By: Dr. Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS
We're closing out one of the warmest winters on record in Memphis, and between all this sunshine and the balmy breezes, we can't wait for Spring Break!
Whether your family is planning a getaway to the beach or just a week at home relaxing, caring for your braces during this time is probably one of the last things on your mind. It's important that you don't ignore the recommendations we've given you for braces care, though.
You can kick back and have some fun and keep yourself on track for a healthy, straight smile at the end of your treatment by following these simple tips we've put together for you.
Keep emergency contact information close
Before you trade your sneakers in for sandals, make sure you've got our number stored in your phone. Unexpected orthodontic emergencies can be upsetting, and calling the team here at SCO can help calm you down. We'll be able to walk you through any steps you might need to take.
In most cases, you’ll be able to wait until you’re home to follow up with us. But if for any reason you need immediate care, we can help you over the phone, or direct you to a nearby orthodontist in the event you do need to be seen while you're out of town.
If you're able to, it's a great idea for you to take a photo of the problem, with flash if possible, before getting in touch with us. A picture really is worth a thousand words in this case! Being able to study an actual image of the problem will allow us to assess the issue much more quickly and accurately.
DIY emergency care for common issues
There are many problems that can crop up with your braces that can be dealt with at home. If one of the following occurs and you're not in any pain, consider these tips and tricks that use a few readily available tools.
Protruding wires: If a wire comes loose, and you find it's irritating your mouth, try using the eraser end of a pencil to nudge the wire back against the teeth. You can also place a small piece of wax over the wire to reduce irritation and provide some stability.
Mouth irritation: If there are brackets or wires irritating your cheeks, lips, or gums, simply place a piece of orthodontic wax over the area. Make sure the bracket or wire is very dry first, or it won't stick! Pinch a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball, then flatten it completely. Place this flat piece over whatever area of your braces are causing irritation.
Loose bracket: If you find you have a loose bracket, it's definitely something we need to know about so we can decide on the best steps to take next. In the meantime, however, you can place wax over the loose bracket to provide stability. Sliding the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth is also an option.
Lost retainer: We know how annoying we can be when we talk endlessly about the importance of wearing your retainer. But a lost retainer really can be an emergency! After all, once you stop wearing your retainer, your teeth will begin to shift. If you lose your retainer and you're out of town, give us a call. We’ll be able to let you know if you need to head somewhere local to have impressions made, or if it can wait until you get back home.
Take along a travel kit for braces
We're certain that you (or your mom!) will be sure to pack all your braces basics in your bag, like toothpaste, a toothbrush, and floss. But there are several other items we suggest you bring along on your adventures to be even better prepared!
Interdental toothbrush: for those hard to reach spaces between your teeth.
Wax or Gishy Goo: a silicone-based product that acts like orthodontic wax.
Ibuprofen: just in case you find yourself experiencing any mouth soreness.
Pencil: for any pesky protruding wires.
Don't ignore your Invisalign!
If you're planning on hitting the road with Invisalign, try your best to notify us at least two weeks in advance. If the date you're expected to receive your new aligners falls on a date when you’ll be out of town, we'll want to plan for that by providing the next set ahead of schedule. Worst case scenario, you can keep wearing your last set of Invisalign aligners a little longer and just delay your next appointment until you return.
If you've already got the aligners you need lined up, then there's just a couple of other items we recommend you add to your travel bag!
Invisalign cases: Make it a habit to always put your Invisalign aligners inside their case. You're much less likely to lose them this way.
Current and most recent aligners: You already know how important it is to wear your current aligners an average of 20-22 hours a day. As we've mentioned above, bringing your most recent aligners along can keep your progress on track in case you misplace your current pair.
Denture tablets: You may not be ready for a senior citizen discount just yet, but for on-the-go holiday travel cleaning, portable denture tablets can actually be really convenient and helpful!
Saddle Creek Orthodontics and Spring Break sunshine
However far you travel, or if you're planning on keeping things closer to home, Saddle Creek Orthodontics wants you to enjoy a wonderful Spring Break without having to worry about your braces or Invisalign.
Remember that no matter where you are, we're always here to support you, and to answer any questions or tackle any concerns you might have.
Even if you find yourself a long way away from our Germantown and Collierville offices, we're happy to help guide you through any difficulties so you can get out there and enjoy the sunshine!
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Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS