The ultimate orthodontic holiday checklist: what to pack in your Christmas travel sack

The ultimate orthodontic holiday checklist is a big call, isn’t it? But the truth is, we think we’ve got a handle on this one. Having treated thousands of patients – and worked through holiday orthodontic ‘emergencies’ – we’ve learned a thing or two about being prepared.With Christmas approaching (let me count the days!) and travel high on the agenda for many, a little preparation goes a long way. Especially when it comes to managing orthodontic treatment.If you’re like me, holidays are a time to relax, maybe let ourselves go a little. Perhaps eat one too many sweet things we shouldn’t. Yes, I do it too. So it pays to be prepared. That way, you’ll have everything you need to manage any on-the-road orthodontic eventuality and enjoy your time away.#1 Get prepared at your orthodontic visit prior to the holidaysApart from wanting to say we hope Santa visits and wish you all the best of the season, paying a visit to your orthodontist is not only nice; it’s wise too. This is even more important if you’re travelling long distances (think across the country or internationally).We’ve taken our share of calls from afar (one patient even called us from London!) and here’s what I know. It’s much easier to help people before they leave for holidays than when they’re out of the country. Preparation is key. We can give you little tips and tricks to get you through the holiday season without compromising your treatment#2 Add Invisalign care to your ultimate orthodontic holiday checklistInto your Invisalign treatment and travelling? Then let your orthodontist know when you are travelling and how long for so they can give you enough aligners to last the distance. How else can you be sure you’ve got enough clear aligner trays to go the distance?Invisalign technology is designed to make progressive and incremental movements to teeth. Your orthodontist will formulate these before you’ve even started treatment. In a treatment plan of 12 or 18 months, missing one aligner tray mightn’t seem like a big deal, but if you want a smile you love, it definitely is.Just having your trays with you isn’t enough. It’s vital you have them stored safely while you’re travelling. The best option is a travel case, which your orthodontist can supply. Protecting your aligner trays this way will ensure your trays are good to go when it’s time to swap them out.#3 Pack a travel kit for your bracesMy team know I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to being organised, so they won’t be surprised I’ve included this tip on my ultimate holiday orthodontic checklist.In the world of orthodontics, there are few things more frustrating than not being prepared.  A travel kit for your braces is the solution. Allowing you to take care of business as usual while on the road, your braces travel kit should include:

  • Toothbrush
  • Interproximal Brush
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Floss Threaders
  • Dental Wax
  • Pain reliever medicine
  • A small folding mirror
  • Nail clippers (for trimming scratchy wires).

Remember too that toothbrush holders should be cleaned with warm water or mouthwash. Important for sterilisation, cleaning this way will keep any nasty germs at bay.#4 Pack your best oral hygiene habitsThemajority of our patients are really diligent with their oral health while they’re at home. However, when most of us get away, we often do more than relax our mind and bodies. We often become more relaxed about important habits like brushing and flossing, both of which enhance the outcome from orthodontic treatment. At the risk of sounding like a Christmas holiday grinch, we’re adding oral hygiene habits to the ultimate orthodontic holiday checklist. This means keep brushing your teeth, at least every morning and night, or after every meal and snack. It also means floss every day. If you’ve packed a travel kit for your braces, you’ll be all over this one. Whether you’re on tour, relaxing at the beach, or skiing the slopes, there’s no excuse for looking after one of your most important investments.#5 Be prepared for the unexpectedHave you ever noticed surprises happen when you least expect them (that’s why they’re surprises, right?). But what about the surprises that don’t involve some well thought out gift from the big guy with the white beard and red coat? Unexpected orthodontic emergencies fall into this category. So how do you get around them?Refer to your ultimate orthodontic holiday checklist! And be prepared. Whether it’s a loose bracket or broken wire, many potentials can occur while traveling. For most situations, dental wax in your travel kit will solve a world of problems. Pain relief, in the form of paracetamol, is also good to keep on hand. And the old school favourite – salt water mouth rinses (a teaspoon of salt in a warm cup of water)  – will soothe any irritation or ulcers.Final orthodontic holiday travel tipsBraces and other orthodontic treatment should never prevent you from enjoying your holidays. With the right preparation – and a quick scan of the the ultimate orthodontic holiday checklist – you’ll enjoy the best time on your travels, braces and all.Planning a holiday? Why not check in with the team at Menai/Specialty Orthodontics to top up on all your orthodontic travel essentials?Dr Sarah Dan is an orthodontist and advocate for early orthodontic assessment. Her approach to kids orthodontic treatment focuses on improving outcomes for children and parents who are considering orthodontic treatment costs. Through her experience as a clinician and parent, and having adult orthodontic treatment herself, Sarah truly understands orthodontics from the patient’s perspective. She ‘gets’ it and has developed her unique 5-Step Process to help patients navigate the treatment journey to a confident, beautiful smile at any age and stage of life.