With so many changes over the past year, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed! As we continue living through a pandemic, there’s a continued need for flexibility in your orthodontic journey. Here at RiverView Orthodontics, we’re doing everything we can to keep our Tuscaloosa and Demopolis team and patients safe and healthy, but there may be times when you’re away from the office longer than you would normally be. Whether we’re able to maintain your regularly scheduled appointments or need to extend the intervals for some reason, we’ve got all you need to know about how to care for your smile between orthodontic visits! Keep reading below to learn more.
Bring your ‘A’ game to oral hygiene
We should all be doing our part to keep our teeth and gums healthy, but this is even more important when you’re an orthodontic patient. Cavities or gum disease can interrupt the progress you’re making and lead to longer treatment times. In some cases, poor oral health may even affect your final results.
To keep tooth decay from forming, you should brush a minimum of twice a day and floss every night before bed. We encourage you to brush after every meal, but when this isn’t possible, try to give your mouth a good rinse with water after eating and drinking. To clean effectively, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. If you wear braces, brush gently around the brackets to remove any food debris without disturbing your appliance.
Here are a few other guidelines to keep in mind for your dental hygiene routine!
- Brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across your teeth to effectively remove bacteria and any trapped food particles.
- 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.
Take care of your clear aligners
Just like maintaining a proper brushing and flossing routine, keeping your Invisalign aligners clean is essential for good oral health. It’s also an important part of keeping them clear! If you don’t keep your aligners clean, they can become stained, which makes them much more noticeable.
Food particles can also get stuck in your Invisalign aligners if you don’t maintain them the way you should. This can cause bacteria to spread, resulting in bad breath and other oral issues. Cleaning your aligners regularly will keep your aligners almost invisible, your breath smelling fresh, and your teeth looking beautiful!
You should clean your aligners every time you remove them—rinsing and soaking them in water alone won’t prevent a build-up of bacteria. Use a clear soap, denture cleaner, or Invisalign cleaning crystal instead for the best results. These will thoroughly clean your aligners and prevent bacteria from clinging to them!
The thermoplastic material your aligners are made of can bend in hot water and contract in cold water. Remember to always use room-temperature water when cleaning your aligners, as this will allow them to maintain their shape.
Follow all the recommendations from your orthodontist
As a highly trained and experienced orthodontist, Dr. Upton knows what it takes to create and maintain a straighter, healthier smile. If you’ve been given elastics to wear with your braces or aligners, continue to change them out exactly as directed. Invisalign patients will normally be provided with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time. If your current set happens to run out before the next scheduled appointment, we’re happy to arrange a curbside pick-up for the next set, or you can run in and grab them (don’t forget your mask!)
If we’re unable to provide you with a new set of aligners right away, you can continue wearing the last set you were given with one difference—you only need to wear them for 10-12 hours each day instead of the normal 20-22 hours. Doing this will help extend the life of your aligners until an appointment is available. It will also keep your treatment plan on track and ensure you don’t lose any of the progress we’ve already made on your smile.
If you’ve recently completed their treatment with us you should continue to wear the retainer you were given according to Dr. Upton’s specifications. This will keep your beautiful new smile in place for years to come!
Keep a braces care kit with you wherever you go
While we continue to adjust to ever-changing guidelines, we encourage you to stay prepared for any orthodontic issues that may come up. One simple way you can do this is by creating a braces “care kit” to keep with you when you’re on the go. You can include any items you think you’ll need, but we recommend starting with these essentials:
- A soft-bristled toothbrush
- A small tube of fluoride toothpaste
- Dental floss or ortho picks
- Orthodontic wax
- 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 everything you’ve collected together in an easy-to-carry bag and keep it with you to handle almost any orthodontic need to keep on hand and you’ll have almost everything you need for any problem that might come up in between appointments.
Keep your smile looking and feeling great with RiverView Orthodontics
As we continue to navigate life while dealing with COVID-19, our team is here for you! If you can’t make it to our Tuscaloosa or Demopolis office as planned, just let us know as soon as possible—we’ll still be happy to answer your questions or walk you through any concerns you may have about the treatment process.
Would you like to learn more about being proactive on your journey towards a more confident smile? Get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with Dr. Upton!