With the constant changes we’re faced with on a near-daily basis, it can be hard to keep up. Between business closures, self-quarantines, and stay-at-home orders, there’s no denying our daily life is looking a little different these days! If you’re currently undergoing orthodontic treatment you may be wondering how all of these changes will affect your progress. Or perhaps you were just getting started on your path to a healthier smile and now you’re not sure if that’s even an option. Wherever you are in treatment, here is your guide to virtual visits and consultations!
Thanks to today’s technology, we now have everything we need to stay connected, even amidst social distancing recommendations. Although our office is closed, we’re still here to take care of all of your orthodontic needs! We’re now offering virtual visits and consultations so that we can better serve you. This allows us to keep track of your smile progress while continuing to practice social distancing. For more information about our new virtual services, keep reading below!
How do virtual visits work?
Virtual visits are a relatively new resource in the field of orthodontics. For many people, this is their first interaction with virtual medicine, and they might be unsure of what to expect. Thankfully, the process is quick and simple, making it user-friendly! Your first step is to visit our virtual consultations page. Next, you’ll simply take some photos of your smile from a few different angles, provide your personal information, and send it in to our office. That’s it! From there, Dr. Parikh will review your photos and any notes you’ve included before contacting you with the next steps.
Tips for taking great photos
The biggest obstacle most of our patients face regarding virtual visits is taking clear, effective photos. Don’t let that stand in the way of your smile! We’ve included example photos in our registration form, as well as a short video tutorial to help you get the best photos possible.
Here are a few more tips to help you get the perfect photos:
- Have someone take the photos for you, or use the self-timer on your camera
- Be sure flash is turned on
- Be careful to ONLY photograph your teeth and mouth area
- Try your best to relax your face and avoid tensing up your cheek muscles
- Keep your teeth together and bite down hard, so the pictures are accurate. This is very important!
If you’re wearing elastics as a part of your orthodontic treatment, you should wear them for your photos. This will allow Dr. Parikh to check that you’re wearing them correctly and provide any necessary feedback. If you’re out of elastics, let us know and we’re happy to send you some more by mail!
How you can avoid emergencies
While we’re facing extended closures, it’s important that you take every precaution possible to prevent any orthodontic emergencies. If you’re a current patient, it’s important to continue following all of our recommendations and taking good care of your smile and any appliances. This requires:
- Avoiding all foods that are sticky or crunchy that may cause damage to your braces
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each time
- Flossing every night before bed
- Wearing a mouthguard if participating in any at-home sports
- Informing us of any broken or damaged equipment
- Keeping all Invisalign aligners clean and safely stored when you’re not wearing them
Taking Care of Your Teeth and Appliances
There are a few things you can do to keep up with your treatment while practicing social distancing. Although the rest of your daily routines may have changed, it’s critical to maintain all of your regular oral hygiene habits and keep taking care of your appliances. Here are some guidelines to follow, for whatever treatment you’re in!
- Wear aligners as directed by Dr. Parikh.
- If you don’t have the next aligner in the series available, continue to wear the previous aligner for 15-18 hours a day until your next office visit.
- If you lose or break an aligner, use the previous one in the series.
- Continue to use any other equipment (such as elastics) as instructed by Dr. Parikh.
- If you run out of aligners, don’t stop wearing them! Head over to our virtual visits page and schedule an appointment so we can determine your next steps.
- Continue to wear elastics as directed by Dr. Parikh. If you run out, let us know, and we’ll be happy to mail you more!
- If you have any wires poking out, you can apply a small ball of orthodontic wax to help relieve any discomfort until you can make it into the office. You may also trim the wire with a pair of nail clippers or small scissors if you feel comfortable doing so.
- If you have a loose bracket, let us know, and we’ll fix it at your next in-office appointment. Until then, you can try to gently slide the bracket back to the middle of your tooth.
- Avoid any and all foods that can damage your braces. This means sticky and crunchy foods, as well as anything else that would be considered too hard for braces to handle. This will help prevent any emergencies, and keep us all safe at home!
- And of course, keep your braces clean and free of food debris or plaque!
- Continue to do turns, as instructed by Dr. Parikh.
- Schedule a virtual appointment to talk to us about your next steps.
- If you’ve lost or broken a retainer, contact the team at Hidden Smiles Orthodontics and we’ll talk about your next steps.
- If your bonded retainer has come loose, continue to wear your removable retainer full time until we are able to see you and either remove the broken portion or repair the area.
Whether you’re already a member of the Hidden Smiles Orthodontics family or are just getting started on the journey to your dream smile, we’re here to help find the best treatment for you! Virtual visits and consultations give us just what we need to stay connected, even while staying home to flatten the curve!