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Do You Need Dental Care While You Have Braces?

Teen girl with braces at dental check up.

When you have braces, it's a lot of work, and of course, you have a lot of questions. You need to visit your orthodontist regularly to get adjustments and make sure your treatment is on track. That means a lot of visits with someone who is closely monitoring your mouth.

So, do you really still need to see your dentist? Or is your orthodontist now in charge of your total oral health?

Dentists vs. Orthodontists

There's a common misconception that once you get braces, your orthodontist replaces your dentist. However, this is far from reality. Your orthodontist and dentist play unique yet complementary roles in your oral healthcare journey, particularly during your braces treatment.

Orthodontists specialize in diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial irregularities. These may include misaligned teeth and bite. He or she may talk to you about oral hygiene during dental treatment, but they won't be responsible for professional teeth cleaning and treating most other oral health conditions.

On the other hand, your dentist focuses on your overall oral health, which involves regular cleanings and detecting and treating issues like cavities, gum diseases, or oral infections. So, even though you have braces, regular visits to your dentist continue to be crucial for optimal oral health.

Braces and Dental Concerns: Common Issues to Watch Out For

While braces play a pivotal role in giving you that perfect smile, they also introduce some unique challenges for your oral health. 

Plaque Buildup and Cavities

Braces have wires and brackets, which can make cleaning your teeth more complex. The nooks and crannies can become hiding places for food particles, leading to plaque buildup and eventually causing cavities. Regular dental check-ups can help catch these issues early before they escalate into significant problems.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis

The same plaque that leads to cavities can also cause inflammation in your gums. Over time, this may develop into gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. If left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, a more severe gum condition. Regular visits to your dentist are vital in spotting and addressing these gum diseases promptly.

The Importance of Regular Dental Visits 

A general guideline is to visit your dentist for a check-up and cleaning every six months, even while you're wearing braces. However, the frequency may vary based on your individual dental health condition. Your dentist will recommend a personalized schedule for your visits.

What Happens During a Dental Visit with Braces?

A dental visit during your braces treatment typically involves a thorough examination of your oral health and a professional cleaning, just like it would without braces.

Your dentist will carefully check your teeth, gums, and braces for any signs of trouble. This examination helps in the early detection of cavities, gum disease, and any issues with your braces that might need to be addressed.

In addition to the examination, a dental professional will perform a cleaning to remove any plaque or tartar that's built up around your braces. This cleaning helps prevent cavities and gum disease and helps keep your braces working effectively. This is incredibly important during braces treatment because plaque can accumulate around brackets, causing discoloration and potentially contributing to tooth decay.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to get the most out of your braces treatment and emerge with a healthy, beautiful smile. Your dentist plays a crucial role in achieving this by monitoring and maintaining your overall oral health, while your orthodontist focuses on perfecting the alignment of your teeth and jaws.

Keep Up With Dentist Visits

It's essential to recognize that your oral health isn't just about having straight teeth—it's about maintaining a healthy mouth overall. Your dentist and orthodontist work together to ensure that once your braces come off, you're not just revealing straight teeth but unveiling a healthier and more radiant smile.

Make your next dentist appointment today. Your post-braces smile will thank you for it.


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