During this unprecedented time of social distancing and quarantine you may be wondering what do about your braces if you can’t see your orthodontist for regular appointments. Depending on how each orthodontist decides to manage this and how long this period of lockdown lasts, different approaches may be appropriate. However, it may be helpful to consider some of following until more normal appointments can be resumed.
Double down on your brushing and flossing routine. One of the crucial things your orthodontist checks at your regular appointments is how well you are keeping your teeth clean. Poor daily home care will lead to a build up of plaque (bacteria) which eventually will leave unsightly scars on the teeth called white spot lesions. These scars are permanent and can require costly dental work to repair. Inflamed and swollen gums will also occur which can slow your treatment down and eventually lead to gum disease and even tooth loss.
Follow your foods list carefully. By far the most frequent cause of broken braces or wires is eating the wrong foods. Most orthodontic appliances will not cause a serious problem if broken, however, a broken brace, wire, or spring can be annoying and sometimes painful. Depending on how long before it can be repaired, there could be some loss of progress, delaying the time when your braces can come off.
Get yourself comfortable. The most frequent cause of pain or discomfort is a poking wire. This can be addressed many times by clipping it with a sturdy nail clipper. You can also place wax over it. A broken brace (called a bracket) can also be annoying if it moves around. Placing wax over it will hold it in place better. Many orthodontic websites have information on dealing with broken braces or try searching YouTube for helpful videos.
Wear your elastics as instructed. Many patients wear elastics with their braces for correction of the bite. In most cases, it will be OK to keep wearing the elastics as instructed. However, the longer the period of time before a regular appointment can be made, the more likely that the elastics could cause some overcorrection. Overcorrection if mild will not pose a problem, but consider wearing elastics just while sleeping or even discontinue them if you are overdue for your next check up.
Hopefully these tips will help keep you, your braces and your teeth safe until it’s time to see your orthodontist again!