Contrary to popular belief, the success of your treatment rests partly on your shoulders. Being a compliant patient, understanding and following directions, and doing the best you can to make the process seamless can help you stay on track, and uphold the estimated timeline your orthodontist has given you.
Here are five tips to help you conquer your orthodontic treatment, so you can get to your new smile in the best and fastest way possible.
- Maintain Great Oral Hygiene Throughout Treatment
There are a few reasons why great oral hygiene is important throughout your treatment. If you have braces, brushing and flossing becomes increasingly important in order to avoid the notorious bracket stains.
If you don’t commit to an effective brushing and flossing routine throughout the course of your treatment, plaque can sometimes build-up beneath the metal brackets. It will likely go unnoticed until the big day where your braces finally come off, and when they do, the white, permanent stains will begin to show. This is likely the last thing you want when revealing your brand-new straight smile!
Make sure that you’re brushing a minimum of two times per day, and a maximum of four times the entire time you’re in braces. This will help to prevent cavities, and plaque and tartar building up beneath your braces. Flossing is important, too, to help prevent plaque from building up in-between your teeth. Mastering a great oral hygiene routine will ensure that when your braces finally come off, you’ll have a beautiful new smile that’s completely ready to be shown off!
- Listen to Your Orthodontist, and Ask Questions
Being an active participant in your treatment is key! While your orthodontist is there to diagnose and guide you, their other job is to give you the tools and knowledge you need to have a successful treatment.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure about something, or need more clarity. Your orthodontist wants to help you with any questions you may have, including but not limited to lifestyle questions, dietary concerns, any discomfort you may be experiencing, or even your treatment plan or timeline. Don’t be afraid to help your treatment be as comfortable as possible!
It’s also important to remember that your orthodontist is an expert, and they’ve had to go through extensive training in order to do what they do. Make sure that you’re listening to their advice, being honest with them during check-ups and tightening appointments, and most importantly, that you’re allowing them to properly guide you through your treatment.
- Watch What You Eat and Drink
Your diet plays a huge role in the success of your orthodontic treatment. When your orthodontist finishes bonding your braces to your teeth, they’ll have a discussion with you about everything your treatment entails. This discussion will often almost exclusively include what your diet should look like over the next year or two.
As you probably know, you should eat less crunchy foods throughout treatment just to be on the safe side. Things like really tough meats, nuts, popcorn, and chewy and hard candy should be eaten very carefully so as not to cause any damage. Additionally, foods that are high in sugars and starches that may not be traditionally perceived as unhealthy or bad should also be consumed in small quantities. The sugars and starches can stick to your brackets, and reveal their effects when your braces come off.
As far as beverages go, sodas, juices and coffees are technically okay in small, infrequent doses, but it’s best to stick with plain water whenever possible. Not only does water lack the sugar that plays a huge role in causing tooth decay, but also helps to keep the mouth clean and free of any extra particles or leftover food that could get stuck between your teeth.
When in doubt, refer to the list your orthodontist will provide you, and try to abide by it as much as possible; it’s for the best!
- Don’t Skip Your Appointments
These routine appointments exist for a few reasons, all of them important. Though a treatment plan is made up for you, braces do require some adjustments and tightening, and these things need to be done on a regular basis in order to keep your treatment on track.
Your orthodontist will also assess your progress at these appointments, and you need to be in attendance in order for them to do that! It’s crucial that your treatment is being monitored every step of the way so your orthodontist knows what’s working, what isn’t, and roughly how long is left until you get to reveal your new smile to the world. These appointments will be scheduled every 2-4 months, or as needed.
One more thing - it is important that your braces are periodically tightened in order to move treatment along, and ensure your teeth are being slowly shifted into their proper positions. Remember that orthodontic treatment is a two way street, and both you and your orthodontist need to be engaged!
- Keep Your End Result in Mind
The entire time you’re wearing braces, one thing should be able to propel you forward, and motivate you to keep going - that one thing is, of course, how great your smile is going to look when it’s all over!
Remember to follow all of the necessary steps, including your check-ups, adjustments, and oral hygiene routine to make sure that the end result is absolutely perfect. Most importantly, remember that spending a few years in braces is worth a healthy, lifelong smile!