At Stacy Wolf Orthodontics, our goal is to create confident smiles that feel as good as they look. We’re able to help patients like you achieve that by combining our team’s expertise with cutting-edge technology and customized treatment options! While you can count on Dr. Wolf to take care of the most challenging part—correcting any orthodontic issues and straightening your smile—there’s another factor that’s essential for a healthy mouth…you.
Patient compliance is an essential part of any successful orthodontic plan. When you follow the guidelines and recommendations Dr. Wolf gives you, it will help us obtain the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. This will also provide you with a more rewarding and stress-free experience! Unfortunately, the opposite holds true as well. If you ignore Dr. Wolf’s advice and neglect your oral health during treatment, it can lead to longer treatment times. In some cases, it may even affect the final results.
The good news is, there are many simple ways to keep your teeth and gums in good shape while Dr. Wolf works to straighten your smile! To learn more about these tips, keep reading below.
Basic braces care
The brackets and wires we use with braces are an excellent solution for moving teeth, but they also create a series of nooks and crannies that attract food debris and bacteria. This can increase your risk of developing cavities, tooth decay, or even gum disease during treatment, so it’s essential to maintain a good dental hygiene routine while you’re in braces (and beyond.)
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.
The healthiest habits for Invisalign patients
Your dental hygiene routine is much easier to manage with a system like Invisalign, but you’ll still need to pay close attention to 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. 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, too. You’ll also need to be mindful of where your aligners are when they’re not in your mouth—if you aren’t wearing them, place them in an approved case to keep them clean and bacteria-free.
See your dentist regularly
Each patient’s treatment plan will include regular follow-up visits with Dr. Wolf. These allow her to check that everything is progressing as it should be and make any necessary adjustments. It’s important that you continue seeing your dentist during this time as well! Although you’re under our care throughout the orthodontic process, your dentist is still your primary oral health physician. Their job is to help you maintain a healthy mouth and identify any issues with your dental health, so we encourage you to check in with your dentist once every six months or so for the best results!
While it’s normal for minor orthodontic “emergencies” to pop up occasionally, it can be annoying if something 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 that pops up! Remember to always get in touch with our team if you experience a real orthodontic emergency, though. Dr. Wolf will be able to assess the situation and let you know what to do next.
Keep your smile in shape with Stacy Wolf Orthodontics
We should all be working towards better oral health, but this is something orthodontic patients need to pay special attention to. When you take good care of your teeth and gums, it will keep your treatment plan on track and help us give you the confident smile you deserve! We hope that the guidelines and tips we’ve outlined above will help you make this an easier process.
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 Bayside office.