While our Nashville orthodontist office is closed amid coronavirus concerns, there’s no need to worry! If you have braces or Invisalign, there are many ways to care for your smile while orthodontist and dentist offices are closed. We put together a list of the most effective ways you can care for your or your child’s smile while we all stay home.
Keep brushing at least twice a day.
Preventing emergency trips to your dentist’s or orthodontist’s office starts with the most basic step: Brush your teeth at least twice daily with a soft-bristle brush. We recommend individuals with braces or other orthodontic appliances take extra precautions like brushing after every meal. Make sure you brush each tooth at your gum line and brush above and below the brackets. When brushing your gum line, you’ll want to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Clean your brackets by brushing in a downward angle on top of the brackets, and an upward angle underneath them. If you have braces, you’ll also want to make sure you’re flossing regularly so no food particles get caught between wires.
Avoid foods that could damage your braces or aligners.
Now more than ever it is important to listen to the advice every orthodontist swears by: Avoid hard, sticky foods that could damage your braces. Foods that are hard such as popcorn, beef jerky, ice, and nuts can damage or break your brackets, causing you to schedule an emergency appointment with your orthodontist. You can still enjoy hard foods like apples, raw carrots, or even a chocolate bar by cutting them into small, bite-sized pieces. An excess of sugary foods, even for those who don’t have orthodontic treatment, can lead to plaque build-up which can cause gum disease, tooth staining, or cavities.
Individuals who wear clear aligners such as Invisalign should always brush or rinse their mouth thoroughly after drinking sugary beverages before you put your aligners back in. Sugar residue can get trapped against the teeth and in the aligners, causing a higher risk for cavities. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends avoiding any sugary or acidic beverages, instead opting for tap water as many water bottles can be acidic.
Follow the instructions given by your dentist or orthodontist.
During this time, be sure to stick to the treatment prescribed by your dentist or orthodontist, following their instructions as closely as possible–whether that’s wearing a retainer every night or wearing aligners or rubber bands. Now more than ever, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling any orthodontic equipment that will come in contact with your mouth.
Use the tools you already have in your home.
An at-home water irrigator or even standard dental floss can help keep teeth clean and orthodontic apertures such as braces free of any irritants. Rinsing with mouthwash can also act as a substitute if these other tools are unavailable. If any wires or hooks from your braces start to irritate or poke, we recommend purchasing an orthodontist-approved orthodontic wax and place it on the problem spot. Rinsing with warm salt water is just another one of many ways you can help relieve pain caused by braces at home.
Contact your Orthodontist if you have an emergency
If you think you have an emergency, contact your orthodontist. Though many practices are not seeing patients for regular appointments, emergency visits are an exception. If you’re experiencing extreme pain with your braces or Invisalign that won’t ease with over the counter medications, if you have a chipped tooth or broken bracket, these things may be considered an emergency. Contact your orthodontist so they can determine the best course of action.
If you have questions or an emergency, contact one of our three locations at Hermitage, Madison, and Brentwood. Thank you for your support and understanding as we work together to keep our community healthy.