Whether it’s an extended work trip, a student exchange, or even just a holiday, if you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment and heading away for a trip, there might be a few extras you need to consider.
Although orthodontic treatments like braces, Invisalign and retainers have very little impact on your day-to-day life, a little preparation prior to heading off on holidays or travelling overseas goes a long way to making sure your teeth enjoy the benefits of travel just as much as you do.
Here’s a quick guide to travelling with braces.
Short trip or long trip?
The length of your expected time away will determine whether you need to check in with your orthodontist prior to heading off. Short trips are unlikely to affect your orthodontic treatment but extended time away for a work trip or student exchange might.
If your holiday or travel coincides with your next planned treatment, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist prior to setting off. They might be able to make minor adjustments or offer advice that allows your treatment plan to continue to schedule.
Meanwhile, if your time away extends beyond weeks and into months or even longer, you might need a referral to another specialist while you’re away. That way your treatment can continue unimpeded by your upcoming travel and adventure.
Your current orthodontist is the best person to speak to about the right course of action to take.
Packing for braces
The truth is braces are pretty easy-going travel companions. They go wherever you do and tend to pack very light. That said, there are a few items you should throw into your suitcase to cater to their needs, including:
Toothbrush and floss – You might be on holidays but there’s no excuse to neglect your dental hygiene, so your toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss are non-negotiable items to pack.
Piksters – Piksters are easy to keep on you while you are on-the-go for any food that may be trapped or to help you get into hard-to-reach areas when brushing.
Wax – Should you occasionally experience mouth ulcers where braces rub against the inside of the mouth, orthodontic wax might be a good addition to your suitcase. This will also be helpful if any wires start to become pokey or bother you
Elastics – If your treatment involves elastics, stock up before you depart to ensure your treatment continues as planned.
Caring for your braces
When it comes to caring for your braces while you’re away, it’s pretty much business as usual.
Although you may be experiencing new sights, sounds and tastes, don’t neglect your dental hygiene or be too tempted by foods that leave a sugary residue on your teeth, or are likely to damage your braces.
Brush your teeth three times daily, and if possible after every meal. If you can’t brush after a meal, at least rinse your mouth out with water. And, as always, floss at least once a day to remove any food residue from between your teeth.
Eating for your braces
Throughout orthodontic treatment, it’s important to avoid foods which can damage your braces or leave your teeth prone to decay.
This is even more critical when you’re travelling, as orthodontic or dental help may not readily be at hand.
As a refresher, foods to avoid include:
- Those which cause you to bite down hard or chew extensively – like nuts, entire apples, carrots, corn on the cob, steak, hard sweets and chewy lollies. These foods have the potential to damage your braces.
- Sweet treats – like sugary drinks, lollies, candies, etc. These foods leave a sugary residue on your teeth and braces can potentially make it harder to remove, leaving your teeth more prone to decay.
What if something happens to my braces while I’m away?
Accidents can and do happen. If an archwire comes loose or a bracket detaches from a tooth while you happen to be on holidays, contact your regular orthodontist to work out what to do next.
Orthodontics Australia recommends the following course of action should you damage your braces while travelling.
“Take a photo of your problem and e-mail to your normal orthodontist. They are always willing to help! They’ll let you know if the problem can wait until you return or if you need to make an appointment with a local orthodontist to get you back on track.
“If you’re travelling within Australia, you can search for an orthodontist in your area by suburb or post code to find an ASO registered orthodontist to help treat you in consultation with your regular practitioner.
“If you’re close to heading home and only have a minor issue such as a single loose bracket, the orthodontist may advise that you can wait until you get home to make an appointment with your regular orthodontist.”
About Norwest Orthodontics
Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.
We also have a suite of treatments available that include discreet, removeable Invisalign braces, and welcome the opportunity to work with you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.