Traveling with braces can already be a challenge in and of itself. But if you’re going to be traveling for more than a month, you may have more potential problems to deal with. There’s the meticulous oral care that all braces-wearers, and then there are also potential risks of not having immediate access to your orthodontist.
That said, here are some of the most important tips you have to keep in mind when traveling long-term while wearing braces:
Schedule a check-up before you leave
If you don’t have an appointment scheduled within one or two weeks before you leave, schedule a check-up around a week or two before your departure. This is especially important if you are going to be traveling for more than a month, as you won’t have immediate access to your primary orthodontist until you get back. Moreover, you may need to get an adjustment right before you leave, which is another factor to consider since post-adjustment pain can put a hindrance to your travel plans.
Furthermore, going in for an appointment before you leave can help ensure your braces are firmly in place, allowing you to enjoy your vacation without worrying about your braces.
Find a local orthodontist
Being out of town for more than a month means that you need to find a local orthodontist that can address your needs when necessary. It also helps if your primary orthodontist uses digital technology so that they can send digital files to the orthodontist you go to wherever you’re staying. For example, if you have aligners, digital aligner orthodontics technology can help provide immediate care even when you are not with your primary orthodontist, which is especially important during emergencies.
Before you leave, look up an emergency dental clinic and a reputable orthodontist at your destination. Take note of their information and pin their locations on Google Maps. This way, you can easily find a place to receive care as soon as possible, especially if you run into dental emergencies.
Pack everything you need
Ensure that you have everything you need—plus extra. Your dental travel kit should include:
- A regular toothbrush plus a travel-sized toothbrush
- Dental floss
- Orthodontic wax
- Tweezers (for loose wires)
- Extra rubber bands
- Over-the-counter painkillers
- Special toothpicks
Ensure that you have enough supplies to last your entire trip (plus extra just in case you run out unexpectedly), especially if you use brands that may not be readily available at your destination. Keep a smaller travel kit of dental hygiene supplies in your day bag as well so that you can maintain your oral care routine on the go.
Keep your aligners on
If you wear Invisalign aligners, resist the temptation to take them out when posing for pictures or enjoying drinks with friends. Your aligners need to stay on for at least 22 hours a day to ensure that your treatment stays on the right track.
Seek immediate care in case of emergency
Dental emergencies can happen at any time, anywhere. Even if you take all the proper precautions, accidents can still happen—sometimes when you least expect it.
Don’t make the mistake of underestimating a dental emergency, even if it doesn’t seem all that bad. If your mouth is bleeding profusely, your tooth is damaged, or your tooth is completely dislodged from the gum, head straight to the emergency room for treatment. Similarly, if you sustain a serious head injury, go to an emergency dentist after getting treatment for your head. Your teeth may have sustained an injury as well without you knowing it.
Moreover, send a picture of the problem to your regular orthodontist. They will let you know what you need to do until you get back—or if you need to schedule an appointment with a local orthodontist until then.
Time your trip right
Short trips that last less than a week or two are unlikely to affect your orthodontic treatment. If you’re going away for more than three or four weeks, on the other hand, you may need to adjust your orthodontic treatment. For instance, your may need to schedule your trip in between orthodontic adjustments. Any longer than a month, and your orthodontist may need to make a referral to another specialist while you’re gone.
The length of your trip will determine what precautions you need to take while traveling with braces. If your trip is going to extend beyond a couple of weeks, these are the most important tips that you have to keep in mind to ensure that your orthodontic treatment stays on track.