Our last blog post talked about why we believe summer is the best time of year to start orthodontic treatment, and now we’re going to talk about how to handle starting back to school with braces! If you got braces put on this summer, you might be uncertain about what’s around the corner. Besides getting used to early morning wake up calls, class schedules, and having a homework load again, you now have braces to care for.
The unknown can be intimidating, and it’s totally normal to be nervous, but Dudley Smiles wants to make sure your braces are a breeze, so we’ve put together a back to school guide for braces to help you feel confident and comfortable. Keep reading for tips on how to score a 100% smile!
Keep a braces care kit handy
A braces care kit is just a collection of useful items that will help keep your braces clean and comfortable while you’re at school. You can keep it in your backpack, purse, or your locker. Your kit would ideally include an orthodontic toothbrush, toothpaste, floss or flossing picks, a small mirror, a few extra rubber bands, and a bit of orthodontic wax.
There are a few common issues that might come up with braces while you’re at school, and a care kit will provide pretty much anything you need to handle them until you get home, or to our office. These problems can include:
mouth irritation – Sometimes brackets or wires can come loose, causing irritation or pain to your lips or cheeks. Make sure the area is as dry as possible, then pinch off a pea-sized piece of wax, roll into a ball, and flatten it. Place this over the area causing irritation for some instant relief.
protruding wires – If it’s a loose wire that’s irritating the inside of your mouth, you can use the eraser end of a #2 pencil to gently nudge it back into place flat against the teeth until your next appointment, then place a piece of wax over the wire to provide relief and stability.
loose bracket – Let us know as soon as possible if a bracket comes loose, as we’ll be able to help you determine what steps you need to take next. But in the meantime, you can put wax over the loose bracket to provide a little bit of stability. Alternatively, you can slide the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth.
Skip the lazy lunch options…
It might be tempting to grab two bags of chips and a soda for your lunch, but avoiding the kinds of food that can harm your braces is an essential part of successful orthodontic treatment. We know that having a long list of foods to avoid can be discouraging, but there are still plenty of lunches that you love! Just steer clear of anything crunchy, chewy, sticky, or hard since they can damage or get stuck in your braces.
…but don’t skip the H2O!
Drinking enough water is essential for our overall health, but it’s also especially important when you’re wearing braces. Drinking plenty of water helps clear away any food pieces that might be hiding in the brackets or under the wires, and also helps to neutralize the acids from any food you eat, keeping your mouth healthier as a whole. Keep a water bottle in your backpack and drink frequently throughout the day. This is a lot more convenient than hitting up every water fountain your school has to offer in between classes!
Protect your mouth and teeth
If you played sports that require a mouth guard before getting braces, you’ll need to have a new one made now, especially if your team uses the molded option. Any sport that might cause injury to the mouth will usually require you to wear a mouth guard, including football, soccer, rugby, lacrosse, etc. Student athletes aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a mouth guard. If your gym class plans to take on any kind of contact sport or activity, you should grab one, too.
Getting braces is a big change, and getting used to them at school can be a challenge in and of itself. On the bad days, go ahead and indulge yourself a little. Milkshakes and smoothies can be really soothing after an adjustment appointment, and things like pudding, cake, and ice cream can all be a great pick-me-up as long as you don’t go overboard. This is a time of transition for you, and a small treat here and there can really help to take the edge off.
You’re not alone
Twenty or thirty years ago, there were usually only a few kids wearing braces in any given class. Thanks to modern orthodontics making braces more comfortable, discreet, and affordable than ever before, chances are good you’ll have multiple classmates undergoing orthodontic treatment along with you. There’s no need to feel embarrassed about smiling or laughing. In reality, very few people are even going to notice you’re wearing braces. Be yourself and never let something as simple as braces hold you back!
Dudley Smiles will keep you smiling all year long
Don’t let braces compound any back to school blues you may be feeling. Follow the tips above for a smooth transition from summer into the school year, but remember that our team is here for you should you need some extra encouragement or guidance. Just give us a call! With two conveniently located offices in Issaquah and Kent, we’ll fit you in for an appointment whenever necessary, and help you troubleshoot from home as well. We want you to feel confident in not only yourself but your orthodontist, too!
Best wishes from us to you for the upcoming school year. May it be full of kind teachers, minimal homework, and lots of fun!