Dental Cleaning With Braces - What Everyone in Braces Should Know
By Dr. Dustin Coles – Premier Orthodontics
Table of Contents
If you’re new to the process of getting braces, many questions will come up. Here’s just a few:
- Can I get a dental cleaning with braces?
- Should I get my teeth cleaned before braces?
- Do I need to go to the dentist before my braces get put on?
- Will the orthodontist do it? How should I take care of cavities with braces?
In this article we will discuss, in detail, what you should know about dental cleanings, braces, and cavities before booking a single appointment.
This article is devoted to breaking down what patients should understand regarding their braces and also how to best coordinate their regular dental care.
Do Orthodontists Clean Teeth Before Braces?
Orthodontists generally do not practice general dentistry. This means that they don’t do the typical dental exam, check up, and cleanings that you are used to getting with your family dentist. This also means that the orthodontist does not do full dental cleanings or deep cleanings. These should always be done with your family or pediatric dentist.
This doesn’t mean that cleaning isn’t involved in an orthodontist’s process. Prior to placing brackets on your teeth the orthodontist will do a surface cleaning to remove and surface debris and plaque. This quick cleaning helps to prepare the tooth surface so the braces will bond better to the teeth. Do not consider this cleaning a replacement for your biannual checkup and cleaning with your dentist.
Watch the video below to see how braces are bonded to teeth.
Should I get a teeth cleaning before getting braces?
Prior to starting any orthodontic treatment (including braces) it is recommended that you have seen your family or pediatric dentist for a check up, cleaning, and evaluation. We prefer that patients have been seen by their dentist within six months and that a cleaning is performed before getting braces.
The short answer? Yes, you should get a teeth cleaning before getting braces. Just make sure this cleaning has been performed within six months of getting your braces.
Why do I need a teeth cleaning before getting braces?
While in braces your teeth are at much higher risk of getting cavities and gum disease. The health of your teeth is the highest priority to your orthodontist, so they would like to make sure your teeth are healthy prior to starting braces treatment.
Can I get a teeth cleaning while in braces?
If you are in braces you should continue to see your family dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. Some dentists and hygienists will recommend having your wires removed prior to your cleaning.
In these cases you can coordinate with your orthodontist to have your wires removed before your next dentist appointment and then return to the orthodontist to have your wires replaced.
How often should I get a teeth cleaning while in braces?
Most patients can get a teeth cleaning and check up with their dentist every 6 months. In some patients who are at higher risk of cavities the dentist may recommend that cleanings be done every three months to prevent cavities or gum disease.
Can I get braces if I have cavities?
Before getting braces your teeth should be 100% healthy. This means that any teeth that have cavities should be treated first by your dentist. Any teeth that need fillings or root canals should also be treated before starting your orthodontist treatment.
Also, if you have any active gum disease, such as gingivitis or periodontitis, these conditions should be treated with your dentist before getting orthodontic treatment.
If you get braces with untreated cavities, the cavities will get worse and potentially lead to bigger problems. Remember, the health of your teeth should be your #1 priority throughout this entire process. Straight teeth won’t get you far if they are unhealthy.
Watch the video below to learn how to take care of your teeth while in braces.
What happens if I get a cavity while in braces?
If during the course of your orthodontic treatment you end up getting a cavity, this can be treated by your dentist. Usually the process will go like this:
- Your dentist identifies that you have a cavity during your regular 6 month dental exam and check up.
- The dentist refers you back to your orthodontist to have wires removed and to remove the bracket on the tooth with the cavity (if necessary).
- You return to your dentist to repair the cavity.
- You then return to your orthodontist to have the bracket placed back on the tooth and the wires placed back in.
Our top goal is to prevent cavities the entire time you are in braces, but if it happens, your dentist and orthodontist can coordinate to help make sure you get taken care of quickly and effectively
Can I get braces if I have fillings or crowns?
If you currently have fillings or crowns on your teeth you can still get braces.
The process for bonding braces to fillings or crowns is a little different from bonding to teeth, but your orthodontist will be able to make sure you can get braces even if you have previously had fillings or crowns.
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