How To Care For Your Smile Between Orthodontic Visits

At Laidlaw Orthodontics, your smile is our passion, something that hasn’t changed even through all the uncertainty of the last year. We’ve all faced challenges due to COVID-19 but it’s been inspiring to see how creative and resourceful our community is! 

As we settle into a brand new year, we’re reflecting on what we’ve been through and feeling hopeful for the future. 2020 required a lot of flexibility, with stay-at-home orders and temporary closings causing us to reschedule quite a few appointments. As a result, you may have elected to delay some of your appointments.  

If you’ve had an appointment pushed back once or twice in recent months, you may be wondering if there’s anything you should do if more time than normal has passed between follow-up visits. There are many things you can do to keep your smile in tip-top shape during treatment, even if you have to wait longer than expected to see us sometimes. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them now! 

How To Care For Your Smile Between Orthodontic Visits

Tackle dental hygiene like a pro

You’ve heard us say it before, but keeping your teeth and gums healthy is an important part of any treatment plan. Your teeth are more susceptible to cavities when you wear braces, and dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease can cause delays in treatment. This may lead to longer treatment times or even affect your final results. 

Whether you’re in braces or wearing Invisalign clear aligners, there are some dental hygiene basics you should always be aware of. Master the following guidelines and you’ll enjoy a shiny smile, healthy teeth, and fresh breath!

  • Brush at least three times a day,ideally after each meal and once before bed.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across the teeth to effectively remove bacteria and any trapped food particles.
  • Floss at least once per day to remove bacteria and any food that has accumulated throughout the day.
  • 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.

It’s not unusual for new patients to feel frustrated trying to clean the nooks and crannies created by their braces. If this sounds like you, don’t let it get you down! This routine will get easier as time goes by. In the meantime, we recommend following these simple steps for the best results.  

  • Brush around every part of your braces.
  • Brush every surface of every tooth.
  • Brush until your brackets are clean and shiny.
  • Floss every night before going to bed.
  • Use tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks to clean hard-to-reach areas.

If you’re an Invisalign patient, you have the added responsibility of caring for your aligners as well as your oral health. Always rinse them off before putting them back in your mouth, and remember to clean them well with toothpaste and coldwater 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. Never use hot water to clean or soak your aligners! In fact, you should keep them away from all heat sources to maintain their natural shape. 

Follow the guidelines set out by Dr. Laidlaw

Dr. Laidlaw is a trained expert in the field of orthodontics, so you should always listen to what she has to say about your smile! If you’ve been given elastics to wear with your braces or aligners, continue to change them out exactly as directed. Have you recently completed treatment with us? Don’t forget to wear your retainer to keep your new smile in place! 

We’ll normally provide our Invisalign patients with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time. If your current set happens to run out before the next scheduled appointment, we’re happy to arrange curbside pick-up for the next set. We can also set up a virtual appointment with Dr. Laidlaw if you have any questions or concerns that can be handled outside the office. Thanks to socially-distanced options like these, all of our patients can continue with their treatment safely and conveniently. 

If we’re unable to provide you with a new set of aligners right away, you can continue wearing the last set you were given with one difference—you only need to wear them for 10-12 hours each day instead of the normal 20-22 hours. Doing this will help extend the life of your aligners until an appointment is available. It will also keep your treatment plan on track and ensure you don’t lose any progress your teeth have already made. 

Create an orthodontic “care kit” to keep with you 

Most of us are sticking closer to home these days, but we still encourage you to stay prepared for orthodontic issues that may occur in between appointments. One easy way to do this is to create a “care kit” to keep with you at all times. You can include any items you think you’ll need, but we recommend starting with these essentials. 

  • A soft-bristled toothbrush
  • A small tube of fluoride toothpaste
  • Dental floss or ortho picks
  • Orthodontic wax
  • 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 everything together in a portable bag to keep on hand and you’ll have almost everything you need for any orthodontic eventuality. This little kit could save you some time and trouble if you end up having to wait longer than expected for your next appointment with us!

How To Care For Your Smile Between Orthodontic Visits

Your smile is the main focus at Laidlaw Orthodontics

Even if circumstances change and you can’t make it to our Hillsboro office as planned, our expert team is here for you! We’re always happy to answer your questions or walk you through any concerns you may have about the treatment process. Would you like to learn more about being proactive on your journey towards a straighter smile? Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Laidlaw!