Here at Nirenblatt Orthodontics, we’re committed to creating healthy smiles that look incredible and feel amazing, too. We use the latest in orthodontic technology and work to perfect our technique daily, but there’s another element that’s necessary to achieve the best results—you! By following Dr. Nirenblatt’s guidelines and maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine in-between visits, you can help ensure that you get the straightest smile in the shortest amount of time possible. Knowing how to care for your smile between orthodontic visits is the first step!
If you’re a current orthodontic patient at our North Charleston, West Ashley, or Summerville offices, you already know that issues like cavities, gum disease, and noncompliance can stall your progress. This can lead to longer treatment times or even affect your final results. Keeping your mouth healthy and your appliance in good shape plays a large part in how successful the overall treatment is. Let’s take a closer look below at how you can brush up on the basics of oral care outside our office!
Follow your orthodontist’s guidelines
Dr. Nirenblatt is a trained orthodontic expert, so you can always trust what he has to say about your smile! For example, if you’ve been given elastics to wear with your braces or aligners, continue to change them out exactly as directed in between to the office. If you have recently completed your treatment with us, be sure to wear your retainer as directed to keep your newly straightened smile in place!
We’ll provide our patients wearing clear aligners with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time, but if your current set happens to run out before your next scheduled appointment, we’re happy to arrange for you to pick up the next set at your convenience.
Visit your dentist for regular check-ups
Whether you wear braces or clear aligners, regular visits to your dentist should be part of caring for your smile. Though you’re under Dr. Nirenblatt’s care throughout the treatment process, your dentist is still considered your primary oral health physician. Their responsibility is to help you maintain clean and healthy teeth and gums, along with identifying any potential issues with your dental health. During routine checkups, your dentist will provide a professional cleaning and conduct a thorough exam of your mouth, including the teeth, jaw, and gums. We encourage all of our patients to see their regular dentist once every six months for a cleaning and check-up to keep their smiles in top-notch shape.
Brush and floss like a pro
Brackets and wires make it easier for food particles to get stuck, which can lead to a buildup of bacteria and plaque. This makes your teeth more susceptible to cavities when you’re wearing braces, along with tooth decay and even gum disease. These can delay your treatment progress and affect your final results, so it’s especially important to pay attention to how you’re brushing and flossing throughout your orthodontic journey! Stick to the following guidelines for healthy teeth, a bright smile, and fresh breath.
- Brush at least three times a day, ideally after each meal and once before bed. If you’re in braces, be sure to brush around every part of them.
- 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 trapped food particles.
- 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.
Tips for Invisalign or Clear Aligner patients
If you’re an Invisalign/Clear Aligner patient, you’ve got a bit of extra responsibility in caring for your aligners as well as your oral health. Always wash your hands before handling your aligners and remember to always rinse them off before putting them back in your mouth. Clean your aligners well with gentle soap and cold water at least twice a day. If you notice any build-up, you can soak your aligners in a retainer cleaner such as Retainer Brite or denture cleaner to remove it. Don’t forget to keep your aligners away from any heat sources, including hot water, to avoid warping and help them maintain their natural shape.
Create an orthodontic “care kit” for when you’re out of the house
Whether you’re still sticking close to home or venturing out a little more, it’s a good idea to be prepared for any orthodontic issues that may come your way while you’re out and about. One easy way to do this is to create a “care kit” to keep with you, 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)
Put everything in a portable bag to keep on hand and you’ll have almost everything you need for any issues that could pop up between appointments!
Give your smile the best with care from Nirenblatt Orthodontics
It’s always definitely good to take good care of your teeth and gums, but it’s an essential part of your orthodontic treatment when you’re in braces or clear aligners. By following our tips on how to care for your smile between orthodontic visits, you’ll be able to boost your oral health while working towards a straighter smile!
If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic care, our expert team is always happy to walk you through all the ins and outs of your treatment plan. Want 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 Dr. Nirenblatt in one of our three office locations!