Orthodontics of South Miami has been creating stunning smiles for over 40 years, so it’s fair to say that we’re passionate about what we do! We’re able to help patients of all ages achieve improved oral health thanks to our state-of-the-art technology and first-class care. But when it comes to the orthodontic process, there’s another crucial component involved—you! That’s right! Patient compliance is an essential part of any successful treatment plan.
When you stick to the guidelines your orthodontist has given you, it helps us achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. If you’re a current patient, you’ve already heard us talk about the negative impact that non-compliance can have on your progress. Cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems can interrupt or delay your treatment plan. This may add to the total time needed in braces or clear aligners. In more severe cases, the final results may be affected.
Paying careful attention to your oral hygiene is a simple way to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy throughout your orthodontic journey. Let’s take a look at how you can keep your mouth and orthodontic appliance in excellent shape in between office visits!
Brush up on the basics of dental hygiene
We should all be working towards maintaining a good dental hygiene routine, but this is especially important for orthodontic patients. If you wear braces, you already know that brushing and flossing takes a bit of extra effort. The brackets and wires can be difficult to navigate around, and also make it easy for food particles to become trapped against the teeth.
If this debris isn’t brushed or flossed away, plaque and bacteria can build up, increasing your risk of developing various dental issues. To get the most out of your oral hygiene routine, try following these simple guidelines.
- Brush after every meal and snack. If you wear braces, be sure to brush around each part of them.
- If you can’t brush right away, rinse with water to help dislodge any stray food particles.
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and 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.
- 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.
Are you an Invisalign patient? This is for you!
While it’s true that oral hygiene tends to be easier to maintain with Invisalign aligners, you’re not off the hook entirely here. In addition to maintaining your oral health, you’re responsible for caring for your clear aligners as well. Remember to always wash your hands before taking 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 cause your clear aligners to warp and lose their natural shape, so you’ll want to steer clear of any extreme temperatures. Never leave them in a hot car and avoid very cold or very hot water when rinsing or cleaning your aligners. Always be mindful of where your aligners are when they’re not in your mouth. Keep them away from pets who love to chew things and store them in an approved case if you aren’t wearing them. This will keep your aligners and your mouth clean and free from bacteria!
Schedule regular checkups with your dentist
In addition to regular follow-up visits with Dr. Ross or Dr. Rothenberg, you should continue to schedule checkups with your family dentist, too. You’re under our care throughout the orthodontic process, but your dentist is still considered your primary oral health physician. As such, they’re responsible for helping you maintain a healthy smile! They will also be able to identify any possible issues with your dental health. These routine checkups will usually include a professional cleaning and a thorough exam of your mouth. We encourage all our patients to see their dentist once every six months for the best results.
Create an orthodontic travel kit
It’s not unusual for orthodontic issues to occur occasionally, but if you’re on the go, they can be a real annoyance. Stay prepared for any eventuality by creating a “care kit” to keep with you when you’re out and about! Consider packing a small bag with essential items like:
- a soft-bristled toothbrush
- a 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)
Keep this kit in your purse or backpack for any problems that pop up in between appointments. Should you encounter a real orthodontic emergency, however, be sure to get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can assess the situation and let you know what steps to take next.
Discover a healthier smile with Orthodontics of South Miami
Good oral health is important for everybody, but it’s essential for orthodontic patients. When you follow the guidelines and tips we’ve listed above, you’ll keep your treatment on track and help us achieve long-lasting results you’ll love!
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 to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with our expert team.