As we settle into a brand new year and reflect on the past one, it’s fair to say that all of us have been touched by COVID-19 in some way over the last ten months. Here at Krieger Orthodontics, we’ve faced a number of challenges and we know we’re not alone! Stay-at-home orders and temporary closings have required a lot of flexibility and we’ve had to reschedule quite a few appointments. That means we’re not always seeing patients as often as we’d like to!
If you’re one of our current patients, you may be wondering if there’s anything you should do if more time than normal has passed between follow-up visits. There are actually many simple ways to keep your smile in great shape, even when you have to wait longer than expected to see us. Let’s take a look at some of them!
Up your oral hygiene game
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is an essential part of any successful treatment plan. Tooth decay and gum disease can cause delays in treatment, longer treatment times, and in some cases may even affect the final results. Whether you’re in braces or clear aligners, there are some dental hygiene basics you should always be aware of. Stick to the following guidelines for sparkling teeth, a healthy mouth, and fresh breath.
- Brush at least three to four times a day, after each meal and once before bed.
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoridated toothpaste.
- Brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gum line, moving the toothbrush across the teeth to effectively remove bacteria and any trapped food particles.
- Floss at least once per day to remove bacteria and any food that has accumulated throughout the day.
- 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.
If you’re a new braces patient, you may feel that cleaning around all the brackets and wires is a time-consuming task. Don’t get discouraged! It’ll get easier as time goes on and you get used to your appliance. In the meantime, we recommend you follow these simple steps for the best results.
- Brush around every part of your braces.
- Brush every surface of every tooth.
- Brush until your brackets are clean and shiny.
- Floss every night before going to bed.
- Use tools like floss threaders and Waterpiks to clean hard-to-reach areas.
If you’re an Invisalign patient, you should be using the same basic guidelines for dental hygiene. You also have the added responsibility of caring for your clear aligners! Always rinse them off before putting them back in your mouth, and remember to clean them well with soap and 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. Remember that you should never clean your aligners in hot water! In fact, you should keep them away from any heat sources to retain their shape.
Follow the guidelines we give you
It’s important to always follow the instructions Dr. Krieger gives you for your treatment plan. If you have elastics to wear with your braces or aligners, continue to wear them exactly as directed. Have you recently completed treatment? Don’t forget to wear your retainer!
We’ll normally provide our Invisalign patients with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time. If your current set happens to run out before the next scheduled appointment, we’re happy to arrange curbside pick-up for the next set. Dr. Krieger is also available for video calls if you have any questions or concerns. By offering these socially-distanced options, every patient can continue with treatment safely, conveniently, and without delays!
If we’re unable to provide you with a new set of aligners right away, you can continue wearing the last set you were given with one difference—you should only wear them 10-12 hours each day instead of the normal 20-22 hours. This helps to extend the life of your aligners until an appointment is available. It also keeps your treatment plan on track and ensures you don’t lose any progress your teeth have made.
Keep a “care kit” close by
Even though most of us are sticking close to home these days, we encourage you to stay prepared for any orthodontic issue by making a “care kit” to keep with you at all times. What you put in it is up to you, but we recommend starting with these essentials.
- A soft-bristled toothbrush
- A small tube of fluoride toothpaste
- Dental floss or ortho picks
- Orthodontic wax
- 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)
Keep these items in a portable bag and you’ll have everything you need for almost any orthodontic eventuality! This little kit may save you some time, trouble, and discomfort if you end up having to wait longer than expected for your next appointment.
Krieger Orthodontics is here for you and your smile
Even when you can’t be in our Lewisville office, our expert team is here for you! We’re always happy to answer your questions or walk you through any concerns you have about your treatment.
We’re also happy to be offering virtual appointments for anyone who feels uncomfortable visiting us in person at this time. While we prefer to smile your smiling face in the office, we know that living through a pandemic means getting creative sometimes! Video calls mean we can provide you with personalized care from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Want to learn more about how you can be proactive with your orthodontic journey? Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Krieger!