Summer Survival Guide: Braces

After months of waiting, summer is finally in full swing! We’ve been enjoying all the sunshine and sleeping in, and we’ve really upped our poolside game. Some of us have also been traveling around the country, something many families like to do when the weather warms up and school lets out. If you and your family have any jet-setting or road-tripping planned for the next month or two, it’s important that you have fun without losing sight of your orthodontic goals. 

Dr. Jared Lee is here to help you get through the summer with your braces and your treatment schedule intact! All you need is a little thinking ahead and these helpful recommendations to enjoy all your normal activities and keep your smile in shape at the same time. Let’s look at a few of our favorite hints and tips on how to best care for your braces while you’re having fun in the sun this summer!

Keep a basics kit close by

Even if you’re keeping things close to home while school’s out, it’s a good idea to have an orthodontic travel kit close to hand. Pack a small bag of basics like fluoride toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss or a waterpik to help you care for your braces when you’re on the go. Some other helpful items include:

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

Keep your kit in your backpack, purse, or suitcase so it’ll be easy to access anytime you need it, wherever you are.

Dr. Lee working on a patient's teeth

DIY braces care 

It’s not uncommon for a problem to crop up with your braces every once in a while. Although this can be annoying while you’re out and about, many of these minor issues are easy to fix with a little know-how and a few common items. If you have trouble with any of the following this summer, we’ve included a few simple solutions to help you sort them out.

General mouth irritation

You may have some non-specific irritation in your cheeks, lips, or gums over the course of your treatment. Orthodontic wax is an easy way to get some relief! 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 help calm it down.

Protruding wires

Wires can sometimes come loose and aggravate the inside of your mouth. This can be fixed with nothing more than an ordinary pencil by using 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 notice a loose bracket, we need to know about it as soon as possible so we can help you decide what the next step should be. In the meantime, you can try sliding the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth. Orthodontic wax placed over the bracket can also add stability.

Have our contact details handy

There are lots of issues you can handle on your own as a braces patient, but sometimes a problem may require immediate attention. Before you head out on vacation, make sure you have all of our contact information in your phone or written down somewhere, including phone numbers and our email address. If you run into an unexpected orthodontic emergency, give us a call and we’ll walk you through what needs to happen next.

If you can, try to get a clear photo of what’s happening, then text or email it to us before you call. This gives us a better chance of assessing what’s happening quickly and accurately, so we can get you back to having fun as soon as possible! For most problems, it will be fine to wait until you’re home to follow up with us in the office, but if you need to be seen right away, we’ll help you find a qualified orthodontist nearby.

Stick to treats that are safe for braces

Summer comes with a variety of tempting treats. Whether it’s pool parties or backyard BBQs, it seems like there’s something delicious lingering around every corner! Although food restrictions can make things a little tricky, sticking to your treatment plan will be worth it once we remove your braces and reveal your beautiful new smile!  

To protect your braces and your smile this summer, avoid anything that’s too crunchy or chewy, like ribs, corn on the cob, popcorn, plus any kind of sticky candy, cake, or cookies. That may seem like a lot, but fear not! There’s still plenty of delicious classics you can safely indulge in, such as potato salad, grilled veggies, baked potatoes, and even ice cream.

Dr. Lee talking to a patient

Maintain your normal dental hygiene routine

All of us tend to get a little lazy in the summer, but when it comes to your braces, you don’t want to slack off too much! It’s important that you maintain your usual care and cleaning routine to keep your mouth clean and healthy. We recommend that all our braces patients brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time, floss nightly, and use your waterpik regularly if you have one. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer! 

Whatever you and your family are up to for the rest of the summer, remember to keep your braces protected by following the tips we’ve outlined above. If you run into any difficulties, need a little extra support, or just want to talk through some questions and concerns about your treatment plan, our expert team is here to help! It’s our goal to give you the healthy smile you deserve this summer – and the rest of the year, too.