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Oral Hygiene and Braces: Your Road Map to Success

Oral Hygiene and Braces: Your Road Map to Success
Posted on 01/06/2020

So you just got braces, and you’re feeling pretty overwhelmed. It feels very strange to have all this metal in your mouth, and brushing your teeth just got a little more complicated. You also have to visit your orthodontist way more than you usually visit your regular dentist, but at least you don’t have to keep seeing your dentist too—what’s that? You still have to see your dentist every six months?

That’s right: the key to maintaining a healthy smile during orthodontic treatment is keeping up with your regular dental appointments. But why can’t my orthodontist take care of that while I’m there for a routine adjustment, you might ask? Because Orthodontic offices are not usually equipped with the tools to deep-clean teeth like dental hygienists can. This is one of the most common misconceptions about orthodontic treatment! Though keeping your smile healthy is always important, it’s even more critical to keep up with an oral hygiene routine at home and at the dentist’s office once you have braces.

The staff at Southeast Orthodontics provides as much information to patients and parents as they can to emphasize the importance of oral hygiene. During an initial bonding appointment, the staff sets each patient up for oral hygiene success by using an adhesive, orthodontic cement, and a cavity shield varnish that each contain long-term fluoride release capabilities. Every patient is sent home from this appointment with a new toothbrush, interproximal brush (to brush between brackets), floss, OrthoWash fluoride rinse, and a list of foods to avoid during treatment.

During regularly scheduled orthodontic appliance adjustments, an assistant will remove a patient’s archwire so the patient has the opportunity to brush and rinse, paying special attention to the areas beneath where their archwire usually sits. Patients with braces are encouraged to brush their teeth after every meal, instead of the recommended two times daily. Food and drink left sitting on teeth all day can lead to serious issues. Not only can this result in staining, but it can cause cavities and potentially extend treatment time—so there’s a lot at stake.

But fear not! The team at Southeast Orthodontics makes it easy (and fun) to keep to a regular dental cleaning schedule with their Oral Hygiene Rewards program.

How it works: Every time a patient visits their regular dentist, they get an oral hygiene certificate, signed and dated by the hygienist. During their next orthodontic adjustment, the patient presents their certificate to the assistant to earn “rewards” points. Once the patient has earned enough points, they get to choose a prize! Past prizes have included gift cards to Old Navy, iTunes, and Best Buy, so good brushing habits can pay off bigtime.

Whenever a patient visits Southeast Orthodontics for an appliance adjustment, they are graded on their oral hygiene, and any areas for improvement are discussed with the patient and parents. Good grades not only equal great oral health, but also earn extra rewards points! So keep to a great brushing routine, and you could be the next big winner!