If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, you might think that your appointments with your orthodontist are all you need but our Langley orthodontic team is here to tell you why you shouldn't skimp on routine dental care.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups?
The short answer is, yes. Believe it or not, it's more important for patients receiving orthodontic treatment to visit their dentist regularly.
When you wear braces, food can more easily get caught in places that cannot be reached while brushing your teeth. Because of this, bacteria can build up quickly and lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease that can be caught early and treated by your dentist.
Why You Still Need A Dentist When You Have Braces
Think of your dentist as your primary care physician. It is their responsibility to help you maintain a healthy and clean mouth as well as identify any problems that might be developing.
There’s a good chance that your dentist recommended you seek out orthodontic treatment in the first place, so it’s also their job to refer you to any other specialists that you may need.
Your dentist and hygienist will conduct thorough exams of your mouth (including teeth, jaw, gums), professional cleanings, and any fillings you may need for cavities you may develop.
Why Continue Preventive Hygiene & Cleanings
Getting braces isn’t an excuse to miss your regular dental appointments. Here are reasons to continue with your routine hygiene cleanings:
- Regular hygiene cleanings are even more valuable if you wear braces. Food can easily get trapped in your braces and be tough to remove because your toothbrush can't reach every nook, and flossing can be challenging when brackets and wire are in the way.
- Not flossing can make your teeth more vulnerable to plaque, tartar buildup, and cavities. If deposits linger on tooth surfaces, they become food for harmful acids. These acids attack and erode the enamel.
- Even if you regularly brush and floss using tools your orthodontist recommended, chances are there will still be debris left in or around your appliance. It can be challenging to see them with your braces blocking your view.
- Without regular hygiene cleanings, tartar buildup can make your teeth unsightly once it’s time to remove your braces. While your dentist may be able to fix this, it’s better to prevent it from happening in the first place.
- Developing decay or cavities can also prolong your orthodontic treatments. Your dentist and dental hygienist make sure to provide you with the care you need without affecting your braces. This is why it’s important to continue with your regular dental visits.
The Risk Of Cavities With Braces
With braces, you will have brackets and wires that can trap food around your teeth causing the formation of bacteria that can lead to plaque buildup. These appliances also make at-home oral care a little more challenging to properly brush and floss, so it’s important to follow our recommendations for proper oral hygiene with braces.
If you are wearing Invisalign, you are still not off the hook for going to your regular dentist. Clear aligners that you wear almost all day every day can trap food and create bacteria. If you do not follow your prescribed oral hygiene regimen, several conditions could arise including:
- Bad Breath
- Tooth Pain/Sensitivity
- Tooth Discoloration
While your orthodontist looks at your gums and teeth during treatment visits, it is essential to visit your general dentist on a routine basis for continuing care.
How often should I see my dentist?
Dental cleanings are recommended at least twice a year. How frequently you need to see your dentist can vary depending on how your teeth and gum health looks.
There’s no special preparation involved if you’re getting dental checkups and cleanings with braces. But procedures may take longer as your dental team takes a lot of extra care to avoid damaging your oral appliance.
Some dentists take out wires before cleaning, while some work around them. Let your dentist know that you’re coming in with braces, so they can note it in your chart and save more time for your appointment.
Choose An Orthodontist That Works With Your Dentist
When you are choosing an orthodontist, ask them how they communicate with your current dentist. At Fraser Valley Orthodontics our orthodontists work closely with your dentist to make sure you have the best oral health possible. Please contact our office with any additional questions and we look forward to seeing you soon!