After what felt like an endless and uncharacteristically harsh Chicago winter, summer has officially arrived!  With summer here we can all kick back and enjoy ourselves, whether we are putting our feet up beside the pool, enjoying a family bbq, catching a Cubs or Sox game or setting off on summer vacation. No matter how you choose to spend your summer, it is important to keep your orthodontic treatment on track by caring for your braces poolside, plane-side, or anywhere you may be in between. Using our tips and a little bit of planning ahead, you will be able to survive summer with your braces intact and your smile in great shape!

Keep our contact details handy

Summer is the perfect time for jet-setting off around the world or road-tripping your way through the country. If cars, trains, and planes are part of your plan for these warmer months, make sure you have all the Booth Orthodontics contact information you need beforehand. Nobody ever anticipates running into an unexpected orthodontic emergency on vacation, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, so keep our number on speed dial just in case! We can help you calm you down and talk you through any immediate issues, and we will also be able to let you know which steps you will need to take next in order to find some relief.

Most of the time, it will be fine to wait until you are back home to follow up with us, but if immediate treatment is indicated, we can direct you to an orthodontist near where you are (Dr. Barry and Dr. Ryan have tons of ortho friends all around the country). When you call us, you may be asked to take a photo of the problem you are experiencing using the camera on your phone.  Make sure you are in great light or use the flash. Texting or emailing us this photo will cut down on the time it takes us to assess the issue, and our team will be able to diagnose what is happening more quickly and accurately so you can get back to your summer fun as soon as possible!

girl with braces fishing

DIY care on the go does not have to be complicated

Many of the most common minor issues that can accompany braces are able to be treated easily with some know-how and a few things you probably already have lying around the house. If any of the following occur while you are out and about this summer, try these simple solutions for relief.

General irritation to the cheeks, lips, or gums

It is not uncommon to experience irritation in your mouth from time to time when you are wearing braces. The most common culprit is a loose bracket or protruding wire, and these can usually be sorted out using a small piece of orthodontic wax. To use this method, first be sure the bracket or wire is completely dry. Next, pinch a small piece of wax off, roll it into a ball, then flatten it completely. This can then be placed over the source of irritation to help relieve any discomfort. 

Pokey wires

If it is a wire that has come loose and is irritating your mouth, the eraser end of a pencil can be a  helpful tool. Simply nudge the wire back against the teeth gently until it flattens out. For extra stability, you can put a piece of orthodontic wax over the wire as well.  If the wire is poking on the very back tooth sometimes a pair of nail clippers can do the trick to trim the pokey end of the wire. 

Loose bracket

Loose brackets are usually not an emergency requiring immediate attention,  so don’t worry if a brace comes off while you’re away from our office.  Give our office a call and we can set up an appointment to get your brace put back on.   In the meantime, you can slide the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth, then use wax over the bracket to add some stability.  If its a brace on your back molar tooth, you can slide the brace off the wire and use a nail clipper to trim the wire next to the closest tooth. 

Take a travel kit with you wherever you go

Having a small bag of braces basics with you wherever you go makes it extra easy to always maintain your oral hygiene routine, whether you are close to home or halfway around the world. Besides a soft-bristled toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste, and floss, your smile will benefit from a few other helpful items like:

  • Orthodontic wax
  • An over-the-counter pain reliever for any braces-related swelling or soreness (we recommend always checking with our doctors before taking any medication for orthodontic issues)
  • A couple of unsharpened pencils, so you will have the erasers nearby for any protruding wires that need to be repositioned
  • Nail clippers

Keep this bag in your purse, backpack, or suitcase so it is close by in case you need it! Being prepared for anything is one of the best things you can do while undergoing braces treatment.

Keep your summertime treats braces-friendly

Summer has about a million opportunities for indulging in mouth-watering snacks and sweets. If you can manage to make smart choices even in the face of all that summer holiday temptation, you will be rewarded by the huge payout that comes at the end of your treatment, when we unveil your beautiful brand new smile on time! Remember all the general rules of eating with braces, avoiding anything crunchy, chewy, or sticky, and do not forget to brush after every meal and snack. Try not to feel too bad about having to avoid goodies like popcorn, ribs, because you will still have plenty of delicious classics to dig into, like coleslaw, potato salad, jello, grilled hot dogs, and ice cream, which are all orthodontist-approved! 

teens smiling with braces

Do not skimp on your summer oral hygiene routine

Summer is made for being lazy and breaking free from the structure of school. While late-night Netflix binges and cold pizza for breakfast are no big deal when there are no early alarms set, it is important to maintain your usual brushing and flossing routine. Be sure and brush your teeth after every meal and snack, brush and floss thoroughly before bed, and finish off with your prescription fluoride toothpaste. While slacking off is expected ( and even encouraged!) during summer break, for the sake of your smile, your oral hygiene routine should be the one thing you keep on track.

Happy summer Break from Booth Orthodontics

Whatever your summer plans include, we hope they are full of the kind of fun with friends and family that lead to a lifetime of good memories. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment over summer break, feel free to call us or drop by our Homer Glen office. Our entire team is here to inspire, encourage, and engage you on your orthodontic journey, and to help your smile in any way we can. Have a happy summer and we will see you soon!