Here at Coppe + Sears, we’re passionate about creating healthy smiles that look incredible and feel amazing. Although we use the latest in orthodontic technology and constantly strive to perfect our technique, there’s another essential element in achieving the best results—our patients! By following our guidelines on how to care for your smile between orthodontic visits, patients can help ensure they get the straightest smile in the shortest amount of time possible.
If you’re a current orthodontic patient, you already know that issues like cavities, gum disease, and noncompliance can interrupt your progress. This can lead to longer treatment times or even affect your final results. Keeping your mouth healthy and your appliance in good shape plays an important role in how successful your overall treatment is. Let’s take a closer look below at how you can brush up on the basics of oral care outside our office!
Visit your dentist regularly
While you’re wearing braces or clear aligners, visits to your dentist should be a regular part of caring for your smile. Though you’re under our doctors’ care throughout the treatment process, your dentist is still considered to be your primary oral health physician. Their responsibility is to help you maintain clean and healthy teeth and gums, along with identifying any potential issues with your dental health.
During routine checkups, your dentist will provide a professional cleaning and conduct a thorough exam of your mouth, including the teeth, jaw, and gums. We recommend that all of our patients see their regular dentist once every six months for a cleaning and check-up to keep their smiles in tip-top shape.
Brush and floss like a pro
Brackets and wires make it easier for food particles to get trapped, which can lead to a buildup of bacteria and plaque. This means your teeth are more susceptible to cavities when you’re wearing braces, along with tooth decay and gum disease. These can delay your treatment progress and affect your final results, so it’s particularly important to pay attention to how you’re brushing and flossing throughout your orthodontic journey! Stick to the following guidelines for healthy teeth, a shiny smile, and fresh breath.
- Brush at least three times a day, ideally after each meal and once before bed. If you’re in braces, be sure to brush around every part of them.
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and 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 trapped food particles.
- 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.
- 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.
Special tips for Invisalign patients
If you’re an Invisalign patient, you’ve got a bit of extra responsibility in caring for your aligners as well as your oral health. Remember to always rinse them off before putting them back in your mouth, and clean them well with gentle liquid soap and cold 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. Don’t forget to keep your aligners away from all heat sources, including hot water, to avoid warping and maintain their natural shape.
Follow the guidelines our doctors give you
Our orthodontists are trained experts, so you should always listen to what they have to say about your smile! For example, if you’ve been given elastics to wear with your braces or aligners, continue to change them out exactly as directed in between visits with us. If you’ve recently completed your treatment with us, don’t forget to wear your retainer as directed to keep your newly straightened smile in place!
We typically provide our Invisalign patients with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time, but if your current set happens to run out before the next scheduled appointment, we’re happy to arrange for you to pick up the next set at your convenience. If we’re somehow 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’ll only need to keep them in for 10-12 hours each day instead of the normal 20-22 hours. This will help extend the life of your aligners until an appointment is available and keep your treatment on track.
Create an orthodontic “care kit” to take on the go
Whether you’re still sticking close to home or beginning to venture out more often, it’s a good idea to be prepared for any orthodontic issues that may occur while you’re out and about. One easy way to do this is to create a “care kit” to keep with you, packed with essential items 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 everything together in a portable bag to keep on hand and you’ll have almost everything you need for any issues that could pop up between appointments!
Give your smile the best with care from Coppe + Sears
It’s always important to take good care of your teeth and gums, but it’s an essential part of treatment when you’re in braces or clear aligners. By following the guide on how to care for your smile between orthodontic visits, you’ll be able to boost your oral health while we work on giving you a straighter smile!
If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic care, our expert team is always happy to walk you through all the ins and outs of your treatment plan. Want to learn more about how to proactively care for your smile? Get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with our Lexington orthodontic team!