Dental Cleanings with Braces: The Importance & What to Expect
If you or your child have just recently had braces put on, it’s common for a variety of questions to come up. One of the most common questions is if you can/should get dental cleanings done with braces.
The short answer is absolutely yes! Visiting your dentist’s office for routine dental cleanings throughout your orthodontic treatment is an essential piece of the puzzle. Many people assume that since they are frequently visiting their orthodontist during their treatment with braces or Invisalign, visiting your dentist also is not really necessary. But, in fact, it is.
It is important to keep in mind that most orthodontists do not perform the dental hygiene services/treatments that you’ll get at a dentist’s office. When you’re visiting your orthodontist, they are focusing on straightening your teeth, not cleaning them. That is why creating a straight, beautiful smile is a team effort that should also regularly involve your dentist.
In this article, we’ve broken down exactly why having dental cleanings done with braces is so important, plus what to expect when you go in for one and how often it should be done.
The Importance of Having Dental Cleanings Done With Braces
It can be especially hard to properly clean your teeth at home when wearing braces due to the brackets and attachments, no matter if they are traditional braces or Damon System braces. The good thing is, dental hygienists are professionally trained to get into these hard-to-reach areas, thoroughly clean them, and prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay. This leads to two specific reasons why scheduling routine dental cleanings during orthodontic treatment is important:
Preventing Tartar & Plaque Buildup
Destructive tartar and plaque love to hide and accumulate near the brackets on each tooth, as well as under the wires and bands. So, without a disciplined oral hygiene regimen, which includes at-home and dentist care, cavities will eventually form. So, routine dental cleanings will help keep your teeth as clean and healthy as possible and prevent future problems.
Preventing Decalcification on Your Teeth
Seeing the dental hygienist at your dentist’s office during orthodontic treatment will also prevent what is referred to as “decalcification”. Decalcification is the white spots that can appear on the teeth where the braces brackets used to be. This is caused by poor oral hygiene habits during orthodontic treatment and overconsumption of acidic and/or sugary drinks.
Decalcification on teeth is permanent. Drinking plenty of water, keeping up with good oral hygiene at home, and seeing your dentist for thorough teeth cleanings throughout your treatment with braces can prevent this from happening.
What to Expect During a Dental Cleaning with Braces
As far as the actual process of what happens during a dental cleaning with braces, there’s nothing “special” to expect during the appointment. The dental cleaning process will follow the same structure as any other teeth cleaning appointment.
The minor difference is that it may take longer than a cleaning without braces. This is because extra care goes into ensuring that the brackets, wires, etc are not damaged during the cleaning process. So, more than likely, the dental hygienist will need a little extra time to thoroughly clean in and around your braces.
Depending on the specific types of braces you have, they will either use a metal scaler tool or a water-based ultrasonic tool to clean between your braces and teeth and remove bacteria and plaque/tartar buildup. Gentle flossing will also be performed using a threader so that your gums stay food particle-free, clean, and healthy. Finally, in many cases, you will get a fluoride treatment on your teeth.
After the actual teeth cleaning part of your appointment is complete, the dentist will also thoroughly examine your mouth. They’ll be looking for indications of any dental issues like cavities, gum disease, or mouth irritations for your orthodontic appliance. This catches problems early so that they can be addressed quickly and much more easily.
How Often Should Dental Cleanings Be Done During Orthodontic Treatment?
It is important to understand that your risk for tooth decay and gum problems is higher while wearing braces. That is why it is highly suggested to have a thorough dental cleaning done every 3 to 4 months during your active phase of orthodontic treatment.
Some patients may require even more frequent cleanings depending on factors like how good the oral hygiene routine is at home, a hereditary susceptibility for cavities, etc.
You Should Also Have a Dental Cleaning Done Right After Braces Come Off!
By the time active orthodontic treatment is complete, there’s probably going to be a whole lot of excitement for not only your beautifully straight smile but also to be finished with frequent orthodontist and dentist office visits.
But, it’s definitely smart to schedule a dental cleaning as close to getting your braces off as possible to remove any excess/leftover plaque buildup. Plus, now that the orthodontic appliances are off, the dental hygienist will also polish your teeth, helping your new smile look and feel as healthy as possible.
Partner with Your Dentist to Ensure Your Teeth Stay Clean During Orthodontic Treatment
Braces help patients of all ages achieve a straight, beautiful smile that they are proud to show off. But if hygiene is neglected during the orthodontic treatment, the consequences can be extremely detrimental to your oral health.
Routine professional dental cleanings at your dentist’s office are a vital part of good oral hygiene with braces. These visits will ensure your teeth and gums are as clean as possible and prevent any further problems down the road.
Here at Cook & Gutsche Orthodontics, we aim to give you the straight and attractive smile you’ve always wanted while helping to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible! As you can see, this is best accomplished through a combination of excellent orthodontic treatment and routine visits to your dentist for teeth cleanings and checkups. Our team can work collaboratively with your general dentist to make sure your mouth is in excellent condition for a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today!