You might be wondering “what’s the best way to care for my smile during treatment?”. At Whitewater Orthodontic Studios, we’re on a mission to help families in Lakewood, Yelm, and Lacey feel good about themselves by giving them a confident smile. Orthodontics is about more than simply straightening teeth—our customized care increases self-esteem, improves oral health, and gives patients a fully functional bite. We’re able to accomplish all of this thanks to our expert team and state-of-the-art technology, but there’s another critical component to the process—and that’s you!
Every patient plays an important role in how successful their treatment is. If you’re a current patient, you’ve probably already heard us talk about compliance, which helps us ensure the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. Non-compliance, on the other hand, can increase your risk of developing tooth decay, cavities, and other dental issues. These can interrupt or delay your treatment from progressing as it should. In severe cases, it may even impact your final results.
One of the easiest ways to avoid problems during treatment is to take good care of your teeth and gums in-between visits to our office. Keep reading below for tips on maintaining oral health throughout your orthodontic journey!
Give extra attention to your dental hygiene routine
A good oral hygiene routine is important for everyone, but it’s an essential part of every orthodontic treatment plan. If you wear braces, you already know that brushing and flossing take a bit of extra effort. The brackets and wires can be difficult to navigate around, and they also make it easy for food particles to become trapped against the teeth.
If this debris isn’t brushed or flossed away, plaque and bacteria have the chance to build up over time. This increases your risk of developing various dental issues, which you want to avoid as an orthodontic patient. To get the most out of your oral hygiene routine, try following these simple guidelines.
- Brush after every meal and snack. If you wear braces, be sure to brush around each part of them.
- If you can’t brush right away, rinse with water to help dislodge any stray food particles.
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and 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.
- 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.
Healthy hints for Invisalign patients
Because the aligners are removable, oral hygiene tends to be easier for Invisalign patients. But you aren’t entirely off the hook here! In addition to maintaining your oral health, you’re responsible for caring for your clear aligners as well. Remember to always wash your hands before taking 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 or denture cleaner to remove it.
Keep in mind that extreme temperatures of any kind can cause your clear aligners to warp and lose their natural shape, so steer clear of any extreme temperatures. Never leave them in a hot car and avoid very cold or very hot water when rinsing or cleaning your aligners. You should also always be mindful of where your aligners are when they’re not in your mouth. Store them in an approved case if you aren’t wearing them to keep your aligners (and your mouth) clean and free from bacteria!
Schedule regular checkups with your dentist
It’s important to show up for your follow-up visits with Dr. Leavitt, but you should continue to schedule checkups with your dentist, too. While you’re under our care throughout the orthodontic process, your dentist is still considered your primary oral health physician. As such, they’re responsible for helping you maintain a healthy mouth and identifying any possible issues with your dental health. We encourage all our patients to see their dentist once every six months for the best results.
Keep a travel kit handy for orthodontic care on the go
Orthodontic issues can occur occasionally. This is nothing unusual, but if you’re on the go, it can be annoying. To stay prepared for any potential problems, put together a “care kit” to keep with you when you’re out and about! Consider packing a small bag with essential items like:
- a soft-bristled toothbrush
- a 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)
Keep the bag in your backpack or purse to handle any issues that pop in between appointments, but remember that if you experience a true orthodontic emergency, you should get in touch with us as soon as possible. Dr. Leavitt will be able to assess the situation and let you know what steps to take next.
Maximize your smile’s potential with Whitewater Orthodontic Studios
Good oral health is something we should all strive for, but for orthodontic patients, it’s a really big deal! When you follow the guidelines and tips we’ve listed above, your smile will be in great shape. You’ll also keep your treatment on track and help us achieve long-lasting results you’ll love!
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 to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with Dr. Leavitt and the rest of our talented team.