Now that summer is here, at last, we can kick back and enjoy the long, lazy days and nights. Whether your idea of heaven is sleeping in late and swimming until the streetlights come on, or setting off on adventures as soon as school is out, it is important to keep on track with your orthodontic treatment by caring for your braces poolside, plane-side, or anywhere in between. With a little bit of planning ahead, you can ensure you survive summer with your braces and your treatment schedule intact. For a few tips on how to get through the next few months with your smile in good shape, take a look at the Summer Survival Guide we have put together below!
DIY care on the go
Did you know that many minor issues with your braces can easily be solved at home with a little know-how and a few things you are likely to have lying around the house? If you experience any of the following while you are out and about this summer, try these simple solutions for relief.
Irritated cheeks, lips, or gums
It is not uncommon to experience some non-specific irritation in your cheeks, lips, or gums from time to time when you are wearing braces. This is often due to loosened wires or brackets, and the easiest way to tackle it is with orthodontic wax. Making sure the bracket or wire is completely dry before you begin, pinch a small piece of wax off, roll it into a ball, then flatten it completely. This can be placed over the source of irritation to help relieve any discomfort. You can always find wax at both of our offices in the mailbox outside of our front door – even when the office is closed!
If a wire comes loose and is irritating your mouth, the eraser end of a pencil can be helpful. Use it to gently nudge the wire back against the teeth until it flattens out. For extra stability, you can also place a piece of orthodontic wax over the wire.
You will need to let us know as soon as possible if you discover a loose bracket so that we can decide together what the next step should be. In the meantime, however, you can slide the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth, and use wax over the bracket to add some stability.
Keep Clauss Orthodontics in your contacts
Planning on jet-setting or road-tripping your way through summer break? Have our contact information on-hand before you jump in the car, hop on a train, or board the plane. Even if you do not anticipate running into any unexpected orthodontic emergencies, it can be helpful to have our number on speed dial and our email in your address book. Giving our office a quick call can help calm you down if you are feeling frazzled or frustrated, and we can walk you through any steps you need to take to find some relief or to seek further treatment.
In most cases, it will be perfectly acceptable to wait until you are back home to follow up with us, but we still have the ability to help you over the phone, or we can direct you to an orthodontist near you if you need to be seen while you are out of town. To get back to your summer fun as quickly as possible, grab a shot of whatever problem you are experiencing using a good quality camera in great light, or use the flash. By emailing this to us before you call, you will cut down on the time it takes us to assess the issue, and our team will be able to diagnose what is happening more quickly and accurately for you.
A travel kit makes it easy to care for braces on the go
Close to home or halfway around the world, keeping a small bag of basics with you for braces care makes it easy to maintain your oral hygiene routine. Outside of a soft-bristled toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and floss, be sure to throw in a few helpful items like:
- Orthodontic wax
- An over-the-counter pain reliever, just in case you experience any swelling or soreness (we recommend always checking with Dr. Mark before taking any medication for braces-related discomfort)
- A couple of unsharpened pencils, as the erasers are handy for any protruding wires
Keep this bag in your purse, backpack, or suitcase to have it close by in case you need it!
Braces-safe summertime treats
Summer is full of all sorts of opportunities to chow down on mouth-watering snacks and sweets. If you can manage to make smart choices even in the face of holiday temptation, you will be that much closer to the huge payout that will come at the end of your treatment, when you will be able to show off your beautiful brand new smile. Remember the general rules of eating with braces, avoiding anything crunchy, chewy, or sticky, and be sure you are brushing after every meal and snack. You may have to give goodies like popcorn, ribs, and s’mores a miss, but you will have plenty of delicious classics to dig into, anyway. Coleslaw, potato salad, jello, grilled hot dogs, and ice cream are all orthodontist-approved!
Do not get lazy with your regular oral hygiene routine
It would not be summer if we couldn’t all be a little bit lazy. Staying up way too late and sleeping in until lunchtime makes it easy to fall out of the school year routine. Late-night Netflix binges and cold pizza for breakfast are no big deal, but when it comes to taking care of your braces, it is important to maintain your usual brushing and flossing routine. Be sure and brush your teeth after every meal and snack, brush and floss thoroughly before bed, and use your waterpik regularly if you have one. Slacking off is expected during summer break, but for the sake of your smile, let your oral hygiene routine be the one thing you keep on track.
Happy summer from Clauss Orthodontics
No matter what your summer plans include, we hope the next several weeks are full of fun with friends and family. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment over summer break, feel free to call us or pop into our Watertown or Woodbury location. The Clauss Orthodontics team is here to encourage you in your orthodontic journey, and help your smile in any way we can. Have a happy summer!