As our country and our community continue to deal with change brought about due to COVID-19, our daily lives have started to look a little different. Between business closures, self-quarentines, and stay-at-home orders, it can be difficult to keep up with everything. If you’re currently undergoing orthodontic treatment, this may leave you wondering how your progress will be affected. Or, if you were just looking to start your journey to a healthier smile, you may be wondering if that’s even possible. If this sounds like you we have great new! We’ve put together your guide to virtual visits and consultations, to help you keep your treatment on track!
Thanks to today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to stay connected, even while practicing social distancing. While our office may be closed, we’re still here to meet all of your orthodontic needs! We’re now offering virtual visits for our current patients and virtual consultations for those who are just getting started. These new virtual services allow us to continue providing excellent care, while following CDC guidelines. For more information about our virtual visits and consultations, keep reading below!
How do virtual visits and consultations work?
With the outbreak of COVID-19, virtual medicine has begun to take off. For many people, this may be their first interaction with telemedicine and they might be unsure of what to expect. The good news is that the process is quick and simple, which makes it very user friendly! First, you’ll visit the COVID-19 update page on our website. Then, you’ll take a few photos of your smile and provide your personal information and send it to our office. That’s it! From there, Dr. McGrogan will review your photos, along with any notes you’ve included about your case, before reaching out to you for next steps.
Tips for taking great photos
For many, the biggest obstacle regarding virtual visits and consultations is taking clear, effective photos. Don’t that keep you from getting the smile you deserve! In our registration process, we’ve included sample photos 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 wearing elastics is part of your orthodontic treatment, be sure to wear them for your photos. This will allow Dr. McGrogan to ensure you’re wearing them properly and provide any feedback, if necessary. If you run out of elastics, just let us know and we’ll be happy to mail you some more!
How you can avoid emergencies
As we continue to face extended closures, it’s important to take every possible precaution to avoid an orthodontic emergency. If you’re a current Shine Orthodontics patient, it’s important to continue to follow every recommendation put in place by Dr. McGrogan to take care of your smile and 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 your treatment progressing from home. While the rest of your daily routines may be shaken up a bit, it’s more important than ever to maintain all of your best oral hygiene habits and keep your appliances clean. Here are some guidelines to follow during social distancing, based on your treatment!
- Wear aligners as directed by Dr. McGrogan.
- If you’re at the end of a series and don’t have the next aligner, continue to wear the previous aligner for 15-18 hours a day until your next office visit.
- If you lose or break an aligner, continue to use the previous one in the series.
- Continue to use any other equipment (such as elastics) as instructed by Dr. McGrogan.
- 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. McGrogan. If you run out, let us know, and we’ll be happy to mail you more!
- If you have any wires poking out, simply 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 gently slide the bracket back to the middle of your tooth.
- Avoid 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. McGrogan.
- Schedule a virtual appointment to talk to us about your next steps.
- If you’ve lost or broken a retainer, contact the team at Shine 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 part of the Shine Orthodontics family or are just taking the first steps on your path to a straighter, healthier smile, we’re here to help find the treatment that meets your needs! Virtual visits and consultations give us everything we need to stay connected while doing our part to flatten the curve!