Summer Survival Guide: Braces

Summer vacation is in full swing, and we’ve been loving all the sunshine and swimming. Not having an early alarm has been pretty great, too! This time of year is perfect for just hanging around the house chilling out, but many families choose to travel over the summer, too. If you and your family are planning on any hitting the road (or the skies!) before school starts back in a month or two, it’s important that you remember to care for your braces so your treatment isn’t interrupted. We want you to have fun without losing sight of your orthodontic goals! 

To get you through the rest of the summer with your braces and your treatment schedule intact, all you need is a little thinking ahead and a few helpful tips from the team here at Central Virginia Orthodontics. Don’t worry – you can enjoy all your normal activities and keep your smile in shape at the same time! Let’s look at how you can best care for your braces while you’re living your best life this summer. 

Keep the basics by your side

Whether you’re going somewhere that requires a passport, or keeping things close to home this summer, plan on bringing a small bag of basics with you to help care for your braces. Include obvious items like: 

  • fluoride toothpaste
  • a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • floss or a waterpik
  • orthodontic wax or Gishy Goo, a silicone-based product that’s similar to orthodontic wax
  • an over-the-counter pain reliever, just in case you experience any swelling or soreness (but be sure to check with our doctors first!)
  • an unsharpened pencil or two, so you can use the eraser on any protruding wires

Throw it in your backpack, purse, or suitcase so it’ll be easy to access anytime you need it. 

DIY braces care for when you’re on the go 

Every once in a while, you have an issue crop up with your braces while you’re out and about. Although this can be inconvenient, many of these minor issues are easy to fix with a little know-how and a few common items. If you experience any of the following this summer, try these simple solutions to get them sorted out without interrupting your schedule activities!

General mouth irritation

Non-specific irritation in your cheeks, lips, or gums over the course of your treatment is normal and nothing to worry about. Orthodontic wax is an easy way to get some relief. Make sure the bracket or wire is completely dry, then pinch off a small amount of wax and roll it into a ball. Flatten this ball, then place it over the source of irritation.

Protruding wires

Occasionally, wires can come loose and irritate the inside of your mouth. You can fix this with nothing more than an ordinary pencil by using the eraser end to nudge it back against the teeth until it flattens out. You can also place a piece of orthodontic wax over the wire to reduce irritation and provide some extra stability.

Loose bracket

Loose brackets are something you should let us know about as soon as possible, so we can help you decide what the next step should be. In the meantime, try sliding the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth. Orthodontic wax placed over the bracket can also add stability.

Dr. working on a patient's teeth

But just in case…keep our contact details close

You can handle a lot of common issues on your own as a braces patient, but sometimes you may have a problem that needs immediate attention. Before you head out of the house on vacation, or even just to head down the road, make sure you have all of our contact information in your phone or written down somewhere. This should include our phone numbers and our email address. If you run into an unexpected orthodontic emergency, give us a call and we’ll walk you through the next steps you need to take. 

For most problems, it will be safe for you to wait until you’re home to follow up with us in the office. However, if you’re out of town and need to be seen right away, we’ll be happy to help you find a qualified orthodontist nearby. 

If you’re able to, try to take a clear photograph of what’s happening with your mouth or braces, then text or email it to us before you call. This gives us a better chance of assessing the problem more quickly and accurately, so we can get you back to having fun as soon as possible!

Stick to treats that are safe for braces

Between backyard BBQs, pool parties, and sleepovers, summer often comes with a variety of tempting treats. While the food restrictions that come with braces can make it tricky to make good choices, staying strong now will be more than worth it when treatment is complete and we reveal your beautiful new smile!  

To protect your braces and your teeth, you should be avoiding anything that’s too crunchy or chewy, such as ribs, corn on the cob, popcorn, plus any kind of sticky candy, cake, or cookies. This may seem like a lengthy list of things to miss out on, but there’s still plenty of orthodontist-approved classics you can safely indulge in while wearing braces, like coleslaw, potato salad, grilled veggies, baked potatoes, and even ice cream!

Don’t forget your dental hygiene routine

Without a strict schedule, it’s easy to get a little lazy in the summer. When it comes to your braces, however, it’s extra important that you maintain your regular care and cleaning routine. We recommend that all our braces patients brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time, floss daily, and use your waterpik regularly if you have one. Keeping your oral hygiene on track will keep your treatment progressing on schedule, too.

Dr. in a patient consultation

Summer smiles from Central Virginia Orthodontics

Whatever exciting adventures you have up your sleeve this summer, you can keep your braces protected by following the tips we’ve outlined above. Our expert team is also available for support if you ever have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan. Remember: we’re here to help you achieve a healthy smile not just this summer, but all year long, too!

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