Q: What are some tips for getting through my orthodontic treatment?
Welcome back to another edition of Ask Dr. Williams, and thanks for the great question. I know that orthodontic treatments can be something of a rollercoaster, and we see people go through all sorts of different stages during the process: excitement, dread, frustration, complacency, and finally — elation when the treatment is finished!
Even though it can be challenging, there are a few things you can do to help make the process easier on you. Whether you have braces or Invisalign, here are our best tips that every orthodontic patient should know.
Stay on schedule
Invisalign and braces both rely on patients sticking to a strict plan that is custom-made and mapped out at the beginning of a treatment.
For Invisalign users, this means wearing the trays for at least 22 hours a day and changing them on schedule. For those with braces, staying on schedule means getting to your appointments with your orthodontist and doing anything extra as recommended like wearing elastics.
Remember, your orthodontist is doing what they can to help you get to the end goal of straight, healthy teeth. The closer you stick to the plan, the sooner the treatment will finish.
New hygiene habits can be a challenge with orthodontic treatments. While we (hopefully) all brush and floss, Invisalign and braces add an extra element — you have to clean between the brackets and under the wires, and with Invisalign, it’s important to gently wash the trays and keep your teeth very clean before putting them back in after every meal.
It is an adjustment! But the sooner you make oral hygiene a priority while undergoing an orthodontic treatment, the quicker it will become a habit you can’t live without.
Remember, your oral hygiene is important to stay on top of so that when your treatment is done, your teeth will be in great condition.
No matter where you go or what you’re doing, it is always smart to have an orthodontic toolkit with you. This should include a soft bristle travel toothbrush, a small tube of toothpaste, and a small roll of floss. If you are wearing braces, you can also include some orthodontic wax in case the wires bother you.
If you are travelling afar and using Invisalign, it can also include an extra tray (either the previous one or the next one in line, depending on where you are at with your current tray) in case of loss or damage.
Remember, we can’t be prepared for every situation, but it is great to think ahead if you are on the road or on the move so that you stay on track with your orthodontic treatment.
Remember to keep your eye on the prize — the perfect, healthy smile you have always wanted is on the horizon. It can be hard to stay positive while you are undergoing an orthodontic treatment like braces or Invisalign, especially as an adult.
Remember, it will all be worth it in the end so stay focused and stay on track so that it is as smooth as possible for yourself.
Dr. Lesley Williams is a Certified Specialist in Orthodontics. She grew up in Victoria, BC with her parents and two sisters.
After being awarded her Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree in 1989, Dr. Williams then spent six years as a dentist in general practice before deciding that she wanted to further her education by undertaking three extra years of highly specialized training in orthodontics. With her Masters in Science (Orthodontics) degree under her belt, she went on to sit the Orthodontic Specialty Fellowship exams through the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. To date, her status as an active leader in the orthodontic profession means that she holds the following qualifications and positions:
- Certified Specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada
- Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics
- Examiner for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and the American Board of Orthodontics.
- Former president of the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (representing 2900 orthodontists from the 4 western Canadian provinces and 8 western American states).
- Active member of the Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists.