Can I Wear Braces if I Have Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease and braces are not entirely incompatible.

During your time with braces, it’s incredibly important to follow your orthodontist’s guidelines and to go to your checkups every few weeks. In doing so you prevent any possible developing problem from going too long undetected and stopping your treatment’s progress. Remember that the patient is the one responsible for keeping their appliances and mouth in great condition.

What Can Occur if I Fail to Follow Hygiene Recommendations During Orthodontic Treatment?

Although the objective of orthodontic treatment is to move your teeth and jaw into a position that is healthier for you, the appliances it uses only makes maintaining proper oral hygiene much more difficult. For this reason, orthodontists teach patients how to brush their teeth properly and even offer new tools for the job. Failure to follow the guidelines and not brushing as required will lead to bacteria and plaque build-up, which in itself will give way to a series of dental issues.

Bacteria and food particles can stay hidden in the little crevices between the teeth and the braces, once they’re there they will mix, creating acid and eventually transforming into plaque. This plaque is what corrodes the tooth’s enamel and leads to tooth decay. Additionally, if plaque continues to build and hardens it transforms into tartar. The accumulation of bacteria can also result in infections and gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), periodontal disease is the infection and inflammation of gums and bones around a patient’s teeth.  It has a couple of different stages, the first one being gingivitis. Gingivitis is incredibly common and at first has very mild symptoms like red and swollen gums, as well as gum bleeding when it goes some time without treatment. Periodontitis is the more severe case of periodontal disease. In its worst condition, it can make your gums recede away from your teeth, give way to bone loss, and even complete tooth loss.

The CDC states that almost half of adults over 30 suffer from periodontal disease, while the percentage is around 70% for adults over 65 years of age. For you to avoid being part of this statistic it’s best to start taking preventive actions. Fortunately for everyone, preventing gum disease doesn’t require major treatments, just brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily and go for a dental checkup once a year.

Can a Patient Wear Braces When Having a Periodontal Disease?

The short answer is sometimes. As with most things related to human health, it will depend mostly on your specific condition. As periodontal disease can affect your teeth’s surrounding structures to the point of bone loss in severe cases, getting braces that will be constantly pulling and repositioning your teeth could put risk your teeth’s structure in itself. To avoid this, your dental specialist will first put you through a periodontal exam to evaluate the structures in your mouth as well as their general health. With the results in hand, your specialized dentist will decide whether you can begin the braces treatment or if you should follow a treatment to treat your gum disease.

What Are the Oral Hygiene Measures During Orthodontic Treatment?

Under normal circumstances, maintaining proper oral hygiene while wearing braces is already incredibly important. If you simultaneously have a degree of gum infection, then it becomes even more important and has worse possible consequences. Because of this, it’s crucial for you to follow very strictly the guideline that your orthodontist will give to brush properly while wearing limiting appliances.  Here are a few important aspects of cleaning that you shouldn’t forget.

Be Consistent on Your Cleaning Routine

The best thing you can do to keep your smile healthy while wearing braces is to develop a habit of brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once daily. If you learn how to brush properly and do it consistently you will be removing the trapped bacteria in your appliance without giving them a chance to accumulate and deal damage to your tooth or gums.

Have the Proper Tools at Hand

Aside from having a proper cleaning routine, you will need the correct tools to clean every little crevice that appears between your teeth and your braces. The most basic and common tools are fluoride-based toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Fluoride helps in eliminating bacteria and reinforces your teeth with minerals.

On the more specialized side of things, we have interdental brushes. Interdental brushes have a small cone-shaped bristlehead that allows them to get in the space between separated teeth and the space created between the metal wire, teeth, and brackets. Its flexibility also makes it very convenient for cleaning your upper and lower molars. Additionally, floss picks and floss threaders make it much easier to floss with appliances on. Allowing the patient to remove the food particles that get stuck between teeth.

Aren’t Sure if You Can Get Braces?

Here at Onshore Orthodontics, we’ll be happy to identify whether you are eligible for braces at the moment or if you need a previous treatment first. For any questions or scheduling, contact us here.