Having braces or Invisalign aligners can be an exciting journey towards a beautiful, confident smile. However, it's important to take good care of your orthodontic appliances to ensure they work effectively and achieve the desired results. In this guide, we'll walk you through the essential steps to care for your braces or Invisalign aligners, helping you maintain oral hygiene, prevent damage, and make the most of your orthodontic treatment.
Keep up with Oral Hygiene
Oral hygiene is crucial during orthodontic treatment, as braces and aligners can trap food particles and increase the risk of plaque buildup. Follow these simple tips to keep your mouth clean and healthy:
- Brushing: Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to gently brush your teeth at least twice a day. Pay extra attention to cleaning around the brackets and wires of your braces or the surface of your aligners.
- Flossing: Regular flossing becomes even more important with braces. Use a floss threader or orthodontic floss to carefully clean between your teeth and under the wires. If you have Invisalign aligners, remove them before flossing and clean your teeth as usual.
- Interdental brushes: These small brushes are handy for cleaning hard-to-reach areas around brackets and wires. Use them to remove any residual food particles and maintain optimal oral hygiene.
- Waterflossers: the use of waterflossers can be useful in conjunction with the other oral hygiene methods to help maintain good dental and periodontal health. The use of different levels of pulsating water pressures can aid food and plaque removal.
Avoid Sticky and Hard Foods
Certain foods can damage your braces or make it difficult to remove aligners. Avoiding these foods will minimize the risk of complications and keep your treatment on track:
- Sticky Foods: Steer clear of sticky sweets, chewing gum, toffee, and caramels, as they can get stuck in your braces or aligners, making them harder to clean and increasing the chance of damage.
- Hard Foods: Crunchy foods like popcorn, hard candies, and ice cubes should be avoided to prevent broken brackets or wires. Biting into hard foods can also damage Invisalign aligners, so remove them before eating.
- Cut Food into Smaller Pieces: If you're having fruits or vegetables that are naturally hard, cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces to reduce the stress on your braces or aligners.
Protect Your Appliances
Taking steps to protect your braces or aligners will ensure their longevity and effectiveness. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
- Mouthguards: If you participate in contact sports or activities that pose a risk of dental injury, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth, gums, and orthodontic appliances. Custom-made mouthguards from your dentist provide the best fit and protection.
- Avoid Chewing on Hard Objects: Biting on pens, pencils, or biting nails can damage your braces or aligners. Break these habits to safeguard your orthodontic appliances.
- Handle Aligners with Care: When removing or inserting your Invisalign aligners, use both hands and be gentle. Rough handling can cause them to crack or warp.
Attend Regular Check-ups
Regular visits to your dentist or orthodontist are essential to monitor the progress of your treatment. During these appointments, they will make adjustments to your braces or provide you with new sets of aligners. Don't miss these check-ups, as they play a crucial role in achieving your desired results.
Be Prepared for Discomfort
It's common to experience some discomfort or soreness when you first get braces or switch to a new set of aligners. Here's how to manage it:
- Pain Relief: Over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol can help alleviate any discomfort. Follow the instructions on the packaging or consult your dentist for the appropriate dosage.
- Orthodontic Wax: If your braces irritate the inside of your cheeks or lips, apply orthodontic wax to the offending area for relief.
Caring for your braces or Invisalign aligners is crucial to achieving a successful orthodontic treatment outcome. By following these simple tips, you can maintain good oral hygiene, prevent damage to your appliances, and ensure the best possible results. Remember to schedule regular check-ups with your dentist at The Whole Tooth, as they will guide you through the process and address any concerns you may have. Happy smiling!