Here at Embrace Orthodontics, we’re passionate about creating beautiful smiles for families throughout the Lindstrom, Cambridge, and Pine City areas. We’re able to help patients achieve the smile of their dreams thanks to our expert team, cutting-edge technology, and world-class care. But there’s another essential element involved in the orthodontic process—and that’s you!
By following the guidelines Dr. Sievers or Dr. Van Vooren give you, you’ll help us ensure the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. This is important because problems like cavities, gum disease, and non-compliance can affect your overall progress. If your treatment plan is interrupted or delayed, it can lead to more time in braces or clear aligners. In some cases, it can even impact the final results.
Taking good care of your smile in between orthodontic visits is one easy way to keep things moving in the right direction. Let’s take a closer look at how you can keep your teeth and your orthodontic appliance in great shape outside the office!
Brush up on your dental hygiene routine
A good oral hygiene routine is important for all of us, but it’s essential for orthodontic patients. If you wear braces, you already know that brushing and flossing takes a little more effort since you have to navigate around the brackets and wires. Unfortunately, those same components can make it easy for food particles to become trapped against the teeth. If these aren’t brushed or flossed away, plaque and bacteria can build up, increasing your risk for developing various dental issues. Stick to the following guidelines to get the most out of your oral hygiene routine!
- Brush after every meal and snack. If you wear braces, be sure to brush around each part of them.
- If you can’t brush right away, rinse with water to help dislodge any stray food particles.
- 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 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.
- 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.
A note for Invisalign patients
Oral hygiene may be easier for Invisalign patients, but you’re not off the hook entirely here! In addition to maintaining your oral health, you’re responsible for caring for your clear aligners as well. 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.
Don’t forget to keep your aligners away from all heat sources! Extreme temperatures of any kind can cause them to warp and lose their natural shape. Avoid very cold or very hot water when rinsing or cleaning your aligners. Never leave them in a hot car (and keep them away from pets who love to chew things, too!) Any time your aligners are not soaking or in your mouth, they should remain in an approved case. This will keep your aligners and your mouth clean and free from bacteria!
Visit your family dentist regularly
In addition to regular follow-up visits with Dr. Sievers or Dr. Van Vooren during treatment, you should continue to check in with your family dentist, too. Although you’re under our care throughout the treatment process, your dentist is still considered your primary oral health physician. They’re responsible for helping you maintain a healthy smile and identifying any possible issues with your dental health. A routine checkup with your dentist will normally include a professional cleaning and a thorough exam of your mouth. We encourage all our patients to see their dentist once every six months for the best results.
Create an orthodontic “care kit”
Orthodontic issues can pop up from time to time, and these can be especially annoying if you’re on the go. Stay prepared by creating a “care kit” to keep with you any time you’re out and about! Consider 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 and store it in your purse or backpack so you’ll have what you need for any problems that might occur in between appointments. Should you encounter a real orthodontic emergency, however, be sure to get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can assess the situation and let you know what steps to take next.
Take your smile the extra mile with help from Embrace Orthodontics
Good oral health is important for everybody, but when you’re in braces or clear aligners, it’s an even bigger deal. By following the guidelines and tips we’ve listed above, you’ll keep your teeth and gums healthy, your treatment on track, and help us achieve exceptional results!
Do you have any questions or concerns about your orthodontic care? Would you like 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 Dr. Sievers, Dr. Van Vooren, and the rest of our talented team. With offices in Cambridge, Pine City, and Lindstrom, it’s never been easier to find time for your smile!