braces and travel

The Ultimate Summer Travel Guide for Braces and Invisalign Patients

Summer is a time for adventure, relaxation, and exploration. Whether you’re heading to the beach, hiking in the mountains, or jet-setting to a new city, traveling with braces or Invisalign requires a bit of extra planning. This guide will help you prepare for your summer travels so you can enjoy your trip while keeping your orthodontic treatment on track.

Before you set off on your summer adventure, there are a few essential steps to take:

Visit Your Orthodontist: Schedule a check-up with your orthodontist before you leave. This appointment allows your orthodontist to ensure your braces or Invisalign aligners are in good shape and to make any necessary adjustments. Ask for extra rubber bands or wax if you use them, and get advice on what to do in case of an emergency.

Stock Up on Supplies: Make sure you have all the necessary supplies for your braces or Invisalign. This includes:

  • Travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Floss or interdental brushes
  • Orthodontic wax
  • Extra rubber bands (for braces)
  • Invisalign case (for aligners)
  • Pain relief medication (just in case if recently starting treatment)

Pack a Travel Kit: Create a small, portable dental care kit that you can easily carry with you. This should include all the items mentioned above, plus a small mirror to help you check your teeth on the go.

Flying with braces or Invisalign is generally straightforward, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

Security Check: Braces and Invisalign aligners won’t set off metal detectors, so you don’t need to worry about additional screening at the airport. However, if you carry any dental tools, like a small pair of scissors for cutting floss, make sure they comply with TSA regulations.

In-Flight Care: Airplane food isn’t always braces-friendly. Bring your own snacks that are easy to eat and won’t damage your braces or aligners. Consider options like yogurt, smoothies, or soft fruits. Also, make sure to brush your teeth after eating, especially on long flights.

Stay Hydrated: Cabin air can be very dry, which isn’t ideal for your mouth. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your mouth clean.

Road trips offer more flexibility in terms of what you can pack and eat, but there are still some considerations:

Plan Your Meals: Pack braces-friendly snacks like cheese sticks, apple slices (cut into small pieces), and sandwiches with soft bread. Avoid sticky, hard, or chewy foods that can damage your braces.

Frequent Stops: Take regular breaks to stretch your legs and clean your teeth. Use these stops as an opportunity to brush and floss, ensuring you maintain good oral hygiene throughout your journey.

Emergency Kit: Keep an emergency dental kit in your car. This should include all your usual dental care items, plus some dental wax, a small mirror, and a pair of tweezers to handle any loose wires or brackets.

Hotel stays can disrupt your usual routine, but with a little planning, you can keep your orthodontic care on track:

Set Up a Routine: Establish a daily routine for your dental care as soon as you arrive. Choose a designated spot in your hotel room for your dental supplies to make it easier to stick to your routine.

Use Bottled Water if Needed: If you’re traveling to a destination where tap water isn’t safe to drink, use bottled water to brush your teeth and rinse your aligners.

Be Mindful of the Breakfast Buffet: Hotel breakfast buffets often include sugary cereals, hard pastries, and other foods that aren’t braces-friendly. Opt for softer options like scrambled eggs, yogurt, or oatmeal.

Camping, hiking, and beach trips add another layer of complexity to maintaining your braces or Invisalign:

Portable Cleaning Tools: When you’re outdoors, access to clean water and a bathroom may be limited. Pack a water bottle with a nozzle for rinsing your mouth and a compact mirror for checking your teeth. Travel-sized floss picks can be handy for quick cleanups.

Protect Your Aligners: If you’re wearing Invisalign, always keep your aligner case with you. Never wrap your aligners in a napkin or leave them loose, as they can easily be lost or damaged.

Emergency Plan: Know what to do in case of an emergency. If you’re going to a remote area, research nearby orthodontic clinics in advance and have their contact information handy.

One of the best parts of traveling is trying new foods, but it’s important to be mindful of what you eat:

Research Before You Dine: Look at restaurant menus online before you go to see if they have braces-friendly options. Opt for dishes that are soft and easy to chew, like pasta, soups, and steamed vegetables.

Avoid Temptation: Steer clear of foods that are sticky, hard, or crunchy, such as caramel, nuts, and raw vegetables. These can damage your braces or get stuck in your aligners.

Stay Consistent with Invisalign: If you’re using Invisalign, remember to wear your aligners for 20-22 hours a day. Plan your meals and snacks accordingly, and always brush your teeth before putting your aligners back in.

Even with the best planning, emergencies can happen. Here’s how to handle common issues:

Loose Bracket or Wire: If a bracket or wire becomes loose, use orthodontic wax to cover any sharp edges. This will prevent discomfort until you can see an orthodontist.

Lost Aligner: If you lose an aligner, switch to your previous set or your next set if you have it with you. Contact your orthodontist as soon as possible for further instructions.

Pain or Discomfort: Over-the-counter pain relief medication can help manage any discomfort. If pain persists, contact your orthodontist for advice.

While taking care of your braces or Invisalign is important, don’t forget to enjoy your trip. With a little preparation and mindfulness, you can have a fantastic summer vacation without compromising your orthodontic treatment. Embrace the adventure, make wonderful memories, and return home with a healthy smile!

Traveling with braces or Invisalign requires some extra effort, but it’s entirely manageable with the right preparation. By following this guide, you can keep your orthodontic treatment on track while enjoying all the fun and excitement that summer travel has to offer. Safe travels and happy smiles!

To get prepared for a summer of smiles,  schedule a FREE CONSULTATION here or call us at (215) 757-0864.

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