Outsmart your ortho: the one thing you need to know

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  • Outsmart your ortho: the one thing you need to know

  • 60.9% of patients with braces experience white spot lesions. White spot lesions are those unsightly spots that will make you less impressed with your newly aligned smile. Lesions are areas of demineralized enamel and are more often than not, irreversible.

  • v:\carifree\shutterstock photos\dentistry\white spot lesions from kim\imgp6504.jpg

  • 2 more things you should probably know

  1. Orthodontic appliances increase the risk of the bacterial infection that causes cavities.

  2. Preventing the bacterial infection is a must if you want an excellent results from your orthodontic work.

Why braces and Invisalign put you at risk

Braces or orthodontic appliances are a great way to straighten teeth, but can put you at risk for decay.   Braces create many areas that harbor bacteria as teeth are much harder to adequately clean. The acids produced by these bacteria cannot only cause decay, and unsightly "white spot lesions" or areas of demineralized enamel surrounding the brackets.  This means that while your teeth many be straight when you finish, they may be irreparably discolored when the brackets are removed.

5 things to do, now that you know

  1. Find a dentist and/or orthodontist who can identify your risk for the infection that causes cavities prior to seeking orthodontic treatment.

  2. Discuss your risk for caries with your dentist and/or orthodontist.

  3. Use an electric toothbrush like Sonicare, Ultreo, or Braun while in braces to aid in cleaning.

  4. Use a floss threader or SuperFloss to adequately remove bacteria between teeth and around brackets.

  5. Use alkaline pH, fluoride, and xylitol products to decrease the damage that may be caused by bacteria while in braces.

For more information on caring for your teeth while in braces see recommendations by the American Association of Orthodontics.

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