Summer vacation is upon us, and the time has come at last for lazy days of sunshine, swimming, and sleeping in! For many of us, summer is also a time for traveling, whether it is international jet setting, epic road trips with the family, or just a quick jaunt across a state or two. Whether you are planning on keeping it poolside, plane-side, or something in between, it is important to care for your braces during the summer to ensure your treatment is not disrupted. With just a little planning ahead, you can survive summer with your braces and your treatment schedule intact. Take a look at our Summer Survival Guide: Braces for some hints and tips on how to get through the next few months with your mouth in good shape!
On-the-go DIY care
Many of the problems that crop up with your braces can easily be fixed at home with a little know-how and a few common household items. If you experience any of the following while you are out and about, try these simple solutions.
General mouth irritation
Sometimes you may experience some non-specific irritation in your cheeks, lips, or gums. The best way to tackle this is orthodontic wax. Any time you use this method of relief, make sure the bracket or wire is completely dry first. Pinch a small piece of wax off, roll it into a ball, then flatten it completely before placing it over the source of irritation.
If a wire comes loose and is irritating your mouth, you can use the eraser end of a pencil 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.
If you discover a loose bracket, you will need to let us know as soon as you can so we can decide together what the next step should be. In the meantime, you can slide the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth, or use wax over the bracket to add stability.
Keep track of your emergency contacts
If you are planning on heading out to parts unknown for your summer break, make sure you have our contact information handy before you jump in the car, hop on a train, or board the plane. If you run into any unexpected orthodontic emergencies, giving us a quick call at 901.726.3878 can help calm you down, and we can walk you through any steps you need to take. In most cases, you will be able to wait until you are home to follow up with our office, but we can also help you over the phone or direct you to an orthodontist near you if you do need to be seen while you are still out of pocket.
PRO TIP: Grab a shot of the problem with a good camera in great light (or use the flash) and send it to us before you call. This will allow us to assess whatever is happening much more quickly and accurately for you, giving you the chance to get back to having fun as quickly as possible!
Carry a travel kit with you wherever you go
Close to home or around the world, keep a small bag of basics with you for braces care. Besides the usual suspects of fluoride toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss or a WaterPik, pack helpful items like:
- Orthodontic wax or Gishy Goo, a silicone-based product that acts like orthodontic wax
- An over-the-counter pain reliever, just in case you experience any swelling or soreness
- An unsharpened pencil, so the eraser is available for protruding wires
Toss this bag in your purse, backpack, or suitcase to have it close by in case you need it!
Stick to safe summer treats
Backyard BBQs, sleepovers, weekends at the mall and the movies – summer is full of opportunities to indulge in mouth-watering food and drinks. Making smart choices now, even in the face of temptation, will have a huge payout at the end of your treatment when we unveil your new show-stopping smile. Remember the general rule: when wearing braces, avoid anything hard or crunchy, chewy or sticky. Steer clear of things like beef jerky, ribs, any meat that is still on the bone, corn on the cob, popcorn, and any sticky candy, cake, or cookies. It may sound like a lot, but you can still indulge in delicious classics like coleslaw, potato salad, grilled veggies, baked potatoes, and ice cream.
Keep your oral hygiene routine on track
Let’s face it, we all get a little lazy in the summer. It is easy to fall out of our regular school year routine in the face of late-night Netflix binges and leftover pizza for breakfast. It is not a big deal if you get used to staying up way too late and sleeping in until lunchtime, but when it comes to your braces, it is extra important that you maintain your usual care and cleaning routine. Brush your teeth after every meal and before bed, floss daily, and use your waterpik regularly if you have one. Slacking off is expected over the summer, but for the sake of your smile, keep your oral hygiene routine on track!
Have a safe and happy summer from Saddle Creek Orthodontics
Whatever your plans include for the next few months, our SCO team hopes they are full of fun, laughter, and lots of memory making. Check in with us at one of our three conveniently located offices if you have any questions or concerns about your treatment at any time, and remember that we are here to help you and your smile in any way we can. Have a wonderful summer and we will see you soon!