Before a patient gets braces, it’s important to understand the process and the possible pitfalls of orthodontics. While a patient wears braces, it’s more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene standards, in order to set themselves up for success.
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
Sure, there have been some amazing advancements in orthodontics and materials used therein. Even so, despite continuous developments of techniques and materials regarding adhesive bonding, the procedure as a whole remains largely the same.
The Three Components of Adhesive Bonding
Orthodontists utilize three components to mount braces, which include:
- Composite material application
Enamel wear (also called abrasion) can occur against both ceramic and metal brackets. The fact that fixed braces need to be attached to the surface of the tooth poses a potentially devastating effect to the tooth’s enamel. Incorporating etchants during the orthodontic bracket bonding process is what truly carries the weight and risk of doing damage to the tooth’s enamel.
Ongoing research regarding optimum techniques and materials used for attaching brackets to the tooth helps both patient and orthodontist. Patient education also facilitates efficacy of the procedure as a whole, achieving and conserving optimal enamel quality each step of the orthodontics process.
Demineralization and the Breakdown of Tooth Enamel
Demineralization is a process that occurs when food, bacteria and environmental toxins converge, which creates a ripely acidic environment in the mouth. This sets the stage for all sorts of vicious tooth damage, particularly to the enamel. Acid breakdown affects minerality and affects tooth enamel, yielding what we call “white scars,” or “white spots.” These scars can stay evident, even after orthodontics removal.
How to Prevent Enamel Breakdown While in Braces
To protect your tooth enamel and to prevent the demineralization process, patients need to brush after each and every meal, no exceptions. Even after snacks. It’s best to contain or limit snacking to minimize damage. Avoid sugary foods and sticky foods, like candy or salt water taffy and caramels, also helps facilitate the orthodontics process. Even fruits with sugar (blueberries, blackberries, etc) should be eaten mindfully, and brushing 20 minutes after consumption is highly recommended. Use soft bristles to brush and do not scrub hard, or in back-and-forth motions. Brush in soft, circular motions.
Before, during, and after any orthodontic treatment, it’s essential to practice good oral hygiene standards, which practices like Pacific Dental Care are happy to educate their patients about. Cultivating these standards and further enforcing them while wearing arch wires, headgear, and brackets will minimize irritation and demineralization during active treatment phases and also during debonding, once orthodontics have achieved desired results.
Stay Involved with Your Orthodontist
It’s best to team up with a skilled orthodontist with a great reputation, preferably a practice that specializes in a patient’s community. Pacific Dental Care markets itself as a dental practice in the Glendale and Los Angeles, CA area, concerned with orthodontics and a number of general and cosmetic dental services to boot.