After a winter that seemed determined to stick around forever, summer vacation is finally upon us, and we are looking forward to lazy days full of sunshine, swimming, and no school! For many of us, summer is also a time for traveling. Whether your family is planning to fly halfway around the world, embark on an epic road trip, or just take a quick day trip or two, it is important to care for your braces wherever you are to ensure your treatment stays on track. With a little bit of planning ahead using our Summer Survival Guide below, you will be able to survive summer with your braces in great shape and your treatment schedule intact. Keep reading below for recommendations from the Lincoln Orthodontics team!
Keep us in your emergency contact list
Heading out for parts unknown for summer break? Even if you are planning on staying relatively close to home, make sure you have our contact information close to hand before you jump in the car or board a plane. If you run into any unexpected orthodontic emergencies while you are out of town, speaking with someone on our team can help calm you down when you are feeling frazzled, and we can walk you through any steps you need to take to find relief.
Most of the time, you will be able to wait until you are back home to follow up with our office. If we do feel you need to seek further treatment, we can help direct you to an orthodontist near you, and we will help you over the phone as much as we can.
Ortho hack: If you are able to, get a good photo of the problem you are experiencing, using bright natural light or the flash. If you can email or text this to us before you call, it will give us the chance to assess what is happening much more quickly and accurately, so you can get back to having fun as soon as possible!
Carry a travel kit with you wherever you go
Whatever your plans for this summer, it is always a good idea to keep a small bag of basics with you for braces care. Besides fluoride toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, floss, and a waterpik if you use one, you should also consider packing helpful items like:
- Orthodontic wax or Gishy Goo, a silicone-based product that acts like orthodontic wax
- An over-the-counter pain reliever, for swelling or soreness (although we always recommend you check with Dr. Willett or Dr. Harre before taking any medication for pain related to your braces)
- A few unsharpened pencils – you can use the eraser end to press protruding wires flat again
Toss this bag in your purse, backpack, or suitcase so you will always have it near you if you need it.
Simple solutions for DIY care
Many of the most common problems that crop up when you are wearing braces can be fixed at home with nothing more than a little know-how and a few items you have got lying around the house. If you experience any of the following orthodontic issues while you are out and about this summer, try these easy DIY solutions.
It is not uncommon for braces patients to experience some non-specific irritation in the cheeks, lips, or gums sometimes. This is often due to protruding wires or a loose bracket, and the best way to tackle it is with orthodontic wax. Make sure the bracket or wire is completely dry before you begin, then pinch a small piece of wax off, roll it into a ball, flatten it completely, then place it over the source of the irritation.
If you have a wire come loose that is causing irritation in your mouth, use the eraser end of a pencil to gently nudge it back against the teeth until it flattens out. You can also place a piece of orthodontic wax over the wire to further reduce any irritation and to provide some extra stability.
You should let us know as soon as possible if you discover you have a loose bracket, so we can decide what the next step should be. In the meantime, you can slide the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth and use wax over it to add stability.
Do not slack on your regular hygiene routine
What is summer for besides being lazy, watching TV late into the night, and sleeping in until lunch the next day? This makes it easy to fall out of the routine we have established throughout the school year, but when it comes to your braces, it is important that you continue to care for your braces the way you normally would. This includes brushing your teeth after every meal and before bed, flossing nightly, and using your waterpik regularly if you have one. Some slacking off is expected over the summer, but for the sake of your smile, keep your oral hygiene routine on track.
Stick to braces-safe summer treats
Between backyard BBQ’s, sleepovers, and weekends at the mall, summer is full of chances to indulge in mouth-watering food and drinks. Even though it is tempting, stick to the general rule of eating when wearing braces by avoiding anything that is too crunchy or chewy. Even though you will have to steer clear of treats like ribs, corn on the cob, and popcorn, you can still dig into delicious classics like coleslaw, baked potatoes, and ice cream. Making smart choices now will have a huge payout at the end of your treatment when you will be able to show off your newly straightened smile.
Lincoln Orthodontics wishes you a happy summer
No matter what you and your family have lined up over the next few months, we hope your summer is full of family, friends, and plenty of fun. Remember if you have any questions or concerns about your treatment at any time, Dr. Willett and Dr. Harre are here to help you and your smile succeed in any way they can. Our entire team hopes you have a wonderful summer, and we will be seeing you soon!