On Vacation With Braces: 5 Things You Need to Know

School’s out for summer! We know that you are excited for a little R&R and maybe you’re planning a fun family getaway. Before you go, now is a good time to remind you to be prepared for those pesky little things that can go wrong with braces so that your trip is not derailed by an unexpected or unnecessary out-of-town visit to the orthodontist.  

There’s nothing like a pokey wire or broken bracket to ruin a good time. Be ready for these and other summer emergencies with the following five tips that can bring relief and hold you over until you return home.

1. Don’t Panic

Many problems with braces, while uncomfortable, are not truly emergencies that necessitate finding an orthodontist while traveling out of town. Some situations are easily relieved by Dr. Mom until you can get back home and into your orthodontist’s office. If your child is in a lot of pain, give us a call and we can help you decide if you need to find a doctor where you are or if you can manage the discomfort and wait until you return home.

2. Pack Wax

The most common orthodontic emergency in the summer is a wire poking. The discomfort comes from the wire poking the gum tissue around the back band or the cheek. If this happens, get the end of the wire as dry as possible and place wax over the area until Dr. Piper can fix it. Another use for wax is loose or wiggly brackets. Get the wiggly bracket as dry as possible and cover with wax until Dr. Piper can replace the bracket. You can pick up wax at Dr. Piper’s office. Wax comes in a variety of flavors or flavorless if that is a better choice for your child. Ask for a sample at your next appointment!

3. Watch What You Eat

You may want to postpone the saltwater taffy factory until next summer. Many braces emergencies result from eating the wrong kinds of foods. If you’re planning a road trip, keep in mind that food options may be limited until you reach your destination. Be sure to pack snacks that will not pose a threat to the hardware. Hard, crunchy or sticky food is typically the culprit to a braces malfunction

4. Hands Off!

We get it, it’s very hard to not fiddle with braces but it is so very important to keep hands off and out of the mouth except for care and upkeep. Encourage your child to avoid the absent-minded fiddling with a reward or some kind of motivator. Keeping hands out of the mouth is wise for other reasons, like preventing unwanted viruses from ruining an otherwise pleasant vacation.

5. Keep Up With Retainers

Lost retainers – you know this is a big issue. You see other parents dumpster diving and think that will never happen to you, until it does. It’s tempting to leave retainers at home for the duration of camp or vacation, but teeth can move in as little as a week — that’s a risk you don’t want to take. Choose a case in an eye-catching color and keep it in the same place every time. Remind your child and family members, counselors or any other caretakers to be on retainer alert at all times. This may also be a good time for an incentive, a small prize for not losing a retainer is much more affordable than replacing a lost one.

Braces and retainers shouldn’t get in the way of your summer fun. Like summer, this is just a season.

Follow these tips and be ready to respond if an emergency does arise and next summer these minor discomforts will be a distant memory as your child enjoys seeing a beautiful new smile in those cherished family vacation photos.