With spring break in full swing and summer approaching, many of our Vancouver and Coquitlam braces and Invisalign patients are getting ready to head off on holiday. As an avid traveler herself, Dr. Lee knows it can be challenging to keep up with routines when you’re on a completely different schedule and far from home. However, caring for your orthodontic appliances is super important so that your treatment stays on track. Traveling while having braces or Invisalign can be an awesome experience with some planning ahead. We’ll walk you through how to enjoy your adventure and keep your smile in great shape with our guide to vacation and braces.
Can I Travel With Braces On?
This is a questions we’ve heard quite a few times at Evergreen Orthodontics and the answer is, of course! Contrary to some myths, braces won’t set off the airport metal detector or rust when you’re swimming in the hotel pool. Yet, if you are planning on traveling with braces or Invisalign, let Dr. Lee know in advance. This way she can make sure you’re scheduled for an appointment close to when you’re leaving in order to make adjustments and check your progress. She can also give you your next set of Invisalign aligners if you’ll be swapping them out while you’re away. If you’re having any issues, taking care of them before departing will make for a much more enjoyable trip.
Put Together a Braces Travel Kit
You pack your clothes and toiletries so it only makes sense you’d also set aside room in your bag for your oral hygiene necessities. If you’re going to a city or a place that’s pretty populated, you’ll most likely be able to find everything you need there, so don’t worry if you forget something. If you’ll be camping or off the beaten path, double check that you have the essentials. Regardless of your destination, store your tools and supplies in a well-ventilated container that has holes for air circulation and drainage to avoid bacteria growth. You can sanitize your toothbrush holder and toothbrush before storing them by rinsing them in hot tap water and then soaking them in mouthwash for 30 seconds. Rinse once more and let them dry as much as possible before putting them away. Now that you know how to pack, here are Dr. Lee’s suggestions for what to pack in your orthodontic kit:
- Your toothbrush (a travel one is also a great idea for freshening up on pit stops)
- Fluoride toothpaste
- Dental wax
- Dental floss
- Floss threaders
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- A small mirror
- Nail clippers
- New Invisalign aligners if you’ll be changing them
- Your Invisalign case
- Bottled water for brushing and rinsing your mouth if you’re camping or somewhere with unsafe drinking water
Caring For Your Braces on Vacation
Just as you would at home, make sure you brush after every meal and floss once a day. We’d never to tell you to forgo all of the treats while you’re vacationing but have sugary foods and drinks in moderation and avoid anything really hard, crunchy, chewy or sticky that could damage your brackets or wires. When you’re out and about exploring or stuck in a vehicle or on a plane, it can be almost impossible to brush your teeth after snacking. Try to rinse your mouth out with water to get rid of food debris. When you arrive at where you’re staying, brush really well. For long road trips, use bathroom breaks wisely and take out your handy travel toothbrush to refresh your teeth. Even brushing with just water will help until you can do a more thorough cleaning.
Handling Braces Emergencies on Vacation
Usually, you’ll make it back from a trip with your braces intact and everything will be fine. Occasionally, however, a problem can arise. Don’t let it stand in your way of having a fantastic time. Stay calm and follow our tips to temporarily handle the situation. Call us so we can schedule you for a repair appointment, if necessary, when you return.
- Sensitive Teeth – If you just got your braces put on, you changed to a new set of Invisalign aligners or had an adjustment right before leaving, your teeth could be slightly sensitive. Try sipping on cold drinks and eat softer foods like soup, yogurt and mashed potatoes until the discomfort goes away. You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package.
- Broken or Loose Bracket – If the broken or loose bracket is towards the front or middle of your mouth, dry the area off with a tissue. Then, tear off a little piece of your dental wax, warm it between your fingers, roll it into a ball and stick it over the bracket so it doesn’t irritate you. If the bracket is in the back of your mouth, you can carefully slide it off the wire. If a long piece of wire is left behind, wash and sterilize nail clippers with alcohol and carefully clip off the excess.
- Poking Wire – Try to push the wire out of the way with the eraser end of a pencil or the back of a spoon. If that doesn’t work, or it’s still sticking you, dry it off with a tissue and again place a small piece of dental wax over it to stop the poking. If it’s a long piece of wire leftover after removing a broken bracket, use sterilized nail clippers to carefully snip it.
- Irritation – Sometimes, particularly when you first get braces, they may irritate your lips or cheeks. You can use your dental wax to cover any brackets or wires that are bothering you. You can also soothe your mouth by making a saltwater rinse. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, swish it around in your mouth and then spit it out. Repeat this throughout the day as needed.
As you can see, packing the right supplies, keeping your appliances and teeth clean and knowing how to deal with any issues are the keys to successfully traveling with Invisalign or braces. Straightening your teeth doesn’t have to put a damper on your lifestyle or adventurous spirit! If you ever have any question, even while you’re on holiday, feel free to call either our Coquitlam or Vancouver orthodontic office and we’ll be happy to help.