After a year of change and adaptation, more hopeful times have been comforting to see. However, these changes have shown many of us new, more flexible ways to go about our daily lives. Here at Bowen Family Orthodontics, we’re continuing to do everything we can to keep our team and patients safe and healthy. That’s why we’ve created a guide on how to care for your smile between orthodontic visits.
Whether you’re getting back to life as usual or still keeping things close to home, there are several things you can do to keep your smile healthy and happy between 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. Oral issues like cavities or gum disease can interrupt your progress and lead to longer treatment times. In some cases, poor oral health may even affect the final results.
To prevent tooth decay, you should brush a minimum of twice a day and floss every night before bed. It’s preferable 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, we recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. If you wear braces, brush gently around the brackets to remove any food debris without disturbing your appliances.
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 the 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 good care of your clear aligners
Just like 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’re supposed to. This can cause bacteria to spread, resulting in bad breath and other issues. Cleaning your aligners regularly will keep your aligners almost invisible, your breath smelling fresh, and your teeth looking bright!
You should clean your aligners each 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. These will thoroughly clean your aligners and prevent bacteria from clinging to them!
Remember to always use room-temperature water when cleaning your aligners, as this will allow them to maintain their shape. The thermoplastic material they’re made of can bend in hot water and contract in cold water.
Follow all the guidelines and recommendations from Dr. Bowen
As a highly trained and experienced orthodontist, Dr. Bowen knows what it takes to create 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. We typically provide Invisalign patients 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 when they’re ready.
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 slight adjustment—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.
Have you recently completed their treatment with us? If so, you should continue to wear the retainer you were given according to Dr. Bowen’s directions. This will keep your beautiful new smile in place for years to come!
Keep a braces care kit with you wherever you go
As we start getting back to somewhat normal routines, 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 a small 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 good with Bowen Family Orthodontics
We’re thankful that things are getting back to some version of “normal” at the moment, but we want you to know that we’re here for you even if circumstances change! If you can’t make it to our Mullica Hill 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. Bowen, in-person or online!