Good oral hygiene is always important, but when a patient has fixed braces, it is critical. We’ve helped a lot of people at Dr. Cynthia Wong’s orthodontic office to develop healthier smiles, but there are particular problems that many people struggle with during their treatment. Those are white spot lesions, the first sign of tooth decay, and they tend to occur around orthodontic brackets.
Enamel that has lost minerals looks unnatural. It has a chalky white appearance and commonly results from tooth decay. Although any natural teeth can develop white spots, teeth with orthodontic brackets glued to them are at much greater risk. White spots commonly develop within a month of the braces being placed. If the decay is allowed to continue, they may permanently scar the teeth and the brackets may have to be removed prematurely.
To prevent enamel erosion, patients are commonly treated with fluoride varnishes before orthodontic therapy begins. They have to be vigorous in their oral hygiene afterward, and we’ll be on the lookout for signs of decay during the first month of treatment when patients are getting used to using Christmas tree toothbrushes and floss threaders. Fluorinated toothpaste and mouthwash can provide additional protection. Once orthodontic therapy is complete, it may be possible to cover up scars associated with past infections.