Caring For Your Smile In Between Orthodontic Visits

Farrow & Dewbre Orthodontics is one of the top-rated orthodontic practices in Oklahoma and with good reason! We’re proud to create beautiful smiles that last a lifetime for families throughout Oklahoma City and the surrounding communities. Our expert team uses innovative techniques and state-of-the-art technology to help patients achieve straighter teeth and improved oral health, but there’s another piece to that puzzle—you! 

It’s true! Patient compliance is an important part of any orthodontic journey. When you take care to follow the guidelines our doctors give you, it will help ensure the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. If you’re already an orthodontic patient, you’ve likely heard us warn you that cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems can stall your overall progress. Non-compliance can interrupt or delay your treatment plan, leading to more time in braces or clear aligners. In more serious cases, it can even impact the final results. 

When you listen to your doctor’s recommendations and take good care of your smile in between orthodontic visits, you’ll keep treatment moving in the right direction. Keep reading below for a few helpful tips on keeping your teeth and appliance in tip-top shape when you’re outside the orthodontist’s office! 

Give your dental hygiene routine a once-over

It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t brush and floss effectively. This can be a problem for anybody, but it’s especially risky for orthodontic patients. If you wear braces, you already know that oral hygiene takes a little more effort since you have to brush and floss around the brackets and wires. These are the same components that make it easy for food particles to become trapped against the teeth. When these aren’t removed, plaque and bacteria can build up, increasing your risk for developing dental issues. To get the most out of your oral hygiene routine, try following these 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.

Caring For Your Smile In Between Orthodontic Visits

Attn: Invisalign patients

While it’s true that oral hygiene is generally easier for Invisalign patients, you’re not entirely off the hook 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 aligners to warp and lose their natural shape, so you’ll want to avoid very cold or very hot water when rinsing or cleaning your aligners. You should also keep them away from all heat sources, including hot cars. Any time your aligners aren’t in your mouth or soaking in solution, they should remain in an approved case. This will help keep your aligners and your mouth clean and free from bad bacteria. 

Visit your family dentist regularly 

In addition to your follow-up visits with Dr. Farrow or Dr. Dewbre during treatment, you should continue to schedule regular checkups with your family dentist, too. Although you’re under our care throughout the treatment process, your dentist is still considered your primary oral health physician. They work in conjunction with us to help you maintain a healthy smile and will be able to identify any possible issues with your dental health. A routine checkup with your dentist will normally 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 a “care kit” for orthodontic needs on the go

It’s not unusual for orthodontic issues to pop up from time to time, but they can be annoying if you have to deal with them while you’re on the go. Stay prepared by creating a “care kit” to keep with you any time you’re out and about, packed 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)

Throw it all together in a portable bag and store it in your purse or backpack so you’ll have anything you need if problems occur in between appointments. Keep in mind, however, that you should get in touch with us as soon as possible if you encounter any real orthodontic emergencies. We’ll be able to assess the situation and let you know what steps you need to take next.

Caring For Your Smile In Between Orthodontic Visits

Give your smile some extra TLC with Farrow & Dewbre Orthodontics

While good oral health is important for everybody, it’s an even bigger deal for anybody wearing braces or clear aligners. Following the guidelines and tips we’ve listed above will help keep your teeth and gums healthy, 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 how to proactively care for your smile? Get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with our talented team. With offices in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Clinton, and Deer Creek, it’s never been easier to find time for your special smile!