How to Care for Your Smile Between Orthodontic Visits

For more than 50 years, Hall & Koppel Orthodontics has been providing exceptional orthodontic care for Hot Springs families. It’s safe to say we’re passionate about creating beautiful smiles, something we’re able to achieve thanks to our expert team and cutting-edge technology. But there’s another essential element involved in that process—you.

That’s right! By following the guidelines our doctors give you and taking good care of your smile in between visits, patients can help ensure they receive the best results in the shortest amount of time possible.  

If you’re already on your orthodontic journey, you know that issues like cavities, gum disease, and non-compliance can affect your progress. Treatment plans that are interrupted or delayed can lead to longer treatment times and may even impact your final results. Let’s take a look at how you can keep your smile and appliance in good shape outside our office! 

Bring your A-game to brushing and flossing

Oral hygiene can be a little tricky with braces, as the brackets and wires make it easy for food particles to become trapped against the teeth. If these aren’t brushed or flossed away, plaque and bacteria can build up and make you more susceptible to dental issues. As noted above, this can affect the treatment process, so it’s important to properly care for your teeth while you’re wearing braces or clear aligners. Stick to the guidelines below for a healthy mouth!  

  • 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.

How to Care for Your Smile Between Orthodontic Visits

Quick tips for Invisalign patients

Although oral hygiene is easier for Invisalign patients, you’re not off the hook entirely! You’ll need to care for your clear aligners as well as maintaining your oral health. Remember to always wash your hands and rinse your aligners off before taking aligners out and putting them back in your mouth. Clean them well with a cleaning solution and 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. Don’t forget to keep your aligners away from all heat sources! Extreme temperatures of any kind can cause them to warp and lose their natural shape. 

Check in with your dentist regularly

Orthodontic patients will have regular visits with Dr. Hall and Dr. Koppel to check on their progress, but it’s important to see your dentist during this time, too. While you’re under our care throughout the treatment process, your dentist is still considered your primary oral health physician. That means they’re responsible for helping you maintain a healthy smile and for identifying any potential issues with your dental health. During routine checkups with your dentist, he or she will provide a professional cleaning and conduct a thorough exam of your mouth. We encourage every orthodontic patient to see their family dentist once every six months to keep their smiles looking and feeling great! 

Create a “care kit” for ortho on the go

Now that we’re all starting to venture out a bit more, it can be helpful to be prepared for any orthodontic issues that might pop up while you’re on the go. 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)

Throw everything together in a portable bag and keep it with you so you’ll have what you need for any problems that might occur in between appointments.  

Follow the guidelines you’re given

Dr. Hall and Dr. Koppel are trained orthodontic specialists and the experts on your smile! That’s why it’s so important to listen to what they have to say about your treatment plan. 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 visits with us. Have you recently completed your treatment with us? Don’t forget to wear your retainer as directed to keep your newly straightened smile in place!

If you’re an Invisalign patient, we’ll normally provide you several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time. If the current set happens to run out before your next scheduled appointment, we’ll arrange for you to pick up the next set at your convenience. If we’re unable to provide you with a new set of aligners right away for any reason, you can continue wearing the last set you were given with one difference—you’ll only need to keep them in for 10-12 hours each day instead of the normal 20-22 hours. This will help extend the life of your aligners until an appointment is available and keep your treatment plan on track.

How to Care for Your Smile Between Orthodontic Visits

Give your smile the care it deserves with help from Hall & Koppel Orthodontics 

All of us need to take good care of our teeth and gums, but it’s especially important for anyone in braces or Invisalign clear aligners. By following the guidelines and tips we’ve listed above, you’ll be able to improve your oral health while we get to work on straightening your smile! 

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.