It’s a fact that sometimes, braces or aligners just don’t feel good.

Inflammation is an important part of the process of moving teeth. But sometimes, that inflammation aches, feels itchy, or prevents the patient from chewing properly. The traditional solution is usually to take Advil or Tylenol and eat cold foods. In addition, you can use warm salt rinses two to three times a day to soothe inflammation.  If there is a broken bracket, a sharp edge, or a wire that is causing an irritation, the most important thing is to be able to fix the problem.  Camp health centers can benefit from having “health center packages” to assist when these situations inevitably arise. It would be beneficial to keep the proper tools and additional relief products in the health centers and available to campers at the camp store. 

Managing emergencies from braces or aligners to prevent the negative impact and sequela of further pain and discomfort is crucial.  By delaying removing the source of irritation, like a broken wire extending into the cheek, a broken bracket irritating the inner lip or an aligner that is causing irritations around the tongue and soft tissue, could prevent the camper from practicing proper oral hygiene due to edema, inflammation, and pain.  This will increase the bacterial load around the gingiva and in the fissures of the tongue and develop halitosis and gingivitis that campers may not be aware of.  So, it is imperative that health centers and campers be prepared for addressing these emergencies as they arise.

A healthy oral microbiome is encouraged by using products with ingredients that are anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and able to remineralize teeth and keep that enamel strong throughout treatment. It is recommended that parents be well equipped with sending their children with the best oral relief kits to help maintain a healthy mouth throughout camp.  Having campers set up for success to manage their oral health properly will initiate a positive experience at camp and create great habits to adopt while in their orthodontic treatment.

While campers have a schedule that precludes them from managing the day-to-day issues that come with wearing braces and aligners, it's crucial to have the nurses at health centers to be advocating for their oral health and equipped with the best solutions.  It will be encouraging for the camp ethos, counselors, and parents to know they are preparing and preventing many potential problems and more importantly creating a new standard of care within camp!

When I was in a car accident, at 13 years old, I sustained many injuries. One caring and compassionate orthodontist guided me throughout the treatment process. I remember how important it was to understand what was happening to me and what to expect. In a moment of vulnerability, the most beautiful gift a clinician can ever give someone is helping them when they're struggling. It could be something simple as saying to a patient in discomfort, “I have something for you. Don't worry; you're going to be OK. Everything is set up so that you can succeed.”

This blog is sponsored by OrthoNu.

Dr. Sima Yakoby Epstein holds a Doctorate of Medicine in Dentistry and Clinical Orthodontics from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. She completed her residency at New York Presbyterian and taught Advanced Aesthetic Dentistry at New York University. She has more than 10 years of professional orthodontic experience, including working as a cosmetic dentist in New York City, and a lifetime of patient experience.

Dr. Yakoby Epstein created OrthoNu® with a goal to support the emerging needs of orthodontists and their patients in a rapidly evolving landscape. Her interest in orthodontics and passion for patient well-being was born at an early age. As a young girl, Dr. Yakoby Epstein’s face, teeth, and jaw were broken in a car accident. She went through years of treatment and uses her experience to better inform modern orthodontic care.

Today, Dr. Yakoby Epstein is committed to engaging top orthodontic innovators and scientific developers as she transforms the orthodontic industry.

Periodically, the American Camp Association (ACA) makes timely and relevant information about products and services available to its members so they can make informed decisions for their camps. However, the ACA does not endorse products, services, or companies.