Why are Observation Appointments Important?

We understand that moms, dads, and patients have busy schedules. Getting out of work early, going to work late, and picking up your children from school is no easy task. Sometimes the appointments are so short, nearly 20 minutes and seemingly meaningless. Recall and observation appointments are very important and we'll explain why. Observation  appointments are scheduled for our patients who are either not ready for braces or other orthodontic treatment yet, or are waiting for their second phase of treatment to begin. This usually means that we are waiting for baby teeth to fall out, and permanent teeth to come in. We may take pictures, and X-rays at these observation appointments, to see how the patient is progressing.

If the patient has had phase 1 treatment they may have a retainer or space maintainer. Dr. Rob will check on the condition of this appliance. If a retainer comes loose or is lost, the teeth will move. The sooner we realize this, the easier it is to stop the movement of teeth. Space maintainers preserve the space necessary for the growth of new adult teeth. At a recall/observation appointment, we will determine if it is time for a space maintainer to be removed.

We will also check on the loss of baby teeth and the progress of permanent teeth replacements. Dr. Rob may notice that a baby tooth is not falling out on time, and can also determine from an x-ray if permanent teeth are heading in the wrong direction. He may recommend seeing a dentist that will remove the baby tooth so that the new tooth comes in straighter.

Dr. Rob and Kristy will also spend time with you to explain the timing of the next phase of treatment. No patient will begin treatment if they are not ready. Sometimes you may be waiting months, and in some cases even years to begin treatment. If treatment beings too early, braces may be on for too long. If we wait too long, the opportunity to keep treatment as short as possible, may be missed.

Keeping your observation appointments so that we can follow development will help you receive the treatment you need, when you need it. So, although the appointments seem so short, and even maybe like a wasted trip, we are making sure that you are progressing towards a happy smile!

First, if the patient has had an interceptive phase of treatment, the first order of business is checking the condition of the retainers. Our Phase 1 retainers are bonded directly to the teeth and sometimes the bonding material wears thin with normal eating. If a retainer comes loose or is lost, the teeth will move and the result of the initial treatment compromised. It only takes a couple of minutes to add cement to an intact retainer. It is not possible however to realign teeth formerly attached to a broken retainer without putting the braces back on. Another type of retainer we use in young patients is called a space maintainer. It is designed to preserve the space necessary for the eruption of a permanent tooth after the corresponding tooth is lost early. It is at a recall appointment that we determine when it is appropriate to remove a space maintainer.

The second objective of this appointment is to evaluate the loss of primary teeth and the eruption of the permanent replacements. Losing primary teeth on time and in the right order can help the permanent teeth come in straighter. If I notice that a baby tooth is not falling out on time, or I identify in an x-ray that the permanent teeth are headed in the wrong direction, I usually recommend that a patient see their family dentist to get the offending baby tooth removed. Evaluating the loss of primary teeth and the eruption of permanent ones doesn’t take much time, but ignoring developing problems can add months or years to a patient’s orthodontic treatment.

The third objective of an observation appointment is to counsel with the family about the timing of the next phase of treatment. My philosophy is that I will begin no treatment before a patient is ready. This might mean waiting a few months or even years. If we start too early, your son or daughter may have the braces on too long. If we wait too long, we might miss the opportunity to keep treatment as short as possible or end up extending it into the prom or graduation years of high school (not popular with patients or their families).

Having your orthodontist follow your child’s development will help them receive the care they need when they need it. Although they are short and sometimes seem like a wasted trip, your orthodontist knows exactly what to look for at an observation or recall appointment and will make sure that your child is progressing towards an excellent orthodontic result. Next time your son or daughter has an observation visit with your orthodontist, make sure and ask for an explanation of the things he was looking for and what he found. I think you’ll find that these short, to-the-point appointments are as important as any you’ll ever have.

- See more at: http://www.gregjorgensen.com/blog/2012/12/what-is-the-purpose-of-an-orthodontic-observation-or-recall-appointment/#sthash.EgocPu

First, if the patient has had an interceptive phase of treatment, the first order of business is checking the condition of the retainers. Our Phase 1 retainers are bonded directly to the teeth and sometimes the bonding material wears thin with normal eating. If a retainer comes loose or is lost, the teeth will move and the result of the initial treatment compromised. It only takes a couple of minutes to add cement to an intact retainer. It is not possible however to realign teeth formerly attached to a broken retainer without putting the braces back on. Another type of retainer we use in young patients is called a space maintainer. It is designed to preserve the space necessary for the eruption of a permanent tooth after the corresponding tooth is lost early. It is at a recall appointment that we determine when it is appropriate to remove a space maintainer.

The second objective of this appointment is to evaluate the loss of primary teeth and the eruption of the permanent replacements. Losing primary teeth on time and in the right order can help the permanent teeth come in straighter. If I notice that a baby tooth is not falling out on time, or I identify in an x-ray that the permanent teeth are headed in the wrong direction, I usually recommend that a patient see their family dentist to get the offending baby tooth removed. Evaluating the loss of primary teeth and the eruption of permanent ones doesn’t take much time, but ignoring developing problems can add months or years to a patient’s orthodontic treatment.

The third objective of an observation appointment is to counsel with the family about the timing of the next phase of treatment. My philosophy is that I will begin no treatment before a patient is ready. This might mean waiting a few months or even years. If we start too early, your son or daughter may have the braces on too long. If we wait too long, we might miss the opportunity to keep treatment as short as possible or end up extending it into the prom or graduation years of high school (not popular with patients or their families).

Having your orthodontist follow your child’s development will help them receive the care they need when they need it. Although they are short and sometimes seem like a wasted trip, your orthodontist knows exactly what to look for at an observation or recall appointment and will make sure that your child is progressing towards an excellent orthodontic result. Next time your son or daughter has an observation visit with your orthodontist, make sure and ask for an explanation of the things he was looking for and what he found. I think you’ll find that these short, to-the-point appointments are as important as any you’ll ever have.

- See more at: http://www.gregjorgensen.com/blog/2012/12/what-is-the-purpose-of-an-orthodontic-observation-or-recall-appointment/#sthash.EgocPui6.