Ho, ho, ho! ‘Tis the season to celebrate with your family and friends, but it’s also the time of year to review how well you’re taking care of your orthodontic appliances. Staying compliant with your treatment plan is key to getting a straight smile, and we’re here to hold you accountable. You’ve heard of Santa’s naughty or nice list. Now, here’s Dr. Kyle and Dr. John’s orthodontic naughty or nice list – and we’re checking it twice!
Are You On the Naughty List?
Getting used to wearing braces can come with a learning curve, and avoiding these common habits can keep you off the naughty list and away from the coal this holiday season.
Playing Sports without a Mouthguard
That’s right, athletes – participating in any physical activity, especially contact sports, without wearing a mouthguard is a major orthodontic violation. Now that you’ve got braces, there is a lot of extra surface area in your mouth, and these metal edges could harm your gums, cheeks, and other soft tissues if you get hurt while playing. Your appliance could also become dislodged or broken, resulting in longer treatment times or expensive repairs.
To avoid the naughty list for this rule, you’ll need a custom-made orthodontic mouthguard. These mouthguards are specifically designed to fit over your braces and protect your teeth from harm during physical activity, keeping your smile safe all season long.
Ignoring Loose Brackets or Wires
Even patients who stay compliant to a T can sometimes face a loose or broken bracket or wire, but the important thing is to report these conditions to Dr. Kyle or Dr. John as soon as you spot them. That’s because broken appliances aren’t straightening your smile, and lapses in treatment like this could cause you to spend extra time in braces on the back end – not to mention they’re uncomfortable!
If you realize you have a broken bracket or wire, it’s best to call us as soon as possible to schedule a repair appointment. We’ll get you back on track for success and off the orthodontic naughty list!
DIY Braces Adjustments
Maybe you’ve realized that you have a broken bracket or wire, but you haven’t decided whether to tell Mom yet. Instead, you might try to fix the problem yourself in the mirror. Although we love to see young orthodontists in the making, this is a huge no-go for successful treatment! DIY braces adjustments can harm your smile and disrupt your current treatment plan, which is a great way to end up on the orthodontic naughty list.
Trust the experts for any orthodontic mishaps like this. That’s what we’re here for, after all!
Using Your Teeth as Tools
We know. When you don’t have braces, it can be tempting to use your teeth as tools to open packages or cut loose strings when your hands aren’t free. However, these habits can harm your teeth even without braces or clear aligners – but with them, you run the risk of harming your appliance and disrupting your treatment plan, too!
Putting extra force on your braces or aligner trays can cause them to break, which can lead to – you guessed it – longer treatment times and expensive repairs. Just use scissors or ask someone for help instead.
Find Your Name on the Nice List
Now, this is what we’re talking about! Staying compliant with your orthodontic treatment plan can take many forms, the most important of which is simply following Dr. Kyle and Dr. John’s instructions as closely as possible. Here are a few additional tips for getting your name on our orthodontic nice list this December.
Attending All Orthodontic Appointments
Appointments, appointments, appointments! Checking in with your Saddle Creek Orthodontics team is essential for keeping your treatment plan on track, and if you’re already doing this regularly, then you’re a shoo-in for the nice list. Every orthodontic check-up helps us track your progress and make adjustments as needed so that we can reveal the smile of your dreams as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Wearing Your Elastics as Instructed
Patients who wear their rubber bands consistently are always nice-listers! It can be difficult to get used to wearing them, but these orthodontic tools can really improve your final results. Used mainly to correct bite problems, elastics help us keep your treatment plan timely so that your smile turns out straight, happy, and healthy.
Adjusting Your Diet
Our patients with clear aligners are exempted from the food restrictions, but this rule is key for those with braces. Avoiding any hard, crunchy, sticky, or chewy foods can prevent broken appliances or loose wires, which means you don’t have to worry about calling for repair appointments or spending extra time in braces.
Brushing & Flossing Twice a Day
This one goes for everyone, whether they are going through orthodontic treatment or not – but brushing and flossing becomes extra important when you’ve got braces or clear aligners. The extra surface area created by your appliances gives bad bacteria more room to hide, which could put you at a higher risk of cavities or white stains on your teeth.
To avoid this obstacle and write your name into the orthodontic nice list, brush your teeth for two minutes in the morning and afternoon, being careful to brush around your brackets and wires. Then, use a floss threader to floss between your teeth and remove any lodged food particles or bacteria.
And if you’re a clear aligner patient, don’t forget to brush your trays with mild soap or baking soda to keep them clean, too!
Wearing Your Retainer When Treatment Is Over
When we finally reveal your brand-new smile, the retention phase of treatment begins. You’ll need to wear your retainer for 22 hours per day for an extended period, and then you’ll wear them at night for a lifetime after that. This will keep your teeth straight for as long as you follow these instructions, and that will keep you on the orthodontic nice list in our book any day!
The Best Gift Is a Straight Smile from Saddle Creek Orthodontics
Even though you won’t be able to find it under a Christmas tree, orthodontic treatment is the best gift you can give this holiday season! Starting treatment today means you can find yourself on the orthodontic nice list tomorrow, so schedule your free consultation at our Collierville or Germantown office!