Orthodontic treatment has come a long way since its beginnings. Modern braces are more comfortable and effective than ever. Couple this with the experience, knowledge and training of a professional orthodontist, and you have a comfortable orthodontic experience. However, despite advancements in technology and training, braces wearers still face some added oral health problems.
A form of periodontal disease, gingivitis is a result of the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Left untreated, this buildup eventually irritates the gum tissue and leads to inflammation. Common symptoms of gingivitis include bleeding, redness, swelling and tenderness. Braces make proper dental hygiene more difficult increasing the likelihood of developing the condition.
Gingivitis is treatable, but treatment becomes more difficult the longer it is left untreated. The best strategy to gingivitis is prevention. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day and use a floss threader to floss between your braces daily.
While acidic foods, drinks and poor oral hygiene lead to enamel erosion in everyone, braces wearers are particularly vulnerable. Braces inadvertently act as a trap for food. Naturally occurring bacteria feeds upon this trapped food and produces acid which leaches the tooth of enamel. Once enamel is lost, it is gone for good. Loss of enamel increases the likelihood of developing cavities.
Good oral hygiene and cutting out acidic foods and drinks is the key to preventing enamel erosion. Stay away from candy and soda, and brush and floss your teeth daily.
Aside from the expected tooth sensitivity after an adjustment, braces wearers are also more susceptible to other forms of tooth sensitivity. Wearing braces makes proper oral hygiene more difficult and can lead to sensitive and receding gum lines. Receding gum lines expose the roots of teeth which contain tiny tubules leading to the nerve of the tooth. Hot or cold foods, drinks and even sweets are then able to stimulate the nerve causing pain.
While tooth sensitivity is normally temporary and reversible, the best practice is prevention through good oral hygiene habits. Again, make sure you are brushing and flossing every day.
Braces wearers face added oral health problems that non-braces wearers don’t. In most cases, prevention through good oral hygiene is the best medicine. While gingivitis, enamel erosion and tooth sensitivity are three of the most common problems, they are not the only ones. If you have questions about braces or oral health problems associated with braces, contact experts such as Dunn Orthodontics of Avondale for a consultation or to answer any questions you have.