Summer Survival Guide: Braces

Summer vacation is finally upon us! This time of year, many families are planning adventures all over the country. As a braces patients, it’s important to keep your orthodontic goals in mind throughout the summer months, especially if you and your family will be jet-set or road-tripping. Keeping up with your routine braces care will ensure your treatment isn’t interrupted, even if your regular routine is.

With a little thinking ahead and a few helpful recommendations from us, you can easily get through the summer with your braces and your treatment schedule intact. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite hints and tips on how to enjoy all your normal summertime activities and keep your smile in shape at the same time!

Prepare an orthodontic travel kit

There’s no international travel required to take advantage of an orthodontic travel kit. Even if you’re keeping things close to home this summer, it’s always a good idea to keep a small bag of basics with you to help care for your braces on the go. While you should definitely include the more obvious items like fluoride toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss or a waterpik, it’s worth considering other helpful items, too, like:

  • Orthodontic wax or Gishy Goo, a silicone-based product that’s similar to orthodontic wax
  • An over-the-counter pain reliever, just in case you experience any swelling or soreness (just check with Dr. Glass first!)
  • An unsharpened pencil or two, so you can use the eraser on any protruding wires

Place all these items in a small bag, then throw it in your backpack, purse, or suitcase so you can easily access it anytime you need it.

DIY braces care

It’s not unusual to have minor issues crop up from time to time with your braces. Although this can be a bit of an inconvenience if you’re out and about, many of these problems are easy to fix with a little know-how and a few common items. If you experience any of the following this summer, try these simple solutions to sort them out.

General mouth irritation

Orthodontic wax is an easy way to take care of any non-specific irritation in your cheeks, lips, or gums over the course of your treatment. Make sure the bracket or wire is completely dry, then pinch off a small amount of wax and roll it into a ball. Flatten this ball before placing it over the source of irritation to provide relief.

Protruding wires

Sometimes a wire can come loose and irritate the inside of your mouth. You can correct this with fixed with just an ordinary pencil! Use the eraser end to nudge it back against the teeth until it flattens out. You can also place a piece of orthodontic wax over the wire to reduce irritation and provide some extra stability.

Loose bracket

If you end up with a loose bracket, we need to know about it as soon as possible. Once we’re aware of what’s happening, we’ll help you decide what the next step should be. In the meantime, however, try sliding the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth. Orthodontic wax placed over the bracket can also add stability.

Dr. Glass working on a patient's teeth

But just in case you need us…keep our contact details close by!

You can handle quite a bit on your own as a braces patient, but sometimes you may have a problem that needs immediate attention. Before you head out on the road, make sure you have all of our contact information in your phone or written down somewhere. This should include our phone numbers and email address.

If you run into an unexpected orthodontic emergency, give us a call and we’ll walk you through the next steps you need to take. For most problems, it will likely be safe for you to wait until you’re home to follow up with us in the office, but we can also help you over the phone when necessary. If for any reason you need to be seen right away, we’ll find a qualified orthodontist nearby to help!

If you can, try to take a clear photograph of the problem you’re experiencing, then text or email it to us before you call. This gives us a better chance of assessing what’s going on more quickly and accurately, so we can get you back out there having fun as soon as possible.

Stick to treats that are safe for your braces

Summer is full of backyard BBQ’s, pool parties, and sleepovers, all of which offer a variety of tempting treats. Although the food restrictions that come with braces can make it tricky, making wise choices now will be more than worth it when your treatment is complete and we reveal your beautiful new smile.

To protect your braces and your smile, you’ll want to avoid anything that’s too crunchy or chewy this summer, such as ribs, corn on the cob, popcorn, plus any kind of sticky candy, cake, or cookies. That may seem like a lot to miss out on, but there are still plenty of delicious classics you can safely indulge in while wearing braces, like coleslaw, potato salad, grilled veggies, and baked potatoes. Oh, and don’t forget the ice cream!

Maintain your regular dental hygiene routine

It’s easy to get a little lazy in the summer, but when it comes to your braces, it’s extra important that you maintain your usual care and cleaning routine. We recommend that all our braces patients brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time, floss daily, and use your waterpik regularly if you have one. Keeping your oral hygiene routine on track will keep your treatment progress on schedule, too!

Glass Orthodontics team photo

Happy summer from Glass Orthodontics

Whatever fun the summer has in store for you and your family, keep your braces and your smile protected by following the tips we’ve outlined above. Remember, you can always count on our expert team for support if you ever have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan. Glass Orthodontics is here to help you achieve a healthier, straighter smile this summer – and all year long!