Here at Moffett & Walley Orthodontics, we believe that better oral health can change your life. Achieving a healthier smile takes some effort, though! Orthodontic treatment is an exciting step in the right direction. While our doctors will handle most of the hard work, you’ve got an important role to play in the treatment process, too.
Following the recommendations and guidelines throughout treatment will help you achieve the best results possible. The reverse is true as well, though. Not holding up your end of the orthodontic bargain can lead to longer treatment times and may even affect your final results. The good news is, it’s simple to keep your smile healthy while we straighten it! Here are some easy tips for taking care of your teeth in between orthodontic visits.
Basic care for braces patients
Give yourself a big smile in the mirror. Do you see all the little nooks and crannies your braces create? Brackets and wires are fantastic for moving the teeth, but they also tend to attract food particles, plaque, and bacteria. As a braces patient, you have an increased risk of developing cavities, tooth decay, or even gum disease during treatment. That’s why an excellent dental hygiene routine is an essential part of the orthodontic process!
When you don’t clean your brackets and teeth effectively, the enamel can begin to lose minerals. This early sign of tooth decay can leave noticeable white spots and may cause some symptoms of gingivitis, like inflammation or bleeding gums. These problems can be reversed by adjusting your oral hygiene routine, however! Try following these basic guidelines to get the most out of brushing and flossing while you’re in braces.
- 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.
Healthy habits for Invisalign patients
If you’re an Invisalign patient, you’re not entirely off the hook here! Oral hygiene may be easier with this type of system, but you still have to care for your teeth and your aligners during treatment. Start with basic hygiene: 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 your aligners and cause them to lose their natural shape, something you should always be aware of. Never leave your Invisalign aligners in a hot car, and be sure to avoid very cold or very hot water when rinsing and cleaning them. You should also be mindful of where your aligners are when they’re not in your mouth. If you aren’t wearing them, store your aligners in an approved case to keep them clean and free of bacteria (and away from the family pet! You’d be surprised how much dogs love Invisalign aligners.)
See your dentist regularly during treatment
While you’re under our care throughout the orthodontic process, your dentist will still be your primary oral health physician. Their job is to help you maintain a healthy mouth and identify any issues with your dental health. Every orthodontic treatment plan includes regular follow-up visits with Dr. Moffett or Dr. Walley. These appointments allow your doctor to check that everything is progressing as it should be and make any necessary adjustments. It’s important to continue seeing your dentist regularly as well! We encourage all of our patients to check in with their dentist once every six months or so for the best results.
Be prepared for anything
Orthodontic issues can pop up from time to time. This is completely normal, but it can still be frustrating if it happens when you’re out and about! To stay prepared for any potential problems, put a “care kit” together and keep it with you when you’re on the go. Consider including basics like:
- 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 this kit in a small bag to keep in your backpack or purse, and you’ll be ready for anything! Remember to always get in touch with our team if you experience a real orthodontic emergency, however. Our doctors will assess the situation and let you know what your next steps should be.
Keep your smile healthy with help from Moffett & Walley Orthodontics
Good oral health should be the goal for all of us, but it’s especially important for orthodontic patients. Taking good care of your teeth and gums will keep your treatment plan on track and help you achieve the confident smile you’ve always wanted. We hope these guidelines and tips will make it a more straightforward process for you!
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! We’ll be happy to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment for you in our Clinton or Madison office.