Travelling with braces: tips to help you enjoy the holidays, and avoid orthodontic emergencies
Planning a summer holiday? Well, we hope you are because vacations are important and so good for you! But vacations may also make it more challenging to follow your oral routine when it comes to braces or Invisalign. If you or your kids wear braces/aligners or other orthodontic appliances, you may feel like it’s a burden and dread being away from home if there is any issues while travelling. But worry not! With some careful planning and preparation you can enjoy your holiday and not hinder your progress towards a perfect beautiful smile! In this blog, our lead Orthodontist Dr. Latika Dhawan shares a few useful tips for traveling with braces.
Check in with your Orthodontist
If you are planning a long holiday, or traveling far, it is a good idea to visit us before you leave for a quick check-in. We will do a check up and make sure that everything looks OK with your braces, and there are no dental issues or adjustments required while you are away. If you are using Invisalign, you should definitely check in with us to make sure you have your aligners for the period that you will be away.
Pack a travel kit for your braces
Just as you pack your holiday gear and toiletries for travel, be sure to pack a special kit for dental care and braces. Your travel kit should include basics like toothbrush, toothpaste, dental wax, pain relievers, proxa brush, bands, tweezers and any other items recommended by your Orthodontist for braces care. Your braces kit should be compact and easy to carry with you at all times, so that you are ready for any dental emergencies in the middle of your trip.
Be Careful about snacking
Food is such a big part of holidays, and while we generally tend to banish all diet rules while on holiday, you do need to follow some to avoid issues with your braces. Here are some basic food rules to follow when travelling with your dental braces:
- Avoid an excess sugary drinks – they are not good for you anyway, but they can also stain ceramic braces and clear aligners.
- Avoid chewy foods, hard candy and anything sticky as they may get stuck in your braces or might break the brackets or wire.
- Cut fruits and vegetables into small bite-sized pieces so they are easy to chew
You can still treat yourself! If you enjoy ice cream, have at it as long as it does not have crunchy toppings that might get stuck in the braces. Foods like bagels and pizza should be cut into smaller bites. Following some simple precautions can help you enjoy your vacation meals without compromising on your journey to get your perfect smile!
If you are using Invisalign aligners, then you already know that you are free from any food restrictions. However, while on a holiday it becomes difficult to stick to the required 22 hours of wearing aligners, when you find yourself sipping on cocktails and snacking on delicious local foods! So it is important that you make a special effort to track your Invisalign wear. You can try to set a timer or reminder alarm for the times that you will likely be eating or drinking, so you remember to put your aligners back on and don’t hinder your progress. You might also want to consider packing a back-up aligner in case you lose a set, to make sure that your teeth continue to straighten correctly even while you are on holiday.
Quick fixes to manage emergencies
While you are away, especially to a foreign country, it can be difficult and/or expensive to visit an Orthodontist for a braces emergency. So here are a few quick temporary fixes for some common orthodontic emergencies:
- Bracket or Ligature Band Comes Off — Try putting them back with tweezers (If you don’t know how to do this, we can show you during your pre-travel visit)
- Loose Appliance — Use dental wax to keep it together
- Loose Bracket or Band — Leave it as it is and try using dental wax to relieve irritation. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, save it in a case or envelope and bring it back to your next appointment.
- Loose Wire — Try putting it back with a pair of tweezers. If you are not able to put it back in a comfortable position, and covering it with wax does not help, use nail clippers (clean them before use!) to trim the wire after the last tooth it is attached to, and use wax on the wire end to avoid irritation.
- Poking wire — Try pushing it down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser, then use some wax.
- Sore Teeth — Warm salt water rinses and an over-the-counter pain reliever can help ease the pain.
If you are not sure how to manage the situation, you can always connect with us online using the Skin ‘n Smiles app, and we can try to guide you as much as possible.
With a few simple precautions and planning, travelling with braces is manageable and helps you keep pain and discomfort at bay. So you can focus on what is really important – enjoying every second of your well-deserved vacation!