Orthodontic Adjustments: Why You Need Them and What to Expect

When you have your braces put in, it's not a case of setting them and then forgetting them. You will still need to visit the orthodontics clinic or your dentist on a fairly regular basis. The actual frequency of your visits will be determined by your dentist and it varies from person to person. But why exactly do you need these regular visits?

Gentle Manipulation

Your braces are there to straighten your teeth, although their initial positioning is not enough to do the job. Your braces are first positioned so that they can begin the process of gently manipulating your teeth into the desired position. This process requires numerous adjustments to your braces, with each alteration gently manipulating your teeth a little further until the end result has been achieved. These alterations are achieved by a minor tightening of your braces each time you visit your dentist or orthodontics clinic. With each visit, your dentist or orthodontist will slightly tighten the archwire of your braces, which is the primary piece of metal that stretches across your teeth. It might not sound so pleasant, and yet is a perfectly straightforward process that should not result in much discomfort.

Dealing with Sensitivity

While there should not be much in the way of discomfort when your braces are tightened, there might be some increased sensitivity. How can you deal with this?

  • Watch what you eat immediately after your braces are tightened. It might be uncomfortable to eat particularly chewy foods while your teeth are adjusting to their newly adjusted position. So it might be a case of having soup for dinner on the day when your braces are tightened.
  • Beverages aren't going to make a huge difference when it comes to the sensitivity of your teeth immediately after your braces are tightened. In fact, ice cold drinks can actually numb your teeth (to a small degree) which will temporarily reduce any sensitivity you might be feeling.
  • If you experience excessive sensitivity (which verges on discomfort) after each time your braces are tightened, then please have a word with your dentist or orthodontist. They might wish to amend the degree to which your braces are tightened on each visit.

The Insides of Your Cheek

As the archwire is tightened, its ends will often be trimmed so that they do not scratch the insides of your cheeks. If you feel that this is happening (and it might only become evident at a later time, such as when you're eating), then visit your dentist or orthodontist. They might need to remove more of the archwire to prevent irritation to the soft tissue on the insides of your cheeks.

Having your braces tightened might not sound so pleasant, but it's really just a straightforward and painless step when it comes to achieving a beautiful, straight smile.