And just like that, 2021 is out the door—bring on 2022! People have likely started asking you about your New Year’s Resolution, and if you haven’t come up with one yet, we’re happy to share a few ideas! For people with braces or Invisalign, a few small changes in the coming year can make a big difference for how their treatment goes, so here are 5 resolutions to consider.
1. I will brush after every meal.
Yes, you’ve probably heard that you need to brush at least twice a day, but for people with orthodontics, it’s better to do so after each meal and snack. Why? Because braces can easily trap food in the brackets and wires, and with Invisalign, any leftover debris can become pressed against the teeth when the aligners go back in. Both increase the risk of tooth decay and bad breath. That’s why it’s better to brush throughout the day, and to do this, you should invest in a small travel oral hygiene kit that goes everywhere with you and consists of a brush, floss, and maybe mouthwash.
2. I will wear my elastics as much as I should
Elastics allow your orthodontic appliance to line up your bite while straightening your teeth at the same time, but they only work when you wear them! Many orthodontic patients “forget,” ultimately slowing down their treatment. By wearing them as much as your orthodontist recommends, you can ensure that your new smile is ready as quickly as possible, which will mean no more elastics!
3. I will remember to wear a mouthguard
Pretty much every sport (not just the ones with physical contact) carries with it the risk of injury to the face and mouth, and for people with orthodontics, this can present a serious issue. Fortunately, there are specially made mouthguards designed to fit over orthodontics, which can allow you to hit the field or court with one less thing to worry about.
4. I will wear my retainers as much as I should
After a braces or Invisalign treatment concludes, a patient will be asked to wear retainers to help their teeth stay in their new positions. At first, a patient will need to wear them all the time, and they can eventually switch to only using them at night. Not wearing them can cause the teeth to actually drift back to where they started, so be sure to follow your orthodontist’s recommendations so you don’t accidentally undo all of the progress you made with braces or Invisalign.
5. I promise to keep up with progress checks
Regular progress checks enable your orthodontist to make sure your teeth are moving as planned and that everything is alright. If you tend to miss them, this can allow a small problem to pop up, and eventually, it can turn into a big issue that potentially derails your treatment. Usually, these appointments only happen every 4-6 weeks, but they can make a huge difference in how smoothly your treatment goes.
And just like that, you have a New Year’s Resolution! Of course, if you ever have any questions about your orthodontic treatment or what you can do to help it be faster and easier, all you have to do is talk to your orthodontist, and they’ll point you in the right direction.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is a board-certified orthodontist and Elite Invisalign Provider who has been named as one of Columbus’ “Top Orthodontists” every year since 2011. He hopes that all of his patients enjoy a happy and healthy new year, and if you have any questions about you or your child’s orthodontic treatment, you are always welcome to give Shirck Orthodontics a call.