Getting braces put on can be quite a change. Over the next couple of weeks, you have to get used to avoiding certain foods and brushing and flossing with the braces on. And then, just as you're settling in and adapting to your braces, it becomes time to have your braces tightened. What can you expect from this first tightening appointment?
Expect a thorough exam the first time around.
As time goes on, your orthodontist probably won't spend as much time looking at your teeth during these checkup appointments. But at your first dental checkup, you can expect them to be thorough in their exam. This is typically the first time your orthodontist will have seen your mouth since you had braces put on, so they will want to assess your progress, see where the braces might be making you sore, and so forth. Your orthodontist will probably ask you some questions about your habits and how you're adapting to the braces. The more thoroughly you are able to answer, the better for you and your orthodontist.
Expect the process to take about 15 minutes.
Once your orthodontist has looked over your teeth and braces, they'll have you sit back in the dental chair and open your mouth. They will then proceed to tighten up the wires on your braces. They may completely remove and reattach some wires, too. This whole process should take about 15 minutes and shouldn't be any more uncomfortable than having your teeth cleaned.
Expect to have some pain and discomfort afterward.
You may have felt some pressure on your teeth during the tightening, that can increase throughout the day afterward. Discomfort generally arises about an hour or two after your tightening appointment, once the wires have been putting pressure on your teeth for a while. You can prepare for this in advance by taking ibuprofen before your dental appointment and by sipping a cool drink on your way home.
Expect to schedule your next tightening appointment.
Most orthodontists will want to schedule your next tightening appointment while you are in there for your current one. Expect the appointment to be scheduled about 4 to 6 weeks out, depending on the progress your orthodontist notes at your first appointment. The faster your teeth seem to be moving, the more often you will need your braces tightened.
Having your braces tightened for the first time can be a little intimidating, but hopefully, you now have a better idea of what to expect. If you have any other questions about the braces services you are receiving, you can talk to an orthodontist for more information.