How To Care For Your Smile During Treatment

Improving your oral health can change your life for the better, but achieving the confident smile you deserve takes some work. The good news is, we’re here to help! It’s all in the name—Elm Tree Orthodontics. Whether you’re 8, 18, or 80, we offer a variety of treatment options to straighten your teeth. This is an incredible investment in your smile, one that will pay off for years to come. Although Dr. Desai will handle most of the hard work, you have an important part to play in the treatment process, too! 

When you follow the guidelines you’re given, it will help you achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true—failure to live up to your end of the treatment bargain can lead to more time in braces or aligners, and may even affect your final results. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to keep your smile looking and feeling its best while we straighten it! Let’s take a look at some of them below.  

The basics for braces patients 

Take a good look at your mouth in the mirror. See all those nooks and crannies that the brackets and wires create? Although these components are very good at moving your teeth where we want them to go, they also attract food particles and plaque. That means you’re more likely to develop cavities, tooth decay, or even gum disease while you’re wearing braces. 

If you aren’t careful about cleaning your brackets and teeth thoroughly, the enamel can begin to lose minerals. This early sign of tooth decay can leave noticeable white spots and cause some symptoms of gingivitis, like inflammation or bleeding gums. These problems can be reversed by adjusting your oral hygiene routine, so try following these simple guidelines to get the most out of brushing and flossing while you’re in braces.

  • 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.

Essential habits for Invisalign & Spark patients

One of the benefits of clear aligners is the extra level of freedom they offer. While oral hygiene is a simpler affair with a system like Invisalign or Spark, you’ll be in charge of caring for your aligners, too. 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.

Always be aware that extreme temperatures of any kind can warp your aligners and cause them to lose their natural shape. Never leave your Invisalign aligners in a hot car and be sure to avoid very cold or very hot water when rinsing and cleaning them. You should also be mindful of where your aligners are when they’re not in your mouth. If you aren’t wearing them, store your aligners in an approved case to keep them clean and free of bacteria. 

Continue to visit your dentist throughout the treatment process

Your treatment plan includes regular follow-up visits with Dr. Desai. These appointments allow him to check that everything is progressing as it should be. If you’re in braces, he’ll also use this time to change out your bands as well as your wire from time to time. While you’re under our care throughout the orthodontic process, your dentist will still be your primary oral health physician. Their job is to help you maintain a healthy mouth and identify any issues with your dental health. For the best results, we encourage all of our patients to check in with their dentist once every six months or so.

Prepare your smile for anything

It’s not uncommon for orthodontic issues to pop up from time to time, but this can still be frustrating if you’re out and about! To stay prepared for any potential problems, put a “care kit” together and keep it with you when you’re on the go. Consider including basics 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)

Throw this kit in a small bag to keep in your backpack or purse and you’ll be ready to handle any issues that arise between appointments. Remember to always get in touch with our team if you experience a real orthodontic emergency! Dr. Desai will be able to assess the situation and let you know what steps you need to take next.

Braces or Invisalign: Which One Is Right For Me?

Find your best smile with Elm Tree Orthodontics

Good oral health is an important part of everyone’s general health, but it’s an essential part of the orthodontic process. When you take good care of your teeth and gums it will keep your treatment plan on track and help give you the confident smile you’ve always wanted. We hope these guidelines and tips will make that easier for you to achieve!

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 Hamden office.