Maintaining excellent oral hygiene while wearing braces is extremely important to prevent decalcification (aka “tooth scars”), cavities, and gum disease. This damage to the teeth becomes more apparent when the braces come off, in areas around where the brackets were located. Braces themselves do not cause decalcification scars. They actually occur because of poor cleaning. If plaque is allowed to accumulate on the teeth, the acid that is formed leeches the calcium out of the enamel, hence the term “decalcification.” Without calcium, enamel becomes soft, and the teeth are prone to cavities.
Once decalcification appears, it is a scar that cannot be reversed. A dentist can restore the teeth, but this can be costly and will never reverse the damage caused by poor oral hygiene.
The good news is that decalcification is preventable! Good brushing and flossing habits, in addition to Fluoride use, can significantly reduce the scarring. Fluoride can help to add minerals back to teeth, but cannot completely reverse the process of decalcification. We will give you the tools and instructions you need to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy while in orthodontic treatment.
DECALCIFICATION OF TOOTH ENAMEL FROM POOR ORAL HYGIENE DURING BRACES
Care Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.
Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.
Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.
Schedule your appointment with Dr. Amy Schulte today.