Summer Survival Guide: Braces

With summer here at last, we’re getting excited about all the sunshine, sleeping in, and swimming that’s about to happen! At this time of year, traveling is often on the schedule, too. Are you and your family planning on any jet-setting, roadtripping, or cruising adventures in the coming months? As an orthodontic patient, it’s important to keep up with your basic braces care so that your treatment isn’t interrupted even if your regular routine is.

By thinking ahead and following our recommendations, you can get through the next few months with your braces and your treatment schedule intact. Here at Buttram Orthodontics, we want you to have fun while keeping your smile in good shape. Let’s take a look at a few hints and tips on how to best care for your braces while you’re living your best life this summer!

Keep your emergency contacts close by

Before you head out on vacation, make sure you have all of our contact information handy, including phone numbers and our email address. If you happen to run into any orthodontic emergencies, you can give us a call and we’ll be able to walk you through the next steps you need to take. For most problems, it will be safe for you to wait until you’re home to follow up with us in the office, but we can also help you over the phone. In some cases, you may need to be seen immediately, and we will help you find a qualified orthodontist nearby.

If you’re able to, try and take a good photograph of the problem you’re experiencing, then text or email it to us before you call. This will give us a better chance of assessing what’s happening more quickly and accurately, so you can get back to having fun as soon as possible!

Prepare an orthodontic travel kit

Whether you’re keeping things close to home this summer or setting off to parts unknown, it’s a good idea to keep a small bag of basics with you to help care for your braces. Pack the obvious items like fluoride toothpaste, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss or a waterpik, but consider including other helpful items, too, such as:

Orthodontic wax or Gishy Goo, a silicone-based product that’s similar to orthodontic wax

An over-the-counter pain reliever, just in case you experience any swelling or soreness (but be sure to check with Dr. Buttram first!)

An unsharpened pencil or two, so you can use the eraser on any protruding wires

Put all the items you need in a small bag, then toss it in your purse, backpack, or suitcase so it’ll be easy to access anytime you need it!

Caring for braces on the go

From time to time, you may have a problem crop up with your braces while you’re out and about. While this can be an inconvenience, many of these minor issues are easy to fix with a little know-how and a few common household items. If you find yourself experiencing any of the following this summer, try these simple solutions to sort them out.

General mouth irritation
It’s not unusual to have some non-specific irritation in your cheeks, lips, or gums over the course of your treatment. Orthodontic wax is an easy way to take care of this! Make sure the bracket or wire is completely dry, then pinch off a small amount of wax and roll it into a ball. Flatten this ball before placing it over the source of irritation to provide relief.

Protruding wires
Occasionally, wires can come loose and irritate the inside of your mouth. This can be fixed with nothing more than an ordinary pencil! Use the eraser end to nudge it back against the teeth until it flattens out. You can also place a piece of orthodontic wax over the wire to reduce irritation and provide some extra stability.

Loose bracket
Loose brackets are a problem we need to know about as soon as possible. Once you let us know what’s happening, we’ll help you decide what the next step should be. In the meantime, however, try sliding the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth. Orthodontic wax placed over the bracket can also add stability.

Buttram Orthodontics patient with braces smiling


Stick to braces-safe treats

Summer is full of backyard BBQ’s, weekends around the pool, and trips to the beach, all of which come with a variety of tempting treats. The food restrictions that come with braces can make it tricky, but making smart choices now will be more than worth it when the treatment process is complete and we reveal your beautiful new smile!

To protect your braces and your smile, don’t forget to steer clear of anything that’s too crunchy or chewy, such as ribs, any meat still on the bone, corn on the cob, popcorn, plus any kind of sticky candy, cake, or cookies. Although it can feel like you’re missing out, there are plenty of delicious classics you can safely indulge in while wearing braces, like coleslaw, potato salad, grilled veggies, baked potatoes, and ice cream!

Maintain your dental hygiene routine

It’s easy to get a little lazy in the summer, but when it comes to your braces, it’s extra important that you maintain your usual care and cleaning routine. We recommend that all our braces patients brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time, floss daily, and use your waterpik regularly if you have one. Keeping your oral hygiene routine on track will keep your treatment progress on schedule, too!

Have a happy summer!

No matter what exciting adventures you and your family have planned for this summer, you can keep your braces protected and your smile looking great by following the tips we’ve outlined above. Remember that our expert team is always available if you have any questions or concerns about your treatment plan. Buttram Orthodontics here to help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile this summer, and all year long!