As orthodontics specialists, we can straighten your teeth and transform your smile. Orthodontic treatment is often necessary to straighten your teeth and to prevent decay in hard to reach areas like overcrowded teeth. Straightening treatments should be a priority for you and your loved ones in order to ensure long-term oral health. A beautiful smile can result from having teeth straightened using braces or aligners. Many people are so distracted by their straightening process that they often forget the importance of keeping their teeth clean during the alignment process. Here are some ways that you can care for your teeth during an orthodontics treatment.
No matter what form of dental straightening you choose, whether it is an aligner or traditional braces, there are certain cleaning guidelines to keep in mind. You will not only want to keep your teeth stain-free, but you will also want to prevent decay. Aligners may be easier when it comes to cleaning your teeth, but many people assume their chances of decay are less with aligners which is not true.
Flossing: Flossing with braces can be challenging. Sometimes it can be helpful to use products like a Waterpik, which uses a water stream to rinse between teeth, or other dental picks that are similar to toothpicks. As orthodontics specialists, we can also provide you with tools to try. Traditional flossing, however, is hard to beat, which is why you should also attempt normal flossing methods. With braces, you can stick one end of the floss through the crease between your teeth above the top wire of your braces. After this, grab both ends and gently pull back and forth. Repeat this process with all of your teeth. During this process, do not pull down on your wires as this can bend them out of shape. During your orthodontics treatment, flossing will be easier if you do not eat sticky foods or things that have the potential to get lodged in your teeth, like popcorn kernel shells.
With an aligner, flossing is much easier. You simply remove the aligner whenever you want to floss. While wearing aligners, it can be helpful to floss after each meal before placing the aligner back on your teeth. This will prevent bacteria build-up, gum disease and decay by removing food particles.
Brushing: Brushing your teeth is slightly easier than flossing during orthodontics treatment, but it can still be tricky to get the best clean possible. For traditional braces, there are special brushes you can get that are angled. This way you can reach from above and below to brush hard to reach areas. After using this special brush, also referred to as a proxy brush, you should use a classic toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste to ensure you attain an all-over clean. After you rinse thoroughly, you can use mouthwash for good measure.
With an aligner, you just remove your aligner and brush with a normal toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste after every meal and in the morning and the evening. During this time, it is important also to clean your aligner so that bacteria doesn’t build up, and grime doesn’t stain the clear plastic material. The use of mouthwash is also advised after brushing, but do not use it to clean your aligner.
As meticulous as it can be to care for your teeth during an orthodontics treatment, it is vital to ensure you don’t experience any dental decay or staining that can counter your current correction method. As an orthodontic specialists, we can help you to keep your teeth clean and healthy so that your smile is truly stunning when your treatment is complete.
Dr. Eric Vanek, d.d.s
Eric has been a practicing dental surgeon for over 20 years and is the owner of Vanek Dentistry, a family dental practice in Costa Mesa, CA.
Published May 18, 2015. Updated August 17, 2021