Hygiene during orthodontic treatment: critical to maintaining oral health!
The goal of oral hygiene is to maintain the health of your teeth, gums, bone, and ligaments that support your teeth. The bacteria in plaque can infect your gums. This in turn causes inflammation to occur, and inflammation can result in gum recession and loss of the bone that forms dental sockets. This is known as periodontal disease. It is important to note that tooth movement in the presence of inflammation can cause more rapid gum and bone recession. In addition, oral bacteria release acid when exposed to simple carbohydrates, and that acid is what causes dental decay or cavities. The acid can also cause decalcifications, which are the chalky-appearing damage to the surface of teeth, usually along the gum line and around the orthodontic brackets. Finally, it’s important to know that poor oral health can affect our general health, in particular raising the risk of heart disease.
A proper program of oral hygiene:
Your oral hygiene program should be designed around your needs. It will include proper home care, including brushing, flossing, and possibly the use of other hygiene aids. It will also include a set schedule for having your teeth professionally cleaned. Depending upon your needs, you may see the hygienist and dentist every six months. You may require the care of a gum specialist, or periodontist, and your professional cleanings can be as frequent as every 2 months. It is common for the hygiene interval to be shortened during orthodontic treatment, in order to reduce the risks associated with inflammation.
That sounds like a lot of dental appointments!
Yes it does, so we make it more convenient for you, and for your hygienist, by coordinating your visits with your regular orthodontic adjustments. We see you first, remove your orthodontic archwires, and then you see your hygienist. Following your hygiene appointment, you return to our office for your adjustment. By coordinating visits as described, you end up with less travel and more optimal professional cleanings! We also recommend that you have your dental or periodontal office get us on the phone when scheduling your next cleaning, assuring that the visits are properly coordinated. We are also happy to take care of that upon your return to our office. Please feel free to give us a call if you’d like to discuss your oral hygiene program. (425) 747-4477