Orthodontics is the vehicle that delivers a patient's teeth to their final destination of a stunning, straight smile.
That vehicle must be correctly maintained and cared for if it is going to arrive at its destination in a timely manner, and without costly repairs and setbacks.
Dr. Trudy Bonvino, a St. Paul and Minneapolis orthodontics expert, has provided these five tips to help patients care for their appliances and teeth during treatment:
Floss Teeth Twice a Day
Flossing helps clean the areas between teeth toothbrushes often miss. A floss threader will help patients navigate around their appliances while warding off germs and decay.
Brush Teeth After Every Meal
In combination with a standard toothbrush, an interdental toothbrush is a must-have tool that helps clean the tricky spaces under wires. Teeth and appliances should be brushed after meals and prior to going to bed using fluoride toothpaste and gentle strokes.
Be Consistent With Elastics
If elastics have been prescribed, they should be worn at all times, except during meals and while brushing teeth.
"Missing a single day of elastic wear after even a week of consistent use puts a patient's teeth at risk of shifting back to their original position," says St. Paul Orthodontist, Dr. Bonvino.
Address Damage Promptly
If damage has occurred to a patient's appliance, they should contact their orthodontics provider immediately to schedule an appointment to have it fixed. Wax and an antiseptic rinse can provide relief from irritation until the appointment.
Follow Food Guidelines
Foods like jerky and candies should be avoided since they can break appliances, which may add months to treatment.
By using these tips and guidelines, patients can avoid costly setbacks due to damage and additional doctor visits, says Bonvino, a kids' braces and Invisalign provider.