Continuing our previous topic, the purpose of the next few articles is going to be the edification of patients about the risks and possible negative side effects involved in getting orthodontry. To be fair, orthodontry is extremely safe, and complications arise only in extremely rare circumstances. We just want patients to know if the side effect was something unavoidable, or if a case of medical malpractice has been perpetrated.
Increased Risk Of Cavities
While wearing orthodontic appliances the risk of cavities increases manyfold. Orthodontics works on the principle of keeping the periodontal tissues in a constant state of agentless inflammation, and thus allowing the teeth to move around in the soft tissue, and thus correcting the bite and aligning the teeth. This is achieved through the wearing of braces that exert pressure on the surface of the teeth, which moves them in the desired direction. During this time period, the patients will be at an increased risk for developing cavities. This can be because the brackets, wires, or other parts of the orthodontic appliance makes it hard for the patient to be able to brush or clean certain parts of the gums or teeth.
This can cause tooth demineralization, which we have written about earlier, which can in turn cause teeth to cave in, and cavities are formed. The constant state of inflammation may make it easier for bacteria to settle in the periodontal tissue, and this also carries (no pun intended) an increased risk of tooth decay along with it. The appliance itself may damage the teeth if placed on the teeth improperly, and this damage, like scratching of the enamel, or the exertion of too much force to the tooth surface, may also cause cavities to form, as the already broken tooth is easy prey for bacteria already living in the mouth in a normal level.
Prevention and Treatment
It is vitally important that a patient undergoing orthodontic treatment be as vigorous as possible in their at home oral hygiene and tooth care. Read here for more information on the precise mechanisms at play during orthodontic treatment. This means brush at least after every meal and before and after going to bed, but be sure to wait a half an hour after eating before you brush, as the fluoride can make some acidic by products if it comes into contact with certain foods.
Dental floss and mouthwash are also essential, and should be used as frequently as possible. When wearing an orthodontic appliance, make sure you clean the appliance itself as well as the teeth it is adhered to, as the bacteria that may start living on the appliance are in contact with your teeth as well!
During the time that orthodontic appliance is in the patient’s mouth, the patient should seek out an oral hygienist at least every six months, and this will minimize the chances of cavity formation.