A confident smile can change your life, but getting there takes some work! Treatment with Orthodontic Specialists is a great investment in your long-term oral health, and we have a variety of options to help your teeth look and feel fantastic. You have an important part to play in this process, however! When you follow the recommendations and guidelines our doctors set out for you, it will ensure you achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time possible.
But the opposite is true as well! If you don’t comply with your treatment plan, it can interrupt or delay things. You may need to wear your braces or aligners for a longer period of time. In severe cases, this non-compliance can even impact your final results. Thankfully, there are many simple ways to keep your treatment on track! Let’s take a look at how you can ensure your mouth stays healthy throughout the treatment process.
Brushing and flossing with braces
Take a look in the mirror and give yourself a great big smile—see all those brackets and wires? While they’re extremely efficient at moving your teeth into the desired positions, they also create a network of nooks and crannies that can trap food particles and plaque. This increases the risk of developing cavities, tooth decay, and even gum disease while you’re wearing braces.
If you don’t clean your brackets and teeth effectively, the enamel can begin to lose minerals. This is an early sign of tooth decay and may leave noticeable white spots. It can also cause symptoms of gingivitis, including inflammation or bleeding in the gums. These problems can be reversed by taking extra care with your oral hygiene! Try following these simple guidelines to get the most out of your brushing routine.
- Brush around each part of your braces after every meal and snack.
- If you’re unable to brush right away, rinse with water to help dislodge any stray food particles.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoridated toothpaste.
- Brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across every surface of every tooth to effectively remove bacteria and any debris.
- Floss every night before bed to remove bacteria and any food that has accumulated throughout the day. Use tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks to clean hard-to-reach areas around your braces.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months (or sooner if you have a cold or any other illness.)
- Use antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes to help further improve your oral health!
The healthiest habits for Invisalign patients
Taking care of clear aligners is a bit easier than braces, but if you’re an Invisalign patient in one of our offices, you’re not entirely off the hook. In addition to keeping your teeth and gums in good shape, you’ll need to care for your aligners, too. Remember to always wash your hands before taking aligners out and putting them back in your mouth. Rinse your aligner any time you remove it and use a cleaning solution with lukewarm water at least twice a day. If you notice any build-up, you can soak your aligners in a retainer or denture cleaner to remove it.
Extreme temperatures of any kind can warp aligners and cause them to lose their natural shape. Never leave your Invisalign aligners in a hot car and be sure to avoid very cold or very hot water when rinsing and cleaning your aligners. You should also always be mindful of where your aligners are when they’re not in your mouth! To keep them clean and free from bacteria, always store your aligners in an approved case if you aren’t wearing them.
Visit your dentist regularly throughout treatment
Every orthodontic treatment plan includes follow-up visits to our office. This allows your orthodontist to check that things are progressing as they should be, as well as change out your bands and wire from time to time. In addition to these appointments, you should continue to schedule regular checkups with your dentist, too! While you’re under our care during the orthodontic process, your dentist is still your primary oral health physician. Their job is to help you maintain a healthy mouth and identify any issues with your dental health. For the best results, we encourage all of our patients to see their dentist once every six months or so.
Be prepared for anything
Orthodontic issues can occur from time to time. Although this is common, it can be frustrating if you’re on the go! To stay prepared for any potential problems, throw together a “care kit” to keep with you when you’re out and about, which includes:
- a soft-bristled toothbrush
- a small tube of fluoride toothpaste
- dental floss or ortho picks
- orthodontic wax if you wear braces
- extra rubber bands
- lip balm
- a small cup for rinsing with water
- an unsharpened pencil (the eraser end can be used to push stray wires back into place)
Throw these items together in a small bag to keep in your backpack or purse and you’ll be ready to handle any issues that pop in between appointments! You should always get in touch with our team if you experience a real orthodontic emergency, however. Our doctors will be able to assess the situation and let you know what steps you should take next.
Achieve your best smile with Orthodontic Specialists
Good oral health is important for everyone, but it’s an essential part of the orthodontic process. Following the guidelines and tips we’ve outlined for you here will help keep your treatment on track and guarantee the beautiful smile you’ve been waiting for!
Do you have any questions or concerns about your orthodontic care? Would you like to learn more about improving your oral hygiene? Get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with one of our ten convenient office locations.