Studying abroad gives your teenager an opportunity to broaden their worldview by diving into another culture. While your teen is likely looking forward to this chance to test out their independence, you may be concerned about how to best manage their orthodontic care while they are away. Before your teen packs their final bag, you can use these tips to help them plan to care for their braces until they return home.
Discuss Options for Traveling
If possible, you should discuss your teen's future plans with their orthodontist before they get braces. This is because certain types of orthodontic appliances are easier to travel with than others. For instance, clear plastic aligners can simply be switched out if one breaks, whereas traditional metal braces require your teen to visit the orthodontic office to have a broken wire replaced. In the event that your teen already has metal braces, then you might be able to change their treatment plan if they are eligible for clear plastic aligners and plan to be away for several months.
Schedule a Pre-Trip Appointment
Your teen should also have one final exam shortly before they are expected to leave the country. During this visit, your teen's orthodontic team can check for potential problems that can be corrected before they turn into a major problem. They can also check on your teen's hygiene and show them how to brush and floss their teeth properly if they seem to be struggling with their home care practices.
Pack Extra Hygiene Supplies
Some of your teen's preferred oral hygiene supplies such as interdental picks or a preferred type of floss may not be easy to get in another country. Talk to your teen about how often they use these items at home, and plan to purchase slightly more than you think that they will need so that they don't run out. Then, help your teen set an alarm to remind them when to do things such as change out their clear plastic aligner trays if you normally do the reminding. While you will still be able to communicate with your teen, this is a great opportunity for them to learn to take care of their oral health independently.
Orthodontic care requires a commitment to attend checkups and practice basic home care. While it is harder for teens to keep up these responsibilities while they are traveling, it is possible for them to plan ahead so that they don't experience a disruption in their treatment plan. Now that your teen's future is planned, go ahead and take the necessary steps to help them maintain their orthodontic care while they are away.