We know most of you are pros when it comes to caring for your braces and Invisalign. However, with our office temporarily closed because of the coronavirus, we thought it was the perfect time for a refresher. While we can get you in for a one-on-one appointment if it’s a true emergency, of course, avoiding emergencies and keeping your smile journey on track is ideal. Here are some tips to follow to keep your braces and Invisalign in top-notch shape!
Brushing and Flossing With Braces
If you’re one of our Omaha braces patients, be sure to brush your teeth with your toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste at least three times per day, but preferably brush in the morning, before bed, and after meals and snacks. Brush for two minutes each session. Brush around your brackets and wires, along your gum line and all of the surfaces of your teeth using small, circular motions. In addition to using your toothbrush, break out your proxy brush to get in between your hardware.
Floss once daily using regular dental floss and a floss threader or a specialized orthodontic flosser. Get in between any two teeth and floss up and down the side of one tooth reaching up to the gum line and then up and down the side of the other before moving on to the next set of teeth. Make sure to floss behind those back molars too. For added protection against tooth decay and gum disease, it’s also a good idea to use a fluoride mouthwash twice a day for 60 seconds. We like Listerine and Crest Pro-Health Rinse!
Oral Hygiene and Invisalign
Since you take your Invisalign aligners out to brush and floss your teeth, your technique will remain the same. However, in addition to brushing your teeth in the morning and before bed, you should brush them before putting your aligners back in after eating or drinking a sugary drink. Since the aligners fit snug against your teeth, they’ll trap any food debris or liquid that’s leftover, which can lead to tooth decay. At the very least, rinse your mouth out really well and then pop in your aligners.
How to Clean Invisalign Aligners
To keep your Invisalign aligners clean, give them some TLC whenever you brush your teeth. You can use Invisalign cleaning crystals or other products. However, since you only wear your aligners for a week or two, by the time they need a deeper clean, you’re often already on to a new set. The easiest way to clean Invisalign trays is to simply brush your aligners with lukewarm water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Be sure to wash your hands before and after handling aligners or other appliances like retainers.
What to Eat and Foods to Avoid With Braces
You can still eat most of your favorites but there are some foods to avoid with braces. You’ll want to stay away from really hard, chewy or sticky foods, including pizza crust, popcorn, nuts, hard taco shells, hard rolls, taffy, hard candy, whole raw apples and carrots, Starburst and anything that could either damage your braces or get stuck and cause inflammation. Take corn off the cob and meat off the bone. When eating, break or cut food into bite-sized pieces and chew with the back teeth.
As for what to eat with braces, everything else is fair game! If your teeth are ever feeling sensitive, you can stick with softer foods and cold drinks. Soup, applesauce, smoothies, mashed potatoes, French fries, pasta, yogurt, soft shell tacos and applesauce are all excellent choices.
Wearing Your Invisalign Aligners
Wear your Invisalign aligners for about 22 hours per day and change to a new set according to your treatment plan. If you see a lot of space between your tooth and your aligner, use your chewies as instructed to seat your aligner. If you lose an aligner, contact us, so we can let you know how to proceed. Depending on where you’re at in your wear schedule, you may need to wear your previous aligners until we get you a new set. As always, be sure to take your aligners out to eat or drink anything aside from plain water and when you’re not wearing your aligners, store them in their Invisalign case.
Wearing Your Elastics or Retainers
Wear your elastics according to plan. This will ensure your bite is continuing to improve while you’re at home. If you finished treatment and you have a retainer, wear that as instructed to maintain your results and prevent your teeth from shifting.
Comfort Care Tips
A true Invisalign or braces emergency is rare. However, minor things can crop up. Thankfully, most are easily handled at home. If you do have an issue like a broken bracket, you can follow the tips below or use our virtual check-in feature on our website and we’ll walk you through it. Or you can always give us a call at the office (402) 592-3200. Here are some ways to troubleshoot discomfort:
- Broken Bracket – If the bracket is at the very back of your mouth, you can carefully slide it off the wire. Then, dry off the wire with a tissue or gauze, break off a piece of orthodontic relief wax, roll it in between your fingers to warm it up, and place it on the wire so that it doesn’t poke you. If there is a lot of excess wire leftover, you can very gently clip it with nail clippers that have been sterilized with alcohol before putting on wax. If the bracket is in the front or middle of your mouth, you can cover it with wax so that it doesn’t irritate you.
- Poking Wire – If your wire is sticking you in the cheek, you can carefully use a clean cotton swab or the eraser end of a new pencil to push it out of the way. Cover it in wax to stop it from poking. Again, if it’s a really long piece, follow the instructions above for clipping it with nail clippers, if necessary.
- Sensitive Teeth or Irritation – Since we haven’t been doing adjustments or putting on braces for new patients, you shouldn’t have too many problems with sensitive teeth. If you do, however, or your braces are causing irritation, gargle with a saltwater rinse. Mix one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of water and swish it around before spitting it out. Repeat this as often as necessary. Use wax to cover any areas that are bothering you. You can also try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like Advil and sticking with soft foods and cold drinks.
We hope everyone is doing well and that these tips for caring for braces and Invisalign help! If you’re an existing patient and want to make sure your treatment is on track or you have a problem, use our virtual check-in feature to connect with Dr. Hawley. If you’re a new patient who has been considering orthodontic treatment, you can schedule a virtual consultation at Hawley Orthodontics from the comfort of your own home. We’ll see everyone soon!