you come in for each scheduled appointment, Dr. Valderrama can adjust the teeth straightening timelines as needed — and this might sometimes mean that you’ll get the good news that you won’t need braces quite as long as you had previously thought! Of course, a big part of this is your own behavior. You’ll need to strictly follow the guidelines that you’re given for braces care to make certain that you’re getting the most out of your straightening time.

Seeking a Reliable Orthodontist For Your Child or Yourself?

The team at Valderrama Orthodontics specializes in orthodontic care including metal braces, ceramic braces, clear braces, lingual braces, clear aligners, retainers, mouth guards, and much more. Patients of all ages from children to adults can get a straighter and healthier smile with the help of Dr. Valderrama and the Valderrama Orthodontics team.

The focus is always on patient comfort and convenience. Our cozy office, compassionate staff, and special after-school program are some of the many things that help Valderrama Orthodontics patients feel welcome. We want to help you get the straight teeth that you have always dreamed of — and it might be easier than you had imagined thanks to all of the teeth straightening options available today. Contact us anytime to arrange a visit!

What Do My Rubber Bands Do?

rubber bands

Many orthodontic patients are given a bag of rubber bands and told they have to wear them daily. This type of request may seem unusual or a bit odd, but those tiny rubber bands play a huge role in helping you to improve your smile. Discover why orthodontists use rubber bands as part of your treatment and learn some tips that will help you adjust to wearing rubber bands.

The Two Types of Orthodontic Rubber Bands

Orthodontists use two different types of rubber bands to help shift and move your teeth into proper alignment. Every orthodontic patient will have at least one type of rubber band – ligatures – as their treatment, while not everyone will need the second type of rubber bands – interarch rubber bands – as part of their treatment.

Ligatures are tiny little rubber bands that are used by every orthodontic patient who gets traditional braces. These small rubber bands are wrapped around each of the brackets that are placed on your teeth. Their purpose is to hold the archwire in place during your treatment.

Ligatures are the fun part of having braces. They come in a variety of colors which allows patients to customize how their braces look. Some patients love picking out different colors during each of their appointments while others prefer the clear rubber bands that have a more natural look.

The second type of rubber bands, interarch rubber bands or elastics, are a common part of orthodontic treatment, but not everyone will need this treatment. These are larger than ligatures and are placed on both sides of your mouth.

The purpose of the interarch rubber bands is to help adjust your bite. The rubber bands provide enough tension that your jaw will subtly and slowly shift forwards or backwards. Over time, the jaw movement will give you a properly aligned jaw and completely fix your bite.

How are Interarch Rubber Bands Worn?

Unlike ligature rubber bands that only can be removed by your orthodontist, interarch rubber bands will need to be replaced on a daily basis. This means you must learn how to properly hook them up to your braces.

The following is a brief look at how you attach the rubber bands:

  • Rubber bands are worn on each side of your mouth
  • Top of the rubber band is hooked on a bracket that has been attached to one of your canines or one of your molars
  • Rubberband is stretched and then hooked on the bracket that is on a bottom molar or on a bottom canine
  • Sometimes rubber bands are worn as triangles or boxes or in the center of your mouth to align your front teeth also.

Dr. Valderrama will show you how to properly remove and replace the interarch rubber bands. If you should encounter any problems, you can always call the staff at our Valderrama Orthodontic’s office who will gladly answer any questions you may have or walk you through how to replace the rubber bands.

Tips for Adjusting to Wearing Rubber Bands with Braces

Wearing stretchy, rubbery material in your mouth is a completely new experience. There will be a period of adjustment as you get used to how the rubber bands feel, the subtle pain they may cause, and the new routine you will have to do on a daily basis.

Orthodontic patients have found the following tips useful in helping with the adjustment period:

  • Use a mirror the first few times you replace interarch rubber bands
  • Be patient. It will take a while to learn how to hook the rubber bands in your mouth. If you still find it difficult, your orthodontist may be able to give you bigger rubber bands. However, they often like to keep the rubber bands as small as possible as that helps create the tension needed to move the jaw.
  • Always keep the rubber bands close by as you never know if they may break
  • Change the rubber bands daily at the same time. This will help it become a part of your daily routine.
  • Make sure you remove the rubber bands before you brush your teeth or whenever you want to eat something – even if it is a small snack
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water if you feel any pain or discomfort

Have any other questions about rubber bands or want to learn more about orthodontic treatment options then call Valderrama Orthodontics. Our office staff will gladly answer any questions you may have or schedule an appointment so you can speak with our orthodontist Dr. Natalia Valderrama at 321.425.5050.