While undergoing orthodontic treatment, you will inevitably have to go to the orthodontist a few times, so you might be wondering if you still need to visit your regular dentist. Dr. Kanani explains why routine checkups are still important.
If I Have Braces, Do I Still Need My Regular Dentist?
Even if you visit your orthodontics frequently throughout your treatment, you still need to be seen by a general dentist during this time. Believe it or not, it can actually be more important for patients receiving orthodontic treatment to visit their primary dentist regularly.
Food can very easily get. trapped in the brackets and wires of your braces, and it is harder for your toothbrush to reach these areas. 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 General Dentist With Braces
Think of your dentist like your primary care physician. It is their job to help you maintain a clean and healthy mouth as well as identify any developing problems.
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 and gums), professional cleanings, and any fillings you may need for cavities you may develop.
Why Continue Preventive Hygiene & Cleanings
Getting braces is the farthest thing from 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 being able to floss effectively 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 When Wearing 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.
When you use Invisalign, you won't have metal or wires trapping food, but you still need to be diligent about keeping your teeth clean and going to your regular dental checkups. Clear aligners that you wear for nearly an entire day can still trap food and create bacteria if your teeth are not completely clean before putting the aligners back in your mouth. If you do not follow your prescribed oral hygiene regimen, several conditions could arise including:
- Tooth Pain or Sensitivity
- Bad Breath
- 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 You Should See Your Regular Dentist
It is recommended that you go to the dentist for a cleaning at least twice a year. This being said that number may change depending on the health of your teeth and gums.
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 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!