Caring For Your Smile In Between Appointments

Here at Sturgill Orthodontics, we believe everyone deserves a perfect smile! Our orthodontic treatment can help you achieve precisely that, thanks to the expertise of our team and the cutting-edge technology we use. While our talented doctors will handle the most challenging part—straightening your smile—you have an important part to play in the treatment process, too! 

By following the guidelines and recommendations you’re given, you can help us ensure a stress-free orthodontic journey that ends with long-lasting results you’ll love. The opposite is true as well, though, as ignoring your doctor’s advice can lead to longer treatment times and may affect the final outcome. 

Fortunately, there are many easy ways to keep your teeth and gums in good shape while our doctors work their magic! To learn more, keep reading below. 

Basic Care Tips for Braces

The brackets and wires we use with braces are an excellent solution for moving teeth, but they can also attract food particles, plaque, and bacteria. There’s an increased risk of developing cavities, tooth decay, or even gum disease during orthodontic treatment, so it’s essential to maintain a good dental hygiene routine during this time!

When you don’t clean your brackets and teeth effectively, the enamel begins losing minerals. This is an early sign of tooth decay that can leave noticeable white spots and may cause some symptoms of gingivitis, like inflammation or bleeding gums. However, adjusting your oral hygiene routine can help reverse some of this damage. To get the most out of brushing and flossing while you’re in braces, try to follow these simple guidelines.

  • Brush around each part of your braces after every meal and snack.
  • If you’re unable to brush right away, rinse with water to help dislodge any stray food particles.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across every surface of every tooth to effectively remove bacteria and any debris.
  • Floss every night before bed to remove bacteria and any food that has accumulated throughout the day. Use tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks to clean hard-to-reach areas around your braces.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months (or sooner if you have a cold or any other illness).
  • Use antimicrobial and fluoride mouthwashes to help further improve your oral health.

Caring For Your Smile In Between Appointments

How to Ensure the Best Invisalign Experience

Oral hygiene may be simpler with a system like Invisalign, but you’ll still need to care for your teeth and clear aligners during treatment. That begins with basic hygiene, like always washing your hands before taking the aligners out and putting them back in your mouth. Rinse your aligner any time you remove it and use a cleaning solution with lukewarm water at least twice a day. If you notice any build-up, you can soak your aligners in a retainer cleaner to remove it.

Extreme temperatures of any kind can warp your aligners and cause them to lose their natural shape, so you should never leave your Invisalign aligners in a hot car. Be sure to avoid very cold or very hot water when rinsing and cleaning them, too. You’ll need to be mindful of where your aligners are when they’re not in your mouth—if you aren’t wearing them, keep them in an approved case so they stay clean and bacteria-free. 

Schedule Regular Visits with your Dentist 

Every treatment plan will include regular follow-up visits with one of our doctors.  During these appointments, they’ll check that everything is progressing as it should be and make any necessary adjustments. It’s equally important to continue seeing your dentist during this time! While you’ll be under our care throughout the orthodontic process, your dentist is still your primary oral health physician. Their job is to help you maintain a healthy mouth and identify any issues with your dental health, during orthodontic treatment and after it is complete. We encourage all of our patients to check in with their dentist at least once every six months for the best results.

Be Prepared for Anything 

Minor issues can occur from time to time during orthodontic treatment. While this is completely normal, it can be frustrating if it happens to you when you’re on the go. To stay prepared for any potential problems, put a “care kit” together with the following items and keep it with you when you’re out and about. 

  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Small tube of fluoride toothpaste
  • Dental floss or ortho picks
  • Orthodontic wax if you wear braces
  • Extra rubber bands
  • Lip balm
  • A small cup for rinsing with water
  • An unsharpened pencil (the eraser end can be used to push stray wires back into place)

Throw this kit in a small bag to keep in your backpack or purse, and you’ll be ready for anything that pops up! Remember to always get in touch with our team if you experience a real orthodontic emergency, however. Our doctors will be able to assess the situation and let you know what to do next.

Caring For Your Smile In Between Appointments

Get a Show-stopping Smile with Sturgill Orthodontics

We should all be working towards better oral health, but this is nonnegotiable for orthodontic patients. Taking good care of your teeth and gums will keep your treatment plan on track and help you achieve the beautifully straightened smile you deserve. The guidelines and tips we’ve outlined above will help keep your mouth healthy and happy throughout the treatment process—and beyond!

Do you have any questions or concerns about your orthodontic care? Would you like to learn more about improving your oral hygiene? Get in touch with us today! We’ll be happy to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment for you in our Johnson City or Norton office.