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How To Protect Your Teeth and Gums During Orthodontic Treatment

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If you are wearing braces or another type of orthodontic aligners, taking good care of your teeth and gums is more important than ever. Good daily oral hygiene care is needed to protect your teeth and gums from oral infections while straightening your teeth. You don’t want to end up with dental problems like cavities, tooth discoloration or tartar buildup at the end of your orthodontic treatment.

When you first get your braces, they can hurt your tongue, cheeks, and other areas as your mouth gets used to the metal. When the wires rub against the soft tissues, it can be uncomfortable or downright painful. Thanks to dental wax, you can find much-needed relief as the waxy layer buffers the contact between the metal edges of your braces and your oral tissues so they can heal.

What’s in Dental Wax?

This wax is made from natural materials and sometimes comes with added ingredients like mint to make it taste better. Common types of dental wax may contain the following:

  • Beeswax
  • Carnauba wax (Brazil wax and palm wax)
  • Microcrystalline or paraffin wax

Dental wax is solid when at room temperature and then softens by the heat of your hands as you shape it. Just smooth it out over the parts of your braces that touch (or irritate) your oral tissues. To put the wax onto your braces, start by making sure your hands are clean, and take a moment to brush your teeth. After pulling off a small piece of wax, squeeze it to soften it, and then shape it into a ball. Flatten the ball a bit and gently apply it to the parts of the braces that are poking you.

You can keep the wax on overnight and replace it every couple of days (as needed). It is okay to eat and drink with the wax on the braces, but if bits of food particles stick to it or the wax feels dirty, you can change it out. To clean your teeth, take it off so you can properly brush and floss with an interdental cleaning tool between the teeth. Follow up with mouthwash to further protect your tooth enamel.

Protect Your Teeth With Custom Mouth Guards

Now that spring is here, so are outdoor activities like contact sports and recreation. Whether you play soccer, baseball, or skateboard, you will want to protect your teeth and gums while getting your teeth straightened. You do not want to get a sports-related mouth injury during your treatment!

To avoid getting broken teeth or injuries to your lips, tongue, and cheek lining, mouth guards can protect your investment. These mouth protectors work by cushioning blows and lowering the risk of injury. A custom mouthguard can often be made and be ready in three to four weeks. Since you are already investing in orthodontic treatment, get the added protection of a custom mouthguard that perfectly fits your teeth. This will ensure that it fits comfortably and will not suddenly fall out during your recreational activity.

Protect Braces From Bad Habits

For those wearing braces, it is also important to protect the metal parts from harmful habits like nail-biting, unnatural tongue thrusting, chronic pencil chewing, and even nervously picking at your wires. If you harm your orthodontic hardware, it can leave you with additional appointments and even an extended treatment time. Remember to do what you can to protect your smile and call our orthodontic office right away if your braces are damaged.

Never skip your dental cleanings and exams while getting orthodontic treatment, whether you wear braces or clear aligners. Your dentist can remove harmful tartar deposits so your smile can thrive. If you would like to learn more or schedule a visit with our orthodontist, call us today!