How to Care for Your Smile in Between Orthodontic Visits
Kenilworth, IL – During these unsure times, you may be away from your orthodontic office for longer periods of time than you normally are. But whether you are maintaining your regularly scheduled appointments or are extending the intervals in between due to COVID-19, there are tips every orthodontic patient should follow in between visits.
- Clean your teeth regularly. Keeping your smile clean is always important, but it is crucial during orthodontic treatment. Cavities or gum disease can affect your treatment times, so be sure to brush a minimum of twice a day and floss at least once. It is preferable to brush after every meal, but if this isn’t possible, rinse your mouth with water after eating and drinking. When brushing, we recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Brush gently around your braces, taking care to remove any debris while not dislodging the bracket.
- If you wear aligners, be sure to clean them regularly and properly to avoid plaque build-up. Always rinse your aligners when you remove them before you place them back in your mouth. Clean your aligners well with soap at least twice a day. Soak them in retainer or denture cleaner to remove any build-up. Never soak them or clean them with hot water and avoid storing them anyplace hot.
- Follow all the guidelines your orthodontist provided. If you were prescribed elastics with your braces or aligners, be sure you wear them exactly as directed and for the proper amount of time. If you use aligners, keep to your aligner schedule. If you’ve completed treatment and are wearing a retainer, wear it as prescribed by your orthodontist.
- Remember the foods you are supposed to avoid. If you are in metal braces, it’s important to avoid foods that can damage your brackets and wires. That means avoiding anything that is too hard, chewy, crunchy or sticky. Don’t chomp on ice and avoid using your teeth as tools.
- Limit your sugar intake. Cavities can affect your treatment, so be sure you avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. Switch out your sports drinks and sodas for water, instead. We also recommend limiting your intake of starchy foods as well. Foods high in starch or sugar can lead to plaque growth, which can cause decay and/or gum disease.
- Make a braces care kit to keep with you at all times. Pack a small, portable bag with everything you need for caring for your braces on the go – travel toothbrush and toothpaste, floss, wax, etc.
- If you play a sport that could result in a blow to the mouth, we recommend wearing a properly fitting mouthguard. This can not only prevent damage to your appliances but to the soft tissues of your mouth.
- Contact your orthodontist if you have any questions or concerns. Your orthodontic team is always here for you, even when you aren’t in the office. We are always happy to answer questions or address concerns to help you keep your treatment on track.
iDentity Orthodontics is also pleased to offer virtual appointments for our patients who may not feel comfortable visiting our office at this time. Virtual appointments are quick and easy, and all done from the comfort of your own home. While it is always our preference to see patients in our office, we realize this is a difficult time, and the world is rapidly changing. Virtual consultations allow us to bring our personalized care directly into patient homes.