traveling with braces

Traveling with Braces or Invisalign

The worst situation has occurred: You’re on vacation and, pop, one of your wires has come loose from your braces. What do you do? Panic sets in and you struggle to figure out your next steps. Do you cut your vacation short and run back to your orthodontist for emergency help?

Relax. Let’s start at the beginning before you even leave your house. Get prepared beforehand and know your best practices while traveling with braces or Invisalign. This way, if disaster strikes, you’ll know exactly what to do.

Packing Checklist

First things first, your packing checklist. It’s important to be organized, and ensuring you’ve got all of your oral hygiene items at the ready should be at the top of your list. Pack items that will help you keep your teeth healthy and clean, including:

  • Travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste for quick trips to the restroom to brush after meals
  • Floss
  • Orthodontic wax
  • Pain reliever (just in case)
  • Water bottle to rinse your mouth out after meals, if necessary

If you’re an Invisalign patient, it’s advised to bring your previous, current and next set of aligners with you in case you need to adjust while you’re on vacation. It’s also a good idea to take a spare set with you, in case your luggage is delayed or in the unfortunate circumstance that you leave your aligners somewhere by accident.

Foods to Avoid

Emergencies happen, but you can do your best to steer clear of foods that can damage your braces or Invisalign trays to help prevent unwanted stressful situations on the road. Foods to avoid include:

  • Hard bread
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Pretzels
  • Chewy food
  • Tough meats
  • Hard candy
  • Gum
  • Hot liquids (for Invisalign patients especially)

Not eating these problem foods can reduce your chances of having any issues while you’re away.

Next Steps

You may have done your best, but still ran into a snag during your time away from home. Here are some common issues that can occur and how to fix them.

Wire Becoming Dislodged

If your braces wire becomes dislodged from its position and it’s not bothering you, be sure to see your orthodontist as soon as you get back. If it is bothering you, don’t try to reposition it yourself. Instead, call your orthodontist and they will advise you on your next steps.

Bracket Comes Loose or Breaks

If one of your brackets or wires comes off completely, this can be a problem. Call your orthodontist and explain what happened and how it is affecting you. They will then decide if finding a local orthodontist to help is necessary.

Losing an Invisalign Tray

It’s advised to bring a spare tray with you, just in case. If you didn’t and you lost your tray, call your orthodontist, and don’t advance to your next set of trays too early. It’s recommended that when removing your trays, don’t just set them on a napkin. Place them in their container and in a safe place, like a specialized travel organizer, so you don’t lose them.

Having a Relaxing Vacation

Most importantly, have fun on your vacation! Don’t let a minor issue get you down. Instead, keep these best practices in mind and know what to do if a problem does arise. Your orthodontist is there for you, no matter where you are in the world, so keep that in mind and enjoy yourself!