Know that once an orthodontist is done with your dental treatment, they’ll often give instructions regarding your orthodontic aftercare. Orthodontic aftercare is the process of maintaining the results of your treatment after braces or other appliances have been removed from you, and you must follow them to the T.
If you forgot the instructions, know the importance of your orthodontic aftercare, or learn more about it in general, continue reading.
Importance of orthodontic aftercare
Remember that even after an orthodontist installs or removes your braces, night time aligners, or other dental appliances removed, it doesn’t mean you should stop caring for your teeth. To prevent that, they’ll tell you the steps needed for orthodontic aftercare.
Following your orthodontist’s reminders and instructions helps prevent complications like gum irritation and cavities after dental treatment. It also helps ensure that the results of your orthodontic treatment last for years and years.
The Basics Of Orthodontic Aftercare
The steps you need to take to perform orthodontic aftercare depend on the complexity of the dental treatment you received. There are two fundamental activities your orthodontic may want you to do for your teeth, and they are the following:
- Brushing and flossing teeth twice daily: Don’t skip this; this is crucial in maintaining your dental health and the treatment you receive. Be sure to brush all your teeth surfaces, including the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces. You may also need an interdental brush to clean your braces.
- Visit your orthodontist for regular checkups: Your orthodontist will check your teeth and retainer to ensure they are in good condition. They’ll also adjust your retainer if necessary.
Those are the common and basic actions you should do while you’re in orthodontic aftercare. They’re simple to do but easy to forget. Aside from these two essential activities, you should also be aware of the foods you need to stop eating for a while.
Foods To Avoid During Orthodontic Treatment
A part of good oral care is avoiding certain foods while wearing orthodontic appliances. Here are some common foods to avoid during orthodontic aftercare:
- Hard foods: These foods can damage your braces or even break them. Some of them are popcorn, nuts, ice, and hard candy.
- Sticky foods: Caramel, taffy, gum, and other sticky foods are challenging to remove as they can quickly get stuck in your braces. Be sure to avoid them.
- Chewy foods: You would want to put too much pressure on your braces and move your teeth out of alignment when eating. So, avoid chewy foods like steak, carrots, and apples.
- Sharp-edged foods: While they’re technically not that sharp, their edges can still damage your braces or even cut your gums. Avoid eating pizza crust, tortilla chips, and pretzels if you don’t want to experience pain and problems with your dental appliance.
- Sugary foods: Even if you’re not in orthodontic aftercare, you should avoid sugary foods as they can cause tooth decay and ultimately damage your teeth. Most of the sugary foods you should steer clear of are soda, candy, and juice.
This list isn’t comprehensive, so it’s important to talk to your orthodontist about other specific foods that you should avoid. However, it’s important to stress that you should definitely avoid anything sugary, as they may also risk your heart health. Also, they may have additional recommendations based on the type of braces you have.
Activities You Shouldn’t Do While Undergoing Orthodontic Aftercare
You don’t want your dental appliance to move around in your mouth days after it was installed. So, to ensure that doesn’t happen, you should avoid doing the following activities while undergoing orthodontic aftercare.
- Playing contact sports: Contact sports like football, basketball, and hockey can put a lot of stress on your braces and may cause them to break.
- Biting your fingernails or chewing on pens or pencils: You should be mindful of these habits as they can easily stress your teeth and even damage your dental appliance.
- Using a water flosser: Water flossers can be very powerful and may damage your braces. However, some orthodontists may recommend using one to clean braces. So, if you must use one, use the lowest setting and be very careful.
- Not wearing your retainer as directed: Your retainer is essential for keeping your teeth in place after your orthodontist removes your braces. Be sure to wear it as directed to prevent your teeth from moving back to their original position.
By following these tips, your braces will stay in good condition for a long, long while and ensure your treatment succeeds. Now, while you may already have the necessary equipment in your home to get through the aftercare process, some orthodontists may require specific products. They will be discussed in the following section.
Products You Need To Have During Orthodontic Aftercare
When wearing a dental appliance, it’s essential to use special products to clean your teeth and keep them healthy. These products are designed to fit around your braces and make removing plaque and food particles easier.
Here are some of these products:
- Orthodontic toothbrush: An orthodontic toothbrush has soft bristles that are gentle on your teeth and braces. It also has a small head that can reach into tight spaces around your braces.
- Orthodontic floss: Orthodontic floss is specially designed to fit between your teeth and braces. Compared to regular floss, this is made of thin, waxed material that is easy to thread through your braces.
- Orthodontic mouthwash: Orthodontic mouthwash can help to kill bacteria and freshen your breath. It’s important to choose one that doesn’t contain alcohol. Remember that alcohol can dry out your mouth and make it more challenging to clean your teeth.
- Retainer: A retainer is a dental appliance that your orthodontist may make you wear worn after they remove your braces to keep your teeth in place. There are many types of retainers, so it’s important to talk to your orthodontist about the right type for you.
Using these products can help ensure that your teeth stay clean and healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment and aftercare process.
Orthodontic aftercare is an integral part of the orthodontic treatment process. It ensures that your dental treatment becomes a success. By following your orthodontist’s instructions carefully, you can help to ensure that your teeth stay straight and healthy for years to come.