Did you know that summer is one of the most popular times of the year to begin orthodontic treatment? Many parents see the break in between school years as the ideal time to have new braces put on their child. It gives them plenty of time to get used to having a fixed orthodontic appliance before heading back to school, and it’s a little easier to learn the ins and outs of orthodontics from the comfort of home. If you’re a student who had braces put on this summer, you may be wondering what lies ahead as you begin a new school year. You might even be feeling a little nervous about how you’ll handle having braces at school for the first time ever. Although this is a very common worry among our younger patients, adjusting to life with braces is pretty simple. With a little care and patience, they’ll be just another part of your daily routine in no time!
Here at Dunn Orthodontics, we know that the beginning of a new school year can leave you feeling anxious and excited, even before braces! It’s a time of opportunity, with many new things to experience, from teachers to subjects to extracurriculars. Wearing braces at school is just one more memory in the making! To help make this one of your best years yet, we’ve put together this survival guide for going back to school confident in your smile – and the orthodontic process.
Let’s explore a few of our top tips for starting school with new braces!
It’s true that braces require a little TLC, and it’s not uncommon to have a minor issue or two crop up during the school day every once in a while. This could be anything from food getting stuck in the brackets to a stray wire popping out of place, irritating your cheek. We recommend all of our braces patients stay prepared for any temporary difficulties by placing a few helpful items in a bag and keeping it in your locker or backpack. Some of the items we’ve seen patients include are:
- a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for brushing after lunch
- floss or ortho picks to use after lunch if you have the time and space to do so
- orthodontic wax, which can be used to cover any areas causing you irritation
- extra rubber bands, as you should be changing these out frequently daily
- lip balm for dry lips due to braces
- a small cup for rinsing, which will help dislodge any trapped food particles
- an unsharpened pencil – the eraser end can be used to push stray wires back into place
Having these kinds of items on hand in a pinch can end up saving you quite a bit of time, trouble, and discomfort as you work your way towards a straighter smile!
Go for the H2O
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is not only important for your overall health, it’s also a great way to flush out any food particles that are stuck to your teeth or braces, and helpful in relieving the dry mouth feeling that can sometimes come with new braces. Bring a full water bottle to school with you in the morning and drink it throughout to experience the full benefits. Try to stick to plain water over sugary liquids like soda, fruit juice, or sports drinks, as these can cause staining and increase your risk of cavities. If you choose to indulge in these sweet drinks from time to time, we recommend you use a straw to keep the sugars away from your teeth.
Do some menu planning
If you prefer buying lunch at school, remember that you still need to stick to the same basic rules of braces care, including food restrictions. To protect your brackets and wires, you’ll need to avoid anything too hard, sticky, or crunchy, leaving treats like gum, candy, popcorn, chips, etc. on the back burner until your braces come off. Keep your orthodontic progress on track by checking out the school’s menu ahead of time to be sure you’ll have braces-friendly options available. This includes items such as spaghetti, mac and cheese, soups, cooked vegetables, and lean meats, which will not only be easier on your orthodontic appliances, but good for you as well!
Protect your smile and your braces with the right gear for gym class
For our patients who are student-athletes or still have regular gym or P.E. classes, we recommend an orthodontic mouthguard to protect braces and smiles. These are designed specifically to be worn with braces, and they are the easiest way to keep your braces safe from damage and your mouth safe from injury during physical activity at school (or outside of it!) Mouthguards are readily available at most sporting good stories, and come in both orthodontic and non-orthodontic models. Dr. Dunn is happy to provide you one if you’d prefer to go through our practice! Although we strongly encourage orthodontic mouthguards for active patients in braces, any mouthguard is better than none at all.
Get back into the swing of school with a smile from Dunn Orthodontics
Like any new experience, going back to school with braces for the first time will have its own learning curve you’ll have to master. But if you use our tips to help you get into the swing of things, your smile will be on the honor roll before you know it! Dr. Dunn and our entire team are dedicated to making your transition from summer vacation into the school year as a braces patient as smooth and stress-free as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about how to navigate having braces at school successfully, get in touch with us any time. We’ll do everything we can to set your mind at ease and get you off to a great start. With a little time, patience, and support, you’ll be on your way to a straighter, healthier smile in no time!