Due to COVID-19, many offices closed for patient and staff safety or were open for emergencies only. As our offices begin to reopen, you may be unsure of when you will be able to return for treatment. We understand that part of the success of the orthodontic treatment is showing up for your scheduled appointments, but under these circumstances, it is okay if you need to reschedule for your health. Our staff will work with you when you decide to return to our office to get you back on track with your orthodontic treatment plan.
With limited appointments available, now is the time to take care of your teeth and orthodontic appliance(s) to ensure the best possible result. If you are hesitant to return to our offices as we reopen, here are some steps you can take to handle any potential orthodontic issues and maintain a healthy smile from home.
Tips to keeping your smile healthy
Brush often – Keeping your teeth clean is important no matter the situation. If you can, brush and floss after every meal to keep your appliance clean and to prevent any cavities or other dental health concerns.
Stay on track – Wear your removable appliances such as retainers as prescribed so that you can keep your treatment on track.
Avoid problematic foods and drinks – If you are uncertain of when you will be able to visit us, handle your appliances with care until then. Continue to avoid hard, sticky, or crunchy foods that could potentially damage your appliance.
If you have any questions or concerns, call our office. Even if we aren’t open or if you may not be ready yet to come in for an appointment, we are here for you.
Handling common concerns
It is common to experience some discomfort with orthodontic treatment as your teeth move. Here are some steps you can take to alleviate any discomfort or prevent additional damage to your appliance while staying at home.
We would like to remind you that should any issues or complications arise during your treatment, your orthodontist should be informed immediately.
Keep the following items on hand and you will be prepared to handle most orthodontic issues from the comfort of your home.
- Orthodontic wax
- Dental floss and flossing aids
- Interproximal brushes
- Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and mouthwash
- Non-prescription pain relievers
- Topical oral anesthetics such as Ora-gel
Discomfort and irritation are common experiences with orthodontic treatment, but pain should not persist for more than a few days. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water and using pain relief medication can help alleviate discomfort felt during treatment.
Irritation felt due to your appliance rubbing against your cheek or lips can be soothed by using orthodontic wax. Make a small ball the size of a pea and flatten the ball over the surface causing irritation. If you run out of wax, it can also be purchased at local stores in the pharmacy section.
Some patients are prone to mouth sores during treatment which can be exacerbated by orthodontic appliances. These sores may appear on the cheeks, lips, or tongue. While not an emergency, they can be uncomfortable. Relief can be achieved by using a small amount of topical oral anesthetics such as Orabase or Ora-Gel.
Sometimes elastics or wires can become loose during treatment for various reasons. If you experience any appliance malfunction or complication, contact your orthodontist right away so they can advise you on the situation.
If an O-Ring (elastic rubber band) comes off at home, you can put it back in place using disinfected tweezers. If a wire ligature that holds a bracket in place becomes loose, you should remove it with the tweezers. However, if it is sticking out and not loose, to avoid any pain or discomfort, bend the ligature back down.
Occasionally a wire may work itself out of place and begin to irritate the soft tissues of the mouth. Using the tweezers or Q-Tip, push the wire so that it is flat against your teeth. If the wire cannot be bent or moved into a comfortable position, cover it with orthodontic wax for relief until you can visit your orthodontist.
These are just a few steps you can take to keep your treatment on track. Make sure to stay in contact with your orthodontist about how and when they plan to reopen for routine appointments. Keep in mind you may need to reschedule appointments due to limited availability.
For more information on treating issues at home amid COVID-19, please contact Dr. L’Tanya Joy Bailey, DDS, MS, PLLC office.