If you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment during the school year, you’re not alone! The AAO estimates that about 80% of patients wearing braces are 18 years or younger. Lots of your peers have previously undergone treatment or are currently undergoing treatment—and so have a lot of your teachers!
Going back to school with braces might sound challenging, but all it takes is a little bit of preparation to ensure that you’re smooth-sailing through your orthodontic treatment during the school year.
How to Deal With Braces At School
Taking care of braces shouldn’t be challenging! You will have to dedicate some additional time to care for your braces during the school day, but these braces hacks for school will help.
1. Create a braces care kit.
A braces care kit has everything you need to take care of your braces during the school day. Include a travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, dental wax, rubber bands, and a small handheld mirror. With these tools, you can brush your teeth after each meal to cleanse debris and food particles from your brackets and wires. (If you wear Invisalign® Teen, it’s still important to brush your teeth regularly. This will prevent your aligners from becoming discolored—and prevent your breath from smelling!)
2. Clear your braces regularly at school.
Remembering to brush and/or floss after eating at school is important! If food particles remain lodged in your braces, bacteria will build up within your brackets and wires. Bacteria buildup can lead to bad breath, discolored rubber bands (for braces wearers), discolored clear aligners (for Invisalign Teen wearers), and gum disease (for all wearers).
Avoid eating any chewy foods, sticky foods, and hard foods. These pesky foods can cling to brackets and wires, making it more challenging to clean your braces.
3. Carry dental wax for loose brackets or wires.
Orthodontic emergencies happen. Sometimes wires will pop out of place or a bracket may loosen—especially if you bite into hard foods against your better judgement.
If a wire pops out of place, it’s not a big deal. Head to the bathroom with your braces care kit, and follow these steps:
- Grab your dental wax.
- Wash your hands.
- Cut off a small piece of wax with your fingers.
- Roll the wax into a ball.
- Stick the wax over your loose wire or bracket to cover any pointed pieces.
- Give us a call and schedule a visit with us.
We’ll see you as soon as possible to fix your loose bracket or wire! In the meanwhile, don’t stress. This is why you came prepared.
4. Always wear a mouthguard when playing sports.
When you’re out on the field or court, it’s really important that you wear a mouthguard. A mouthguard’s purpose is to protect your mouth from damage or trauma. Accidents happen, especially when playing sports. Your mouthguard will protect your teeth, cheeks, gums and other players from being damaged by your brackets or wires.
For sports players who chose Invisalign Teen, you’ll need a mouthguard too! Your clear aligners serve to straighten your teeth, not protect them from impact. You’ll temporarily replace your aligners with a protective mouthguard while playing sports.
Your mind should be at ease knowing that your treatment period with braces doesn’t have to be challenging—especially when you’re in class. When you follow these 4 tips, prioritize your oral health, and keep a just-in-case braces care kit on hand, you’re setting yourself up for a smooth treatment.