While much attention has already been given to the state of teeth during orthodontic treatment, we have not dealt much with what the gums and soft tissues go through during the process of orthodontic treatment. This article is meant to remedy that problem.
About orthodontic treatment
Orthodontic treatment works because gluing metal brackets to your teeth causes the soft tissues like the gingiva and the alveolus to become inflamed. When in a state of inflammation, teeth have an easier time moving around. So we can say that patients who are undergoing orthodontic treatment necessarily have a very taxed periodontium due simply to the nature of the treatment. This means that there will be more bleeding, more swelling, and possibly more recession, even if there is nothing actually wrong with the gums.
The soft tissues
However with orthodontic treatment comes the heightened risk of cavities, and cavities are usually found on teeth that are swamped in bacteria. Teeth in a damaged state usually also affect the gums, and vice versa; many times the gums harbor a bacterial infection that is then transferred to the teeth. The soft tissues can be infected with gingivitis, periodontitis, and if the infection is deep enough, a disease called alveolitis can also occur.
The soft tissues are thus just as much at risk, or even more so than the teeth themselves, as not only are they more susceptible to bacterial infection because of orthodontic treatment and the state of inflammation that this treatment is forcing them to be in, but they also have to deal with the effects of the heightened amounts of bacteria that are present in the mouth due to the orthodontic device itself. This is why such a high number of orthodontic patients also have periodontitis.
The solution is to be even more cautious in your daily at home oral hygiene routine. Get an orthodontic toothbrush, one that goes between the gaps, and make sure you clean your device as well as your teeth and soft tissues thoroughly. Sincer you cannot floss due to the braces, you will need to use an interdental brush or an orthodontic toothbrush to get between teeth, this is extremely important in keeping gums healthy. You also want to use tons and tons of mouthwash, and when you do, you should swivel it around for a minute and a half to kill all the germs, and don’t forget to gargle!