Dental Visits During Orthodontic Treatment
In addition to periodic orthodontic checkups during orthodontic treatment, it is essential that patients see their regular dentists. While the orthodontist takes care of any problems that arise with braces, the regular dentist has primary responsibility for dental hygiene and oral health.
Regular dental visits, usually every 6 or 12 months, are recommended for everyone, and are even more important for people wearing braces or other dental appliances. Although home care, including careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal, is always necessary, cleanings by a dental hygienist are much more thorough, and much better at removing tartar and plaque from teeth and braces.
Tartar and plaque can build up, resulting in inflammation and gum disease. Because orthodontic hardware has many complicated surface areas, it provides more hiding places for bacterial buildup, so professional cleaning is especially necessary. Water flossing is also very helpful in removing small food particles.
In addition to a thorough cleaning, depending on the frequency of dental checkups, the visit may involve one or more of the following:
- Thorough dental examination
- Dental X-rays
- Fluoride application
- Sealant application
Regular dental examinations for orthodontic patients are also required because dentists are trained to check the mouth for suspicious lesions, and may provide the first line of defense against oral malignancies. All patients are asked general health questions before the examination, because the medications they take and the surgeries they have had, or the presence of certain diseases or other conditions, can alter the nature of treatment. For example, some patients may not have X-rays taken; other patients may have to premedicate with antibiotics before dental cleaning.
- Medline Plus
- National Institutes of Health
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine