Are you thinking about starting orthodontic treatment? Or maybe you have already gotten started! It can be a pretty life-changing experience to commit to aligning your teeth. Along with the big financial and cosmetic changes, there will be a few lifestyle changes as well. Supporting your treatment through new habits is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success. Dr. Vo and her team at Texas Family Orthodontics will be there with you every step of the way to guarantee a transformation you will love for life!
Tips for Success With Clear Aligners
What exactly are clear aligners? They are one of the most convenient and discreet options out there for orthodontic treatment! Wearing a series of clear retainers over the course of months and years will slowly shift and align your smile. While wearing and removing your aligners makes them convenient, there are definitely tips and tricks you should use to guarantee the best, fastest results. Here are a few of our most important tips:
Wear As Instructed
Dr. Vo typically recommends that her patients wear their clear aligners for about 22 hours a day. This means you should be wearing them at all times except for when you are eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth. This might seem like a lot at first, but once you are used to them, it will become second nature to keep your retainers in. If you are forgetful about wearing your retainers, it can seriously slow down your progress!
Stay on Schedule
An important part of wearing aligners is switching them out every week or two based on Dr. Vo’s instructions. Every time you switch your retainer, you will increase the resistance against your teeth, encouraging them to continue shifting into alignment. If you forget to change your retainers, you will again slow down your progress, so put a reminder in your phone!
Keep Them Clean
Keeping your teeth and retainers clean is a pretty important part of your orthodontic success. Because your retainers are removable, your daily oral hygiene routine will stay pretty much the same throughout your treatment, you just need to add cleaning your retainers to the mix! It’s super simple: just scrub your retainers inside and out once a day with a gentle cleanser like hand soap. Rinse well, and they are ready to be worn again!
Keep a Case on Hand
The biggest risk to your progress with retainers is losing them! It can happen so easily when you are out and about, eating or drinking, and the next thing you know, you’ve accidentally tossed them in the trash! To avoid a retainer emergency, we recommend taking a retainer case with you everywhere! Store one in your lunchbox, work bag, school bag, or wherever you know that you will remember to grab it when it’s time to take your aligner out. This will save you a ton of grief and the extra cost that comes from having to replace an aligner!
Bonus Tip: Hold Onto Your Old Aligner!
One tip we share with all our patients is to hold onto your most recent aligner after you switch to the new one. If something happens and you lose or break your current aligner, then you can simply wear the older one as a placeholder until we can get you a new one! This will prevent you from regressing in your progress while you wait.
Tips For Success With Fixed Braces
Braces is one of the original orthodontic treatments, but it’s still around for good reason! The technology has improved so much over the years, making them more comfortable, more convenient, and the best choice for many of our patients! With traditional braces, metal brackets and wires are attached to your upper and lower teeth and create resistance to pull all of your teeth into alignment.
We call them ‘fixed’ braces because they are not removable and will stay on your teeth throughout treatment. While less convenient for eating and brushing, you will never have to remember to put them on! Here are a few of the habits needed for maintaining braces:
Adjust Your Oral Hygiene Routine
Brushing and flossing while wearing braces is a little different than without them. First, it’s essential to spend some time scrubbing around and behind your brackets. This is most easily done with an interproximal brush that can go under the brackets. Using a floss threader to pull floss under each bracket is also necessary to maintain clean teeth. We sometimes recommend water flossers as a replacement for traditional floss if you find the threading process to be difficult!
Adjust Your Diet
It can be a bit of a bummer to miss out on some of your favorite foods during orthodontic treatment, but it’s only temporary and will reduce the chance of breaking your braces and keeping your teeth healthy! Avoiding hard, crunchy, sticky, and chewy foods while your braces are on is the way to go. Check in with our team for a full list of foods we recommend you avoid and what to eat instead!
Don’t Forget to Wear Your Retainer!
At the end of treatment, either with aligners or braces, wearing your retainers will preserve those beautiful results for years to come! Over time, you should only need to wear them at night to maintain those results, so get in the habit of always wearing your retainer and keeping them clean!
We Can’t Wait to Work With you at Texas Family Orthodontics!
Now that you know our best suggestions for a successful treatment, you are ready to jump into a treatment plan of your own! We would be honored if you chose Texas Family Orthodontics to provide you with all the orthodontic support you and your family need. Connect with us directly at one of our offices in San Antonio or Windcrest and ask about a free consultation appointment! We hope to see you soon!