Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, Invisalign or SmileDirectClub aligners, can be a great way to improve the appearance of your teeth and smile. However, it is important to take the necessary steps to prevent gum disease during the treatment process. To better protect your gums during treatment, gently brush your teeth, including your gumline, with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day. Every day, remove trapped food particles in the shape of wedges by using floss threaders to weave the floss under the wire arches and between the teeth.
Additionally, drinking water with meals can help remove food particles, using an antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce bacteria in the mouth, and using a Waterpik can help clean your teeth with dental floss. If you are wearing braces, it is essential to take extra care of your gums. Redness, swelling, or bleeding when brushing your teeth are all signs of infection and of the body's inflammatory response to it. Gum disease can make orthodontic treatment ineffective, and in some cases, when the supporting structures of the teeth are compromised, orthodontic appliances can cause more harm than good.
That's why one of the most important things you should do before you put on braces is to have a thorough exam by a periodontist to make sure your gums are healthy. Gargling with warm salt water can also help reduce any irritation caused by braces. Eating a healthy diet and avoiding sugary snacks can also help reduce plaque buildup. If your symptoms worsen, you may need to have your braces removed until your condition can be controlled. If the gum recession is more sudden or extensive, you should schedule an appointment to see your dentist. A short period of wearing braces or Invisalign makes patients more susceptible to gingivitis, but the result of the treatment, by aligning the teeth, reduces the likelihood of contracting periodontal disease in the future.
Dental plaque is a thin film of bacteria and food particles that, if allowed to build up on tooth surfaces, could cause tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. For more information and details on how to prevent gum disease when wearing braces in Los Angeles, California, contact Dr. Stosich, DMD, MS - a specialized orthodontist for children and adults with experience in subspecialties in robot-assisted orthodontics. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Gum swelling during orthodontics”.