Crooked teeth are often thought of as a cosmetic flaw, but they can also impact the health and function of the smile. When the alignment of the teeth and jaw is off, oral functions may be more difficult or uncomfortable, it can be harder to clean the teeth properly, and excessive force may be placed on certain teeth. All of these issues can be addressed through orthodontic treatment in the form of braces. However, once braces are in place, it is important to know what kind of general dentistry care will help to maintain a patient’s overall oral health. Many parents that have teens that wear braces are unsure of what dental care is needed to ensure that braces treatment is a success, and that other dental complications do not develop. Dr. Bruce J. Wilderman is happy to discuss the basics of dental care and braces with his Philadelphia, PA patients so that they can feel confident knowing that their teens will benefit from teeth that are straight, strong, and healthy after braces treatment is complete.
Professional Dental Care for Braces Patients
For teens that wear braces, it is vital to the success of treatment, and to the health of the teeth, that professional dental care is provided throughout braces treatment. Teens with braces will need to undergo routine orthodontic care, as well as routine general dentistry care.
- Orthodontic care: Orthodontic care is, of course, extremely important throughout the span of braces treatment. Once braces are on the teeth, the teeth will begin to gradually shift in location and position. As this movement takes place, minor adjustments will be made to the wires, springs, or rubber bands on the braces. These adjustments will ensure that steady pressure remains on the teeth so that treatment will be completed in a timely manner, and results will be a success. In order to check on the progress of treatment and make adjustments, regular orthodontic treatments will be necessary. These are often scheduled once a month.
- General dentistry: Once braces treatment is complete, the teeth will be straighter and they will be spaced more evenly, both of which should make at home oral care easier. However, while braces are on the teeth, it can be difficult to brush or floss properly. This is why general dental care, such as routine exams and cleanings, are especially beneficial to teens with braces. These appointments will help to preserve a patient’s oral health by preventing the buildup of bacteria, plaque, and tartar between the teeth and at the gum line. Patients should schedule professional dental cleanings once every six months.
At-home Oral Care for Braces Patients
It is difficult to properly clean teeth with braces at home, but every effort should be made to ensure that food does not get trapped between the braces or teeth. Teens with braces should brush after every meal using a soft bristled toothbrush. Flossing is also important and should be done once a day. Floss threaders may be used to help patients guide floss between braces brackets and wires, but a water pick is even easier to use and can be beneficial in helping patients to irrigate the teeth and braces. As an added precaution, teens with braces should avoid foods such as gum, hard candy, popcorn, and anything else that can become easily trapped by the braces.
Teens that wear braces should put special effort into their dental care in order to ensure that their oral health is not compromised during the span of braces treatment. If you have questions about how your teen can best care for his or her teeth and braces, contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more. Dr. Bruce J. Wilderman will be happy to answer any questions you may have.