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tooth sensitivity

If you’ve gotten braces on your teeth, then you know the tooth sensitivity and soreness that can happen right when they’re put on. That soreness can also happen when braces are adjusted. However, there is a bit of a difference between soreness and tooth sensitivity. Sensitivity can suggest receding gums, tooth decay or other oral issues going on. Use this information to see why your tooth sensitivity is happening and how to remedy it!

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity can stem from several different sources. Tooth sensitivity and pain can happen suddenly or it can come on gradually over time. Do you grind or clench your teeth? If you do, this can wear down your tooth enamel and make your gums inflamed.  Do you have difficult flossing your teeth with braces? This is a common source of tooth sensitivity.

One way to combat the challenge of flossing with braces is to use a threadable floss or floss threader. Using the small or the pointed end, insert the floss or floss threader between the teeth, but below the archwire. Gently move it back and forth until it is able to thread the floss between the teeth. Once in place, you can floss the two teeth on either side of where you have inserted the floss, taking care not to apply force or pressure against the archwire. Repeat between all teeth.

A WaterPik or water flosser can also be an essential tool to keep tooth decay away from gums and prevent gum recession–a leading cause of tooth sensitivity.

Why Are Teeth at Increased Risk for Tooth Sensitivity with Braces?

Technology has improved over the years allowing for less and less of an apparatus on the tooth enamel, but, still, there IS an apparatus sitting on your teeth for the duration of your treatment. Unless you are wearing removable Invisalign aligners for your orthodontic treatment, your apparatus will consist of wires and brackets which make it difficult to remove food particles that get stuck under, between and in your brackets and wires. Food left to fester can decay and eat away at your tooth’s vital tooth enamel leading to tooth sensitivity and pain.

How Can You Prevent Tooth Sensitivity During Orthodontic Treatment?

If ever there was a time to skimp on your oral hygiene it is NOT when you have braces. Diligent home care can make a significant difference in your smile results post-orthodontic treatment. Here are three steps to follow to help you find success:

  • Brush after every meal. Because your braces can easily attract and trap food particles, brushing after each meal can help prevent staining and reduce the potential for bacteria buildup. To brush teeth with a regular soft brush, brush down from the top, then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket.
  • Use a proxabrush (interdental brush). After brushing with a toothbrush, use a proxabrush, commonly referred to as a “Christmas tree brush,” to clean between each bracket. Place the proxabrush between two brackets, below the archwire, brushing up and down. After several strokes, repeat this motion by inserting the brush from the opposite side (either down from the top or up from the bottom).
  • Schedule regular cleanings with your dentist.  The best way to get a thorough cleaning is by booking one with your dentist. They have the tools needed to remove stubborn plaque and to reach tricky areas. They can also fortify your teeth enamel with an in-office fluoride treatment.

Schedule a Braces Consultation to Protect Your Tooth Enamel

Your time with braces will come and go in a flash, although you might not believe that in the beginning. The efforts you make from day one with your braces to protect your tooth enamel will show in the results of sparkling, white, strong, healthy teeth. Our friendly staff at Belmar Orthodontics is available to train you in methods and tools for keeping your teeth clean and strong. Make sure to keep your regular cleaning and check-up appointments so we can examine your teeth and make suggestions for improvements. Make an appointment by contacting our office today at 303.225.9016.  We are excited to meet you and help you reach your smile goals!