Here at Sohn Orthodontics, we know the power of a healthy smile. Orthodontic treatment can straighten your teeth and improve your oral health, giving you a confident smile that looks and feels fantastic! While Dr. Sohn will handle most of the hard work involved, you’re an essential part of the treatment process, too.
When you follow the guidelines you’ve been given and stick to Dr. Sohn’s recommendations, it ensures your orthodontic journey is stress-free and successful. On the other hand, ignoring our advice can lead to longer treatment times and may even affect the final results.
The good news is, there are several simple ways to keep your smile in good shape while we straighten it! Keep reading below to learn more.
The basics for braces
The brackets and wires we use with braces are fantastic for moving teeth, but they can also attract food particles, plaque, and bacteria. As a braces patient, your risk of developing cavities, tooth decay, or even gum disease is increased during treatment. That’s why it’s essential to maintain a good dental hygiene routine throughout your orthodontic journey!
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.
What Invisalign patients need to know
Oral hygiene is often easier 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 or denture 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 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 bacteria-free.
See your dentist regularly
Every treatment plan includes regular follow-up visits with Dr. Sohn. During these appointments, she’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, as well! While you’ll be under our care throughout the orthodontic process, your dentist is still considered your primary oral health physician. Their job is to help you maintain a healthy mouth and identify any issues with your dental health, both during orthodontic treatment and after it is complete. We encourage all of our patients to check in with their dentist once every six months or so for the best results.
Be prepared for orthodontic “emergencies”
Minor issues can pop up at any time during your orthodontic journey. While this is completely normal, it can also be frustrating if it happens 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! Remember to always get in touch with our team if you experience a real orthodontic emergency, however. Dr. Sohn will assess the situation and let you know what you need to do next.
Take good care of your smile with Sohn Orthodontics
We should all be working towards better oral health, but this is especially important for orthodontic patients. Taking good care of your teeth and gums will keep your treatment plan on track and help you achieve a beautifully straightened smile. The guidelines and tips we’ve outlined above will help you achieve a healthier mouth in no time!
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 Bridgeville office.