The holiday season is upon us! Before you know it, we’ll be loading up the dinner table with our Thanksgiving feasts. Then it’s time to start pulling out all the Christmas decorations!

For many of us, the holidays also mean traveling. Whether you are sporting traditional braces or Invisalign for teens, it’s important to care for them during your travels to help ensure treatment isn’t disrupted.

Fortunately, taking care of your braces when you travel doesn’t differ much at all from taking care of them when you’re at home. It just requires a little extra planning ahead.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy holiday travel guide for you!

toy car sitting on map of the united states

Emergency Contact Information

Before you jump in the car, hop on a train, or board the plane, make sure you’ve got our phone number saved. In case of an unexpected orthodontic emergency, calling us can help calm you down. We can walk you through any steps you need to take.

In most cases, you’ll be able to wait until you’re home to follow up with us. But we can also help you over the phone or direct you to a nearby orthodontist in case you do need to be seen while you’re still out of town.

It’s a great idea for you to take a photo of the problem, with flash if possible, before getting in touch with us. This will allow us to assess the issue much more quickly and accurately for you. This ensures your holiday travel plans go as smoothly as possible.

Emergency Care Information

Did you know that many problems that crop up with your braces can be fixed at home with a few readily available tools? If one of the following occurs and you’re not in pain, consider these tips and tricks for dealing with common issues:

  • Protruding wires: If you’ve had a wire come loose and it’s irritating your mouth, try using the eraser end of a pencil to nudge the wire back flat against the teeth. You can also place a piece of wax over the wire to reduce irritation. This will provide some stability.
  • Mouth irritation: If brackets or wires are irritating your cheeks, lips, or gums, an easy fix is to place a piece of orthodontic wax over the area. You’ll want to make sure the bracket or wire is very dry first. Pinch a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball, then flatten it completely. Place this piece over the area of your braces that’s causing the irritation.
  • Loose bracket: Definitely let us know if you encounter a loose bracket! Together we can decide on the best steps to take next. In the meantime, wax can be placed over the loose bracket to provide stability. You can also slide the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth.
  • Lost Invisalign aligners: It’s super important to remember to bring your most recent set of Invisalign aligners with you when you travel. That way, if your current set is lost, you can continue to wear aligners. Call us to be sure, but typically, we’ll recommend you simply proceed to the next aligner.
  • Lost retainer: We go on and on about the importance of wearing your retainers, but a lost retainer actually can be an emergency! If you discover you’ve lost your retainer, give us a call. We’ll be able to let you know if you need to head somewhere local to have impressions made.

Travel kit for braces

You’re sure to have packed all the basics in your bag, like toothpaste, toothbrush, and floss (right?) There are several other items that are great to have with you when you’re embarking on a holiday travel adventure.

  • Interdental toothbrush
  • Wax or Gishy Goo, a silicone-based product that acts like orthodontic wax
  • Ibuprofen, just in case you experience any soreness
  • Pencil, for possible protruding wires

Invisalign Travel Kit

If you’re planning on traveling over the holidays with Invisalign, make sure you notify us at least two weeks in advance. The date you’re expected to receive your new aligners might fall on a date when you’ll be out of town. In that event, we’d want to plan ahead by providing the next set ahead of time.

Already got the aligners you need lined up? Then here’s what else you should have in your travel bag:

  • Invisalign cases: If you make it a habit to always put your Invisalign aligners inside their case, you’ll be much less likely to lose them.
  • Current and most recent aligners: You already know how important it is to wear your current aligners an average of 22 hours a day. But as we mentioned above, make sure you bring your most recent aligners in case you lose the current pair. This will keep all the amazing progress you’ve worked towards on track.
  • Denture tablets: It might sound weird, but for on-the-go holiday travel cleaning, portable denture tablets can be really helpful.

Holiday foods to avoid

We’ve given you lots of tips for how to handle anything that comes up with your braces or Invisalign during your holiday travels. But what about good old-fashioned common sense care?

We know that there will be tables overflowing with all kinds of delicious food for the next couple of months. If you remember to make smart choices, it can go a long way towards preventing problems.

As a general rule, you want to avoid anything hard, chewy, or sticky. That means no candy canes or pecan pie, no nuts or anything with nuts, no large chunks of fruits and vegetables, and no popcorn or caramel apples.

Dillehay Orthodontics in Wichita and Derby

Our team here at Dillehay Orthodontics want you to enjoy a wonderful holiday season without worrying about your braces or Invisalign! Always keep in mind that no matter where you travel, we’re here to support you, and answer any questions or concerns you might have.

Even if you’re a long way from Wichita or Derby, or outside our satellite offices in Arkansas City and Newton, we will guide you through any issues you’re having and help you get the most out of the holidays!