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Back to School Braces Survival Guide

Dr. Ross talking with a patient

Did you know that summer is one of the most popular times of the year to begin orthodontic treatment? If you had braces put on after school got out in May or June, you may find yourself wondering what this upcoming school year has in store!  You might even be feeling a little nervous or anxious about navigating braces at school for the very first time, but the good news is, it will be just another part of your daily routine in no time. Here at David Ross Orthodontics, we know that a new school year comes with new friends, teachers, subjects, and memories. We want to help you make this one of your best years yet by sharing our top tips to achieving orthodontic success in the coming months!

Keep a care kit in your backpack or locker

Braces do require a little bit of TLC, and from time to time, you may have a minor issue crop up during the school day. Food can get stuck in brackets during lunch, a wire might go haywire in homeroom and poke into your cheek – whatever your dilemma, you can ensure you’re prepared by keeping a handful of helpful items close by!

One of the easiest ways to keep up with the things you might need in a pinch is to find a small pouch to keep them in, then let it live in your locker or backpack. Some of the items we see patients frequently include are:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • floss
  • orthodontic wax (cover any areas causing irritation)
  • extra rubber bands (you should be changing them out frequently throughout the day)
  • a small mirror (to check for any trapped food particles!)
  • lip balm
  • a small cup for rinsing
  • an unsharpened pencil (the eraser end can be used to push stray wires back into place)

Take advantage of breaks and lunchtime to indulge in a spot of dental care. We recommend brushing your teeth after lunch, as well as flossing if you have time and space to do so. Braces can cause some minor irritation and temporary soreness from time to time, and if this occurs, you can use a pea-sized amount of orthodontic wax to cover the offending area, providing immediate relief. Having all of these items on hand will end up saving you a lot of time, trouble, and discomfort during your time in braces. We think anything that makes the treatment process easier belongs on the honor roll!

Bring a water bottle

Everybody knows we should be consuming about eight glasses of water a day, even if some of us have trouble sticking to that goal. Staying hydrated is always important, but drinking water is also a great way to flush out any food debris sticking to your teeth to keep your smile sparkling! It’s also great for the occasional dry mouth that can come with newer braces. Bring a full water bottle to school with you in the morning and drink it throughout the day for the best benefits. Try to stick to plain water over sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice, or sports drinks. These can cause staining and increase the risk of cavities developing.

Dr. Ross talking with a patient

Become familiar with your school’s lunch menu

If you prefer to buy lunch at school over bringing your own, it’s important to stick to the same basic rules of braces care, including avoiding anything too hard, sticky, or crunchy. To protect your braces, learn to be a little more discerning when it comes to your lunchtime choices! Check out the menu ahead of time and look for braces-friendly options like pasta, mac and cheese, soups, cooked vegetable, and lean meats. Stick to healthier snacks such as bananas, applesauce, and yogurt that are easy on your orthodontic appliance over questionable items from a vending machine to keep your braces safe and your smile looking good! Put treats like gum, candy, popcorn, hard chips, raw apples, and carrots, etc. on the back burner until your braces come off. This will help prevent any potential mishaps with your braces, like breaking a bracket or wire, which is something you don’t want happening anywhere, let alone school.

Get the right gear for gym class

If you’re active in sports or you have regular gym or P.E. classes, it’s worth investing in an orthodontic mouthguard to protect both your braces and your mouth! These are designed to be worn with braces, and are the easiest way to save your braces from damage and your mouth from injury during physical activities. Orthodontic and non-orthodontic models are widely available at most sporting goods stores, and our practice is able to recommend and order one for you as well, if you prefer. Though we strongly recommend orthodontic mouthguards for our braces-wearing patients, any mouthguard is better than none at all.

Make a little extra time in the mornings (or before bed)

Although these tips are pretty straightforward, they can sometimes feel like just one more thing, particularly when you’re already toting around books, completing assignments, and keeping up with any extracurriculars! Make things easier on yourself by carving out a little extra time before bed or first thing in the morning to prepare for the day ahead. Be honest with yourself, too – if you are a big fan of the snooze button, do yourself a favor and pack your braces care kit or fix a healthy lunch the night before instead of rushing to do it in the morning!

David Ross Orthodontics office

Kick off the new school year with a smile from David Ross Orthodontics

Going back to school with braces may have its own learning curve, but if you use our tips to stay prepared, you’ll be on your way to a straight-A smile! Dr. Ross and the rest of our dedicated team are here to help make the transition from summer into the school year as smooth and stress-free as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about navigating life as a student while in braces, get in touch with us and we’ll do all we can to set your mind at ease. We wish all our teachers and student patients in Hanover and the surrounding areas a happy start to the new school year!

What Are the Benefits of Braces Besides Straight Teeth?

girl smiling with braces

It’s easy to underestimate the power of an attractive smile, but multiple studies have shown it’s the first thing people notice about, and what they’re most likely to remember as well. At David Ross Orthodontics, we love crafting beautifully aligned smiles for patients of all ages. While aesthetics are important, orthodontic treatment like braces has a number of benefits that go beyond the cosmetic. However, braces offer a number of other benefits that go beyond the cosmetic. When your teeth and jaws are aligned, it can not only improve your appearance but boost your overall oral health as well. To learn more about what braces have to offer you besides a straighter smile, take a look below!

Understanding braces

To better understand all the benefits of braces, it helps to have some understanding of how they actually work. Traditional braces are generally made up of metal or ceramic brackets that we attach to your teeth. We will then use wires and tiny rubber bands to tie them together, exerting gentle pressure in specific directions. This is what will eventually move your teeth into the desired positions.

Braces can also help reshape the jawline by dissolving bone that will be replaced with new bone growth to support the teeth in their new positions. In addition to being incredibly effective and cost-efficient, braces can correct a number of dental issues, including:

  • difficulties with chewing or biting
  • misaligned teeth or jaws
  • excessive wear and tear of teeth
  • teeth with excessive spacing
  • overlapping or crowded teeth

When you schedule your free smile exam with Dr. Ross, he’ll start by listening to any orthodontic concerns you have, followed by a thorough look at your teeth and jaws. This assessment will help him determine if orthodontic treatment is needed and if braces could be the right fit for you.

The many benefits of braces

When your teeth and jaws are misaligned, it can affect your appearance, your overall health, and it can even cause increased difficulty with everyday activities like eating and speaking. Your regular oral hygiene routine can also suffer, becoming more difficult to maintain, or seeming to become less effective over the years. Orthodontic treatment can address and correct many of these issues. Although many people focus on how braces can create a straighter smile, some of these lesser-known benefits include:

Improved chewing

It’s not uncommon to have a hard time biting and chewing your food properly if your teeth and jaws are out of alignment. When left untreated over time, this can wear your teeth out and may lead to the muscles of the jaws weakening. In turn, these problems can cause painful chewing, which can exacerbate the issues you’re already having.

Improved digestion

You may not connect your teeth with how well your digestive system works, but chewing your food is the first, and most crucial, step of the digestive process. If you are unable to chew properly due to misaligned teeth, it can have a detrimental effect on your entire digestive system. When teeth have trouble breaking food down properly, food will pass through the digestive system much more slowly. You may also find that chewing is painful due to tooth or jaw pain, limiting what, or how often, you can eat.

Improved speech

There are parts of the body you may never imagine being affected by the teeth and jaws. For example, misaligned teeth can influence the placement of the tip of the tongue, which is essential to properly form certain sounds, such as ‘t’, ‘n’, and ‘d.’ Braces are often able to correct this type of speech issue by aligning the teeth, allowing for the proper placement of the tongue. Once an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Ross identifies a speech issue related to misalignment, he will be able to assess the severity of it and devise the most effective solution based on your particular needs.

Young Girls Smiling

Improved oral health

Brushing and flossing should be a regular part of everyone’s daily hygiene routine. But when you have crooked, crowded, or overlapping teeth, it can be difficult to keep them clean. This can create favorable conditions for a buildup of plaque and bacteria, which can increase your risk for issues such as:

  • tooth decay
  • gum disease
  • cavities
  • gingivitis

Although these kinds of dental ailments are common, they can be prevented. Orthodontic treatment like braces can move the teeth into more optimal positions, making dental hygiene easier and more effective. This reduces your potential for developing unhealthy teeth and gums.

Improved jaw alignment

Misaligned teeth can have a noticeable effect on your jaw muscles and joints. When the jaws are forced to compensate for bad positioning, the joints will adapt in response, but in a position that can cause damage. This is why jaw issues and misaligned teeth so often go hand-in-hand. Some of the symptoms you may experience with improper jaw alignment are:

  • headaches
  • jaw that pop or “creak”
  • pain in the jaw, neck, or shoulders
  • sleep disorders

With customized braces treatment by David Ross Orthodontics, issues such as these can be minimized or eliminated by properly aligning your teeth and jaws. This gives you a smile that looks and feels great!

Helps to prevent bone erosion

When tartar and plaque are allowed to build up between the teeth and along the gum line over time, it can eventually damage or destroy the bone underneath the teeth. This can cause swelling of the gums, slight bleeding, and may even cause loose teeth. If a tooth falls out, the gums can erode.

Similarly, noticeable gaps or spaces between the teeth can create the same kind of bone erosion because the misalignment puts too much pressure on the jawbone. Braces can bring teeth back together, relieving this pressure and any associated symptoms along with it.

office of David Ross

Explore how braces can work for you with David Ross Orthodontics

We’re about more than straight teeth here at David Ross Orthodontics! We’re proud to create beautifully aligned and fully functioning smiles for our patients. Our team works hard to provide clear communication and compassionate care so that your orthodontic experience is rewarding from beginning to end. We are passionate about building relationships that last a lifetime and excited to welcome you to our Hanover office. We utilize the latest technology and techniques to offer a variety of safe and gentle treatments, and our sterilization procedures brings a whole new level of protection to our patients. If you’re looking for a top-quality orthodontic practice in Hanover or the surrounding areas, and want to learn more about how orthodontics can benefit you, get in touch with David Ross Orthodontics today. The smile you deserve is waiting for you!

Invisalign… What Is That?

Orthodontist David Ross HanoverLike braces, Invisalign is an option to improve the look of your smile. It is a series of clear removable aligners that are customized to your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements Dr. Ross plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete. The best part about the whole process is that most people won’t even know you’re straightening your teeth. 

Invisalign won’t interfere with your daily life:

  • Invisalign aligners are clear, discrete and effective at moving your teeth into their ideal positions.
  • You don’t need to change your eating habits, because your aligners can be easily removed.
  • Invisalign aligners are made of comfortable, smooth plastic, so you don’t have to worry about taking care of metal brackets.
  • Invisalign aligners make daily oral hygiene easier, reducing the risk of possible problems.
  • Invisalign treatment is covered by most insurance providers, just like traditional braces.
  • A straight smile makes you look great, but it also can help you keep the rest of your mouth healthy.
  • Correctly aligned teeth can decrease health issues that can be caused by an improper bite, speech or chewing difficulties, jaw problems, and increased wear on the tooth enamel.

If you are thinking about Invisalign, call our office at

717-637-4131 to schedule a FREE exam!