Oral Hygiene with Braces

How To Take Care of Teeth With Braces

Braces are the most common method for straitening teeth. By placing orthodontic brackets on each tooth and orthodontic bands on the molars, dentists are able to move teeth in all directions with the help of an orthodontic wire. The force required to move a tooth varies on tooth root anatomy, surface area that is surrounded by bone, type of bone present, and presence or absence of bone loss. For example, a tooth with a single short root is much easier to move than a tooth with multiple long roots. There are instances when a tooth will fuse with the surrounding bone, due to trauma, and prevent any movement. Since dental implants lack the periodontal ligament, the ligament that normally suspends the tooth within the bone, and fuse completely with bone, orthodontic movement of implants is not possible. Because of this occurrence, dental implants can be used as anchors and allow for movement of teeth that normally would be difficult to move.

Oral hygiene in a patient with braces can be challenging. Orthodontic brackets, because of the awkward shape will usually collect food and plaque. It is often difficult for patients to keep the area around the brackets clean. Orthodontic wire on the other hand will make flossing difficult. If proper oral hygiene is neglected during orthodontic treatment, staining and decalcification, white spots appearing around the base of the brackets will form. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Daily plaque control program is very important in maintaining good oral health. Brushing around the brackets with an end tufted brush or a soft toothbrush and flossing with superfloss or regular floss with the help of a floss threader can make the whole process easier and more thorough an efficient. An interdental brush or proxybrush can be used to remove hard to reach plaque and food debris found between the wire and the tooth surface. Oral irrigators such as water pick can also aid in plaque and food debris removal. A fluoride containing mouthwash can also be used as an adjunct to regular brushing and flossing to help prevent tooth decay. It is important to mention that the best way to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease is by regular flossing and brushing of teeth and any adjunct method used should be secondary.

There are also certain precautions that should be taken during orthodontic to avoid problems and complications. Eating hard foods should be avoided because the is a risk of bending the arch wire, loosening the orthodontic band and braking off a bracket. Raw vegetables and fruits should be cut up into smaller pieces and chewed with the back teeth. Sticky foods such as chewing gum, toffee and caramel should also be avoided because they can damage the orthodontic wires, loosen orthodontic bands and dislodge brackets. Avoiding processed foods, which contain sugar, can also decrease the chances for developing tooth decay.

Because of higher susceptibility to tooth decay and periodontal disease, regular dental visits for check-ups and cleanings are important.

Orthodontic treatment requires a lot of sacrifice and dedication, however the end result is well worth it. Proper and frequent home and professional care can ensure that the teeth and the supporting structures stay healthy during and after the orthodontic treatment is completed and give you a healthy, life-long beautiful smile.