Here at Shaw Orthodontics, we’re committed to providing family-oriented orthodontic care for patients of all ages. Our talented team, cutting-edge technology, and innovative treatments allow us to create beautiful smiles for patients throughout Rockwall, Watauga, and the surrounding areas. However, there’s something else we rely on for success—you! Patient compliance is essential throughout the treatment process and these tips for taking care of your smile at home can help ensure the best results in the shortest amount of time possible!
If you’re already a patient with Dr. Shaw and Dr. Rasmussen, you already know that non-compliance can stall your progress. Dental issues like cavities and gum disease can interrupt or delay your treatment plan, which may lead to a longer treatment time, and in severe cases, could even impact your final results! With that in mind, let’s take a look at how you can keep your smile in good shape in-between visits to our office.
Maintain a good dental hygiene routine
We mentioned it briefly above, but it’s important to maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine, especially for orthodontic patients. This can take a little extra effort if you’re wearing braces since the brackets and wires make it easy for food particles to get trapped against the teeth. If you don’t brush or floss these away, plaque and bacteria can build up, making you more susceptible to dental issues. To get the most out of brushing and flossing, stick to guidelines like these!
- 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.
Always make sure to brush 3-4 times daily, or after every meal and snack. If you’re unable to brush immediately after eating, swish some water around in your mouth to help loosen any rogue food particles.
Avoid bad habits that can harm your teeth
When it comes to your smile, the habits you stay away from are just as important as the ones you live by! There are quite a few harmful oral habits that can leave you with results that are less than satisfying. Avoid chewing on things like pen caps or pencils and never use your teeth as a tool! If you find yourself grinding your teeth, be sure to mention this to your orthodontist as it can lead to more serious problems down the road. We’ll help you develop a plan to beat the habit and keep your smile in shape.
Create a “care kit” for your braces
After more than a year of sticking close to home, most of us are finally beginning to venture out a bit more. Stay prepared for any minor orthodontic emergencies while you’re running around town by creating a “care kit” to keep with you. Consider packing it with some essential items like:
- 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 (you can use the eraser end to push stray wires back into place!)
Throw them all together in a portable bag and keep them with you so you’ll have everything you need for any problems that might pop up in between appointments.
Follow the guidelines you’re given
As trained and experienced orthodontists, Dr. Shaw and Dr. Rasmussen are experts on your smile! It’s crucial that you listen to their instructions for your treatment plan. For instance, you may have elastics to wear with your braces. You should continue to change them out exactly as directed in between your follow-up appointments. If you’ve recently completed your treatment with us, don’t forget to wear your retainer as directed to keep your newly straightened smile in place. Your compliance is key to the overall success of your treatment, so stay on top of our recommendations at all times.
Schedule regular visits with your family dentist
While they aren’t exactly at home, follow-up visits with your dentist are an essential part of the treatment process. You’re under our care as we straighten your smile, but your dentist is still your primary oral health physician. That means they’re responsible for helping you maintain healthy teeth and gums, as well as identifying any potential issues.
Like adjustment appointments with Shaw Orthodontics, your dentist will use routine check-ups to ensure everything is functioning as it should be. They’ll also conduct a thorough examination of your mouth, and provide you with a professional cleaning. We encourage every orthodontic patient to see their family dentist once every six months to keep their smiles happy and healthy!
Keep your smile looking and feeling good with Shaw Orthodontics
We should all be striving for excellent oral health by maintaining a good dental hygiene routine. But this is especially important for anyone wearing braces! By following the guidelines and tips for taking care of your smile at home we’ve listed above, you’ll be able to keep your mouth in tip-top shape as we work to reach your smile goals.
Do you have any questions or concerns about your orthodontic care? Would you like to learn more about how you can improve your oral health? Get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with Dr. Shaw, Dr. Rasmussen, and the rest of our talented team. We look forward to seeing your smile!