Wearing braces can be a chore, but it’s a necessary treatment to fix teeth and jaw misalignments that could cause cavities and tooth decay. You might be wondering how to prevent tooth decay with braces. The answer is comprehensive and will help you keep your teeth healthy throughout the duration of your braces treatment.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is damage to the surface of a tooth, also known as enamel. Failure to properly and regularly clean your teeth causes a buildup of bacteria and plaque that can result in the formation of cavities, which are small holes in the enamel. This decay can cause infection and tooth loss if not treated as soon as possible
How do braces work?
One of the ways to prevent cavities is by fixing misalignments in your teeth that make them harder to clean. Braces are one of the most common and popular ways to treat problems such as crookedness and overcrowding. The braces are installed by bonding brackets to each tooth. The brackets are anchored by a wire and elastic bands.
There are several types of braces to choose from that provide different advantages in noticeability and comfort. But all braces generally work the same way by gradually shifting teeth into proper alignment over a period of 15 to 18 months.
Can braces cause tooth decay?
Ironically, while braces are useful in preventing tooth decay by straightening out teeth, they also increase the risk of developing cavities and tooth decay. That’s because sugar and food particles can become trapped under the braces, especially under the brackets where the covered part of your tooth is hard to clean. That’s why there are usually dietary restrictions a patient needs to follow such as not eating candy for the duration of treatment.
Can you fix tooth decay with braces?
Should tooth decay or cavities form during your braces treatment, your orthodontist should be able to apply a filling without removing the wire. But if the wire must be removed, your orthodontist can temporarily remove it until after the cavity has been filled.
Can I prevent tooth decay during my braces treatment?
There are many things you can do to prevent tooth decay during your braces treatment as long as you do them consistently.
- Brush your teeth after every meal to remove food and sugar particles from every nook and cranny of your teeth. Be sure to brush as thoroughly as possible around your hardware with a soft toothbrush. It may take more time to brush than it would without braces, but it’s better than needing a cavity filled.
- Use an interdental toothbrush along with your regular toothbrush. Interdental brushes are specifically designed to reach under brackets and wires where a regular toothbrush cannot.
- Waterpik is a pulsating irrigator device that removes food particles from teeth using a stream of water.
- A floss threader is useful for passing floss under or over the wire so you can floss normally and remove food and sugar particles between your teeth.
- Use mouthwash with fluoride to promote stronger tooth enamel and rinse out any food or sugar particles that brushing and flossing may have missed.
- Adhere to dietary restrictions and avoid foods and drinks that increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay at least for the duration of treatment.
- Schedule regular appointments so the orthodontist can check your progress. You can also get a cleaning that will more thoroughly clean both your teeth and your braces.
Do braces permanently weaken teeth?
Generally, braces do not permanently damage the tooth enamel, especially if they are installed by a qualified orthodontist. However, because the brackets cover a small portion of the front of each tooth, that part of the tooth is more difficult to clean. If you practice poor oral hygiene, your tooth enamel will definitely weaken, and damage can result during the process of removing the braces.
And since braces work by shifting teeth, you will likely incur some minor root loss.
Again, cleaning and maintaining your teeth and braces are the best ways to prevent damage to your enamel and roots during your treatment. The benefits far exceed the potential risks.
How can I keep my braces clean?
Keeping your braces clean can be a chore since they are not removable.
- The best way is by using a normal toothbrush and spending time gently scrubbing each and every tooth and every part of your hardware that you can reach.
- Be sure to floss to remove food and sugar particles in hidden nooks and crannies.
- Rinse with mouthwash to strengthen teeth and gums and remove particles that brushing and flossing missed.
- Gargle with salt water to sterilize your braces and lessen any discomfort in your mouth.
- Watch what you eat by avoiding sugary foods and drinks.
- See your orthodontist regularly for more thorough cleanings.
Can I develop tooth decay while wearing removable braces?
Even though removable forms of braces such as Invisalign® allow for easier and more thorough cleanings, you can still develop tooth decay and cavities. Food and sugar particles can get trapped under the aligners, especially if you don’t brush before wearing your aligners after a meal.
Don’t assume that tooth decay and cavities cannot develop just because you can remove your aligners. Practicing proper oral hygiene is still necessary to keep your teeth healthy during treatment, which will last about the same amount of time as traditional braces.
Prevent Tooth Decay With Braces From Webb Orthodontics
Webb Orthodontics offers braces and Invisalign® treatment in Charlotte. Your journey to a better smile can begin immediately with same-day braces and Invisalign® after a free consultation. The cost of both treatments is about the same at $3,000 to $7,000 depending on what kind of treatment you need.
But Webb Orthodontics offers flexible financing plans at zero percent financing. We also offer Zero Down Payment plan options and will do our best to work with your budget to lessen any financial burden. Braces and Invisalign® are also at least partially covered by dental insurance.
Prevent tooth decay with braces by calling our office at 704-364-7343 or by visiting our website today!
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