Important Dental and Orthodontic Guidelines During the COVID-19 Pandemic

If you are an orthodontic patient, you MUST read the information below

Our office staff hopes this finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy during these uncertain times.

Sparkles Dentistry for Children will remain closed through the month of April – or until the government lifts mandatory closure for dental practices.
We understand the hardships and difficulties caused by widespread office and school closures, along with a huge number of drastic changes elsewhere in our lives. As health care professionals, dentists are playing a crucial role in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve.
However, it is essential to stress the importance of oral care for overall health, especially in a time of pandemic. Children are home and schedules are difficult to keep. Please see the information below on both dental and orthodontic care and realize the urgent need for proper home care.

Home Care – Dental Guidelines

1. Since dental offices are mandated to be closed, it is important that children and parents understand possible consequences of trauma to the mouth. Use a mouth guard whenever possible.
2. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a fluoridated toothpaste – every day.
3. Floss once a day.
4. Eat a balanced diet.
5. Exercise – even quick walks around your neighborhood or home have great benefits.
6. Wash your hands often, especially before eating or brushing your teeth. You should wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.

Home Care – Orthodontic Guidelines

All orthodontic patients please review the following guidelines:
1. Expanders
  • With this particular appliance, it is crucial that everything is kept very clean.
  • The ring braces, and also the metal bar that sits on the inner side of the teeth, should be brushed at least twice a day (ideally after every meal – please rinse vigorously with water if brushing cannot be completed after a meal). This will help prevent the gums from growing over the metal bar. Please see the braces section of this message for more tips on cleaning.
  • If you/your child has an expander on the top teeth, please be aware that our instructions on turning have a time limit (for example, we may have requested 1 turn/day for 1 week). Please discontinue turning the expander on the day you were instructed to do so.
  • If you are not sure, please call us at 973-744-3127, and we will be happy to provide you with your specific instructions. Please make sure the expander is kept clean with rinsing and brushing. Please see the braces section of this message for tips on cleaning.
2. Headgear
  • Please proceed as normal with your instructed routine. Please be extra mindful of hand hygiene before and after insertion and removal. Be sure to clean on and around the ring braces. Please refer to the braces section of the message for tips on cleaning.
3. Braces (or anything glued in the mouth, including expanders and ring braces for headgear)
  • One of the most important things you/your child should work on is excellent hygiene. This means rinsing and brushing well after every meal. Vigorous rinses with water should be done if brushing cannot be completed after a meal. If food is not removed from the tooth or brace, it will cause gingivitis (the gums will swell, bleed and produce pain).
  • If you/your child notices signs of gingivitis, it is very important to “brush through it”. The gums may hurt and bleed more during brushing. If you are experiencing this – keep brushing! Do not shy away if you see blood or if it hurts. This is an indication that more/better brushing is needed. A few days of better brushing will eventually reduce the bleeding, swelling and pain.
  • Remember, you want to keep everything clean. This means every surface of the tooth, the gum line, and also any metal you may see. For braces, this means the tooth structure above, below, and in-between the braces, as well as the braces them self (don’t forget the back surfaces of the teeth also!).
  • In addition to gingivitis, cavities and white spot lesions /decalcifications (permanent white stains that are the start of cavities) can occur if proper hygiene is not maintained.
 4. Tools that aid in excellent oral hygiene:
  • Proxy brushes (they look like mini pipe cleaners and can be used to clean under the wire or in small crevices that a tooth brush may have difficulty accessing). These can be purchased at most supermarkets, pharmacies or online.
  • Floss threaders or power floss – aids to help floss underneath the wire. These can also be purchased at most supermarkets, pharmacies or online.
  • Water flossers – great tools to help remove food stuck between the teeth and around the braces. I recommend using the water flosser prior to brushing to make the brushing more productive. Water flossers can be purchased on online.
  • Antibacterial mouth wash
5. Important guidance if you/your child is using rubber bands
  • If you are using rubber bands, please switch to half time wear (~12 hours a day). An easy way to get in 12 hours is to place the rubber bands after dinner, and then sleep with them in overnight. If you need extra rubber bands, feel free to contact us (973-744-3127).
  • An additional note with rubber bands – be extra mindful with used rubber bands to help prevent the spread of germs. Please wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after every time you remove or replace the rubber bands.

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