How to care for your smile between orthodontic visits

At McGrory Orthodontics, your smile is our passion. There are many things you can do to keep your smile in tip-top shape during treatment. 

Build a healthy oral hygiene routine

It may seem obvious, but the most important thing you can do between orthodontic visits is to maintain your oral health. Your teeth are more susceptible to cavities when you’re wearing 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 metal braces, clear braces or wearing Invisalign® clear aligners, there are some dental hygiene basics you should always maintain. 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 to feel frustrated trying to clean the nooks and crannies created by braces in the beginning. If this sounds like you, don’t feel bad! This routine will get easier with time. Until then, 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 teeth. Always rinse them off before putting them back in your mouth and remember to clean them well with toothpaste and cold 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. 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.

How To Care For Your Smile Between Orthodontic Visits

Follow the guidelines from Dr. McGrory & Dr. McCarty

Dr. McGrory and Dr. McCarty are trained experts in the field of orthodontics, so you should always take her advice when it comes to your smile! If you’ve been given elastics to wear with your braces or aligners, continue to change them out exactly as directed. If you’ve recently completed treatment with us, don’t forget to wear your retainer to keep your new smile in place! 

We’ll provide our Invisalign patients with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time. If your current set happens to run out before your next scheduled appointment, we can arrange a curbside pick-up for the next set. We can also set up a virtual appointment with your orthodontist if you have any questions or concerns that can be handled without an appointment. Thanks to these socially-distanced options, our patients can continue with their treatment safely and conveniently. 

In the case that 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 should only wear them for 10-12 hours per day instead of the standard 20-22 hours. 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

While many of us are practicing social distancing and find ourselves home more often than not, 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) or Q-tips

Put everything together in a portable bag to keep on hand and you’ll have just about everything you need for any orthodontic issue that may arise. 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 our priority at McGrory Orthodontics

Even if something comes up and you can’t make your scheduled appointment at our Bellaire or Pearland office, our team is here to help! We’re always happy to answer your questions or address any concerns you may have. If you’re ready to learn more about orthodontics and how to care for your smile between orthodontic visits, contact our office today. Dr. McGrory and Dr. McCarty are here to help you maintain your smile and your health!