Braces require additional responsibility when it comes to maintenance and oral hygiene. Needless to say, your oral hygiene and routine inventory will grow as an orthodontic patient. Here are some products and tools you can expect to become familiar with:
- Wax – Every now and again, you may experience a rough edge on your appliance that causes irritation. It could be due to damage or a slight imperfection in the polish. The solution to restoring comfort to your appliance is simple: wax! Simply pinch off a small amount of wax and press it onto the source of discomfort and voila – instant relief.
You can get traditional dental wax from your orthodontist or a local drugstore, or you can try a silicone wax like Mack’s. Yes, Mack’s is used by swimmers as earplugs, but silicone wax like Mack’s is durable. Just make sure your teeth and appliance are dry before applying.
- Your orthodontist’s phone number – Accidents and rebellious behavior (chewing ice or other hard, crunchy foods) happen. Wires get bent, brackets become dislodged and aligners get left on hotel bathroom sinks.
Because orthodontic appliances are only effective when they are applying constant pressure, every day without an optimally functioning appliance sets treatment back exponentially. Keep your orthodontist’s phone number handy, so they can treat your emergency situation ASAP.
Orthodontics Only: (305) 598-3384.
- Sensodyne toothpaste– Teeth can become sensitive during orthodontic treatment because of heredity, a recent cleaning or even a whitening procedure (not suggested for wire and bracket orthodontic patients). Replacing your everyday toothpaste with a desensitizing toothpaste such as Sensodyne can help relieve short–term tooth sensitivity. Contact your dentist or orthodontist if sensitivity persists for more than 30 days.
- Elastics – Elastics are to correct jaw alignment, or to coerce a single tooth into better position. It’s imperative that rubber bands are worn 24/7, which means replacing them as soon as they fall out or break. We will make sure we send you home with plenty; it’s your job to keep them handy.
- Aligner case – If you are an Invisalign patient or have a retainer, there is a good chance your orthodontist also issued you a case for your appliance. Your case is not an object that merely takes up space on your counter or in your purse or backpack, but a useful tool that should be used faithfully. Always keep an aligner case on with you, as it provides protection and helps you keep track of an appliance that – since it is clear – is nearly invisible. The number one offense when it comes to lost retainers and aligners is wrapping it in a napkin when at dinner, so that it is mistakenly left behind, then thrown away by a busboy.
Whether traveling or at home, make a habit of placing your appliance in a case when not wearing it. Orthodontics Only patients who misplace their case need only ask for a replacement – we will be happy to oblige.
- Denture or retainer cleaner – There are two types of solutions you can use to clean retainers and aligners: a bleach solution or a persulfate cleaner. A bleach solution should be one part bleach, 10 parts water and will last one week. Persulfate cleansers should be mixed with lukewarm water regardless of the directions (heat can disfigure plastic appliances) and include Retainer Brite, SonicBrite, Efferdent, Polident brands.
- V-trim toothbrush- V-trim toothbrushes have small heads and multiple bristle lengths and textures to better remove plaque around fixed orthodontic appliances.
Here is a model made by Colgate.
- Two-minute timer – Brushing thoroughly for a suggested two minutes is imperative while wearing braces, as they create extra surfaces to trap decay-causing plaque. A two-minute timer can help keep you honest when it comes to how long you brush your teeth.
You can use any type of timer, or invest in an electric toothbrush such as this Sonicare model, which boasts a built-in timer and provides superior cleaning compared to manual toothbrushes. Make sure to ask your orthodontist if an electric toothbrush is safe to use with your orthodontic appliance.
- Interdental brush- Also known as a proxy brush, an interdental brush is a small dental brush with a head similar to a pipe cleaner. Its small size allows you to navigate around appliances and into spaces between teeth that are created during active treatment.
Here you can find interdental brushes for all phases of your treatment: moderate to tight spaces and angled brushes that allow you to address hard to reach teeth in the back of your mouth.
- Floss threader – The only way to navigate floss beyond the brackets and arch wires and into the gum line is with a floss threader. As the name implies, floss threaders allow you to thread your dental floss in between each tooth and your appliance.
- Waterpik – A Waterpik is a device that aims a small, powerful stream of water to remove debris between teeth, along the gum line and around fixed appliances. It can be a beneficial addition to your oral care routine, but is not meant to replace traditional flossing.
- Dental mirror- A dental mirror is a tiny mirror on a long handle, which allows you to get a good look at situations occurring in the back of your mouth. Think irritating arch wires or lodged food.
- Mouthwash- Rinsing with a fluoride formula after brushing your teeth in the morning and evening helps re-mineralize teeth and keeps them strong during orthodontic treatment.
Following are some items you should keep in your purse or backpack:
- This kit – This handy kit includes almost anything you could need on-the-go: a v-trim toothbrush, full handle travel toothbrush, waxed dental floss, two-minute timer, orthodontic wax, floss threaders, cylinder interdental brush and a dental mirror.
- Hand sanitizer- For those times when you have to remove your aligner or retainer in public and there is no bathroom in sight.
- Colgate Wisp– A discreet, waterless option for freshening your smile on the go.
- Travel mouthwash- A quick rinse with mouthwash never made anyone less confident.
- Compact mirror- Food is notorious for getting stuck in teeth. Instead of sitting at the dinner table with your lips pursed because you are paranoid there is a broccoli floret stuck in your braces, do yourself a favor and check with a hand mirror… or selfie-mode of your
- Orthodontics friendly snacks- Wearing braces doesn’t mean you won’t get hungry while shopping or traveling, but it does mean certain sticky and crunchy foods are off limits. Packing orthodontic-friendly snacks means you won’t have to starve for the sake of your braces.
We hope you enjoyed this article, and we want you to feel free to send any questions our way. As always, we invite you to contact us for a consultation if you are interested in improving your smile with orthodontic treatment. Call today!