School is out and summer is here! No matter what big adventures you have planned, as an orthodontic patient, it is important to keep your treatment on track by caring for your braces poolside, plane-side, or wherever you happen to be in between. By taking the time to plan ahead and be prepared, you can ensure you make it through these summer months with your braces and your treatment schedule intact. Here at Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics, we are committed to helping you succeed in your quest for a straighter, healthier smile. Our team has put together this handy Summer Survival Guide to get you through your vacation with your smile in tip-top shape, so keep reading for more information!
Keep our contact info in your phone
If you are going to be jet-setting, backpacking, or road-tripping your way through your summer break, make sure you have our contact information close to hand before you head out. You may not anticipate any unexpected orthodontic emergencies, but that is the thing about emergencies – they rarely happen when we are ready for them! Putting us in your address book before you hop on a train, board a plane, or jump in the car can be helpful in case anything does pop up. Giving our office a quick call when you are feeling frustrated or overwhelmed can help calm you down, and we will be able to walk you through any steps you need to take to find relief.
Most of the time you will be fine to wait until you are back home to follow up with us, but if we feel you should seek further treatment, we can direct you to an orthodontist near you if you are out of town. To get back to your summer fun as quickly as possible, take a clear picture of the problem you are experiencing using your phone or camera in good light, or use the flash if necessary. If you can email or text this to us before you call, it will cut down on the time it takes us to assess the issue, and we will be able to diagnose what is happening more quickly and accurately for you.
Make up a travel kit for braces on the go
Whether you are keeping things close to home or traveling halfway around the world, have a small bag of basics with you to maintain your oral hygiene routine. Besides the obvious additions of a soft-bristled toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and floss, you can also throw in a few helpful items like:
An over-the-counter pain reliever, for any swelling or soreness (we recommend always checking with Dr. Leaver or Dr. Gardner before taking any medication for braces-related discomfort)
A few unsharpened pencils, as the erasers are helpful for nudging protruding wires back into place
You can keep this bag in your purse, backpack, or suitcase so it is close by in case you need it!
Simple DIY solutions
Many minor issues that occur with your braces can be solved at home with nothing more than a little know-how and a few everyday items you have lying around the house. If you experience any of the following problem while you are out and about this summer, try these easy solutions for relief.
Irritated cheeks, lips, or gums
It is very common to experience non-specific irritation in your cheeks, lips, or gums from time to time when you are in braces. Loosened wires or brackets are usually to blame, and the easiest way to tackle it is with orthodontic wax. Make sure the bracket or wire is completely dry before you begin, then pinch a small piece of wax off, roll it into a ball, flatten it, and place it over the source of irritation to help relieve any discomfort. Let us know if you need any orthodontic wax and we will hook you up!
If you have a wire come loose and it is irritating your mouth, pull out a pencil! You can use the eraser end to gently nudge the wire back against the teeth until it flattens out. For extra stability, place a piece of orthodontic wax over the wire.
If you discover a loose bracket, let us know as soon as possible so we can decide together what the next step should be. In the meantime, you can slide the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth, then use a bit of wax over the bracket to add some stability.
Stick to your regular oral hygiene routine
Summers are meant for being lazy. Staying up late and sleeping in make it easy to fall out of the school year routine, and while late-night TV and cold pizza for breakfast are no big deal, it is important to maintain your usual brushing and flossing routine. To keep your braces spick and span, be sure to 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 totally acceptable during summer break, but for the sake of your smile, let your oral hygiene routine be the one thing you keep on track!
Summertime treats that are safe for braces
Summer is overflowing with all sorts of mouth-watering snacks and sweets, but you should stick to the general rules of eating with braces, avoiding anything crunchy or chewy, and brushing after every meal and snack. Though you may need to steer clear of treats like ribs and s’mores, you can still dig into classics like jello, grilled hot dogs, potato salad, and ice cream. If you can make smart choices even in the face of holiday temptation, you will be that much closer to the payout that will come at the end of your treatment, when you will have a beautiful brand new smile to show off.
Wishing you a happy summer from Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics
Whatever you have planned for your summer vacation, we hope it is full of fun, friends, and making new memories. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment over the next few months – or anytime – you can always give us a call or drop by either of our Las Vegas offices. Dr. Leaver, Dr. Gardner, and our entire team are here to encourage you in your orthodontic journey. We want your smile to succeed! Have a happy summer and we will see you soon!