A Patient’s Active Role in Orthodontic Treatment

Taking an active role in wearing braces really comes down to one word:  compliance!

Compliance imageLet’s start with a dictionary.  Merriam-Webster defines compliance as conformity of behavior toward achieving objectives.  Compliance can mean many things to an orthodontic patient, but let’s first consider how broadly important compliance can be in many different areas.  It is not limited only to braces – it also effects other areas of dentistry.  Take brushing and flossing, for example.  Not only is this behavior critical while in braces – it is also a building block for oral health over your lifetime.

But it’s not even just limited to dentistry. Compliance also relates to different areas of medicine.  If you are sick, compliance in taking medications daily (or sometimes multiple times daily) is a key part of your active role in managing your health.  Another example is wellness and compliance with taking vitamins and supplements.  Consistent behavior and an active role greatly increase the probability of positive outcomes.

But we will go even one level broader.  Compliance is not just limited to medicine.  It is an important part of many aspects of how you live.  Think about it.  If you are seeking to lose weight, you must be compliant with your diet.  If you are training for a marathon, you must be compliant with your running schedule.  Of course, these examples also tie back to health and wellness.  But there are many other aspects of behavior that require compliance.  Studying for exams, learning to play a musical instrument, and mastering a new language all require consistent and compliant behavior.  Even managing your career and raising children are examples.

Without behavior that conforms toward achieving objectives, it just simply is not realistic to expect that those objectives will be achieved.  Why would you expect to lose weight if you are not compliant with your diet?  In the same way, why would you expect to achieve that great smile in the time frame desired if you are not compliant with your orthodontic care?

While wearing braces, compliance means listening to your doctor and considering the foods you eat, oral healthcare habits, wear of rubber bands and other orthodontic accessories, and, of course, making all of your appointments!  So take an active role – together you and your orthodontist can accomplish all of those objectives and the result will be a wonderful smile for a lifetime.