In this unprecedented time, home care for braces is vital. Government-mandated office closures prevent our team from performing routine hygiene checkups at appointments. At-home hygiene has never been more important! Improper brushing and flossing could result in cavities, white spot lesions, gum disease, or even early termination of treatment.
We are all concerned with cleaning our homes and washing our hands — don’t forget your teeth!
Here’s a quick refresher on proper cleaning of braces:
1. Brush morning, evening, and after meals if possible.
When you brush, it is important to clean around the brackets. Food easily catches on the appliances and can cause plaque buildup. Angle the toothbrush at the gum line to clean around the brackets. Our office prefers the Oral B electric toothbrush with the orthodontic brush head. Running low? Contact our office to order new brush heads.
2. Brush for the correct amount of time.
Most people brush too fast — in and out. In actuality, proper brushing takes about two minutes. Some electric brushes vibrate when two minutes have passed. No electric brush? No problem — set a timer on your phone or listen to a short song. The popular Old Town Road is about 2 minutes long if you want to have fun with your morning and evening routine!
3. Use your “Christmas Tree” brushes
These little brushes are ideal for cleaning around brackets and under wires. If you run out — simply give us a call and we will gladly mail you some.
4. Floss regularly
Yes, you absolutely can– and should!– continue flossing with braces. Use a floss threader to get under the wires. We recommend flossing once a day!
Another important aspect of home care during quarantine is solving non-urgent problems like a poking wire or broken bracket. During this transition period of social distancing, Governor Lee has outlined specific situations considered urgent. Right now, we are not permitted to treat broken brackets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get relief.
Problem-Solving Tips during Quarantine:
1. A loose or broken bracket
Fortunately, when a bracket breaks, it’s still attached to the wire and should not cause any damage. It can safely remain until your next appointment. However, if the bracket is causing any pain or discomfort or if you are concerned, we can guide you through the process of removing the bracket at home.
2. A poking wire
Our first go-to remedy for poking wires is wax. Place a bead of wax over the wire; this may provide relief until your next appointment. Or, if your dad really wants to play orthodontist, you can use a pair of toenail clippers (preferably clean!) to snip the wire. Remember we want you to be comfortable; don’t worry about messing anything up by clipping a wire.
3. General soreness
Soreness is a common orthodontic ailment. After all, your teeth are moving! We recommend Tylenol or Advil (or whatever OTC painkiller you prefer to give to your children) to help alleviate soreness. You can also use wax to cover any sore spots on the gums or cheek. Remember, if you are concerned or something seems out-of-the-ordinary, you can always text photos or give our office a call.
4. Other issues
If you have a broken appliance, expander, or spring — we recommend giving our office a call or sending a text. Use this video to photograph the problem area. One of our assistants will review your photos and either guide you through correcting the problem at home or schedule a safe visit.
Please remember that if you are ever in pain, we are available to help. Sturgill Ortho team members are monitoring our phones and text messages, while clinical staff remain on call for emergencies. We are also offering Virtual Check-ins if you have any questions or concerns.
Good news! Our team plans to reopen the Johnson City Office on May 4th! We will be contacting patients to reschedule appointments missed due to the COVID-19 closure. Of course the COVID-19 situation develops day-by-day, but we will promptly notify our patients by email and social media if any plans change.