How Often Do I Have to See the Orthodontist and Why?

When you are first beginning orthodontic treatment, you may wonder how often you or your child will need to see the orthodontist. The short answer is it depends upon a variety of factors, including your specific orthodontic treatment plan. This article will cover how frequently you should see the orthodontist if you are an established client wearing traditional braces, Invisalign, or other orthodontic appliances, such as a retainer, appliance, or guard. This article will also address how frequently your child should see the orthodontist prior to beginning treatment and how frequently to visit your orthodontist after treatment is complete.

How Often to See the Orthodontist During Treatment

With traditional braces, including silver, gold, or ceramic, many orthodontic practices, including Smith Orthodontics, recommend that patients see the orthodontist every six to eight weeks. During these visits, your orthodontist will make any necessary adjustments and ensure your treatment is on track. 

Your orthodontist will want you to visit every four to six weeks if you have Invisalign aligners. This appointment will typically last for 15 minutes and your orthodontist will check your progress, answer any questions you have, and dispense your next set of aligner trays. Many orthodontists can do some Invisalign checkups virtually, meaning less trips to the office for you. 

While braces and Invisalign are the most common orthodontic treatments, there are also a variety of other orthodontic appliances, such as retainers, headgear, and palatal expanders. During these treatments, your orthodontist will want to see you on a regular basis, likely every four to eight weeks, to make sure that the appliance is still working for you correctly.

If Your Child Hasn’t Started Treatment

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends your child first see an orthodontist by seven years old. Conducting the first visit with an orthodontist at the age of seven is critical because children will have a mix of both baby and permanent teeth. This allows the orthodontist to see how their teeth are coming in and if any orthodontic problems are forming early in development. 

During the initial exam, Dr. Amy will conduct an initial screening to look for possible cross bites, premature loss of baby teeth, over-retained baby teeth, crowding, and misalignment. Even if your child does not need to begin treatment at this stage, early evaluation allows for a game plan to be developed to address any orthodontic issues when your child is ready…and before they get too serious. You should plan on bringing your child back annually for orthodontic check-ups to monitor their growth until it’s decided whether or not they braces or other treatment.

After Your Treatment Plan Is Complete

After you have your braces removed, you will breathe a huge sigh of relief! You will finally be able to admire the smile you’ve worked so hard to achieve. In order to keep that beautiful smile and maintain proper oral health, it is essential to keep regular maintenance appointments with your orthodontist. You will visit twice a year for the first one to two years for check-ups on your retainer. You orthodontist will make sure it is still fitting properly and will check for any unwanted tooth shifting. 

To keep your family’s smiles, including your own, straight and healthy, consult with your orthodontist for the right treatment plan for you, including the best timing for your initial consultation and follow-up appointments.