Gum disease or periodontitis causes a body response to bacterial plaque. Its first stage is gingivitis, making gum tissue look red and swollen. It can advance to a fourth-level illness, also known as advanced periodontal disease. The connective tissue around the teeth might be seriously affected, producing tooth and bone mobility.
During orthodontic treatment, teeth in bone and tissue move. When connective tissue is affected by advanced periodontal disease, the chance to lose a tooth increases significantly. In addition, patients with advanced gum disease cannot see the internal damage without a dental exam. Therefore, it is crucial to have a comprehensive gums examination before and during orthodontic treatment. However, this shall not stop you from deciding to use braces.
In this article, we will answer some critical questions: Can I wear braces if I have periodontal disease? Second, how to get rid of gum disease while wearing braces? Third, how to deal with excessive gum swelling with braces? Finally, deal with the importance of oral hygiene. To do so, we first address gum disease and periodontitis.
What Is the Cause of Periodontitis?
Gum disease or periodontitis is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. In most cases, periodontitis starts with plaque, a film formed by bacteria. As plaque forms in teeth, it might stick under the gum line and turn into tartar.
Frequent gum inflammation leads to periodontitis forming pocket-type plaque between the gums and teeth. If not treated on time, these infections might cause a loss in bone and tissue.
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, and having regular dental check-ups can significantly improve your chances of successfully treating periodontitis and reduce your chances of developing it.
With this in mind, the first thought is, “Can I wear braces if I have periodontitis?” The answer is “Yes.” Although braces tend to accumulate debris and plaque, which might be a cause of gingivitis, it is a treatable condition.
Therefore, depending on the severity of the case, if your orthodontist finds something unusual, she might refer you to a periodontist specialist. The specialist will perform an exhaustive evaluation to determine if your bones, gums, and teeth are good enough to start your orthodontics treatment.
Periodontitis is more frequent in adults and rarely affects patients younger than 30 years. Approximately 50% of adults have periodontitis. This antecedent means that before considering orthodontic treatment, a periodontal specialist must first evaluate the overall condition of your gums, teeth, and bones.
How to Get Rid of Gum Disease While Wearing Braces
The best way to get rid of gum disease is to practice good oral habits. However, braces complicate oral hygiene, making gums more prone to infections. Nevertheless, there are some products and specific steps to reduce the possibility of gingivitis and potential periodontitis.
Electric Tooth Brush
Brushing with an electric toothbrush helps access spaces between the arches and the wires. Here we recommend getting an Electric Tooth Brush with a soft head.
Orthodontic Floss Thread
The main advantage of Orthodontic Floss Thread is that it gets between the gums and the wires, clearing space where ordinary floss can’t.
Antibacterial mouth rinse helps control most bacteria that accumulate, causing plaque.
You should get a cleansing check-up at least once a year and twice while using braces.
A Non-restrictive Diet
In addition to eating food that can damage your braces, you might try to reduce at least the ingestion of food that can get trapped on your braces and wires like meat or popcorn. If you eat something that gets trapped, try clearing it by brushing and flossing.
How to Deal With Excessive Gum Swelling With Braces?
As soon as you notice your gums are getting swollen, reddening, and with tiny traces of blood while spitting, you need to modify your oral hygiene habits. While brushing, try to go through every corner between your teeth and braces, and your teeth and the wires sweep any debris that might get stuck. You can use an interproximal brush apart from your ordinary electric toothbrush. Consult a specialist that will help you find an adequate brush for your interdental space. Also, water flossers like Waterpik irrigate hard-to-get areas with a stream of water to help remove plaque. Nonetheless, if symptoms worsen, visit your dentist.
The Importance of Oral Hygiene
We have summarized several steps in detail in this article about actions to improve your oral hygiene habits while wearing braces. These actions require, in most cases, the use of tools like interproximal brushes that need to be carefully recommended by a dentist or a periodontal specialist. Here we include some of the most common utensils to go through your orthodontic alignment treatment without periodontal trouble:
Interproximal brushing helps disrupt plaque that accumulates within the teeth and the braces. Despite having good oral habits that should include flossing, many people do not use it regularly. However, while using braces, flossing and maneuvering an interproximal brush in hard-to-get spaces is necessary to avoid periodontitis.
A flossing toothbrush is an alternative to an electric toothbrush. The flossing toothbrush includes a water irrigator that serves as a flosser while brushing. The mechanism works with pressurized water that removes debris and plaque while performing routine brushing.
Clear Aligner Trays and Cleaning Tools
Clear aligners are a popular and highly recommended alternative for traditional braces. They consist of clear trays that fit your teeth and exert mechanical stress on your teeth as well as braces do. One of the main differences between clear aligners is that they are removable. Therefore, you can easily remove your trays while eating and practicing your customary oral hygiene routine. In addition, like any other device, plaque and saliva might adhere to the trays causing bacteria to accumulate. However, these devices also include cleaning products that, along with everyday hygiene habits, might help prevent periodontitis.
At Perkins Orthodontics, we are excited to meet with you and welcome you into our orthodontic family. If you are interested in meeting with our orthodontist, Dr. Evan Perkins, you can contact us today to schedule an appointment; please feel free to call us today!