Maintaining Good Oral Health During Orthodontic Treatment

Braces don’t maintain themselves—there are a lot of steps to proper orthodontic treatment, and possibly the most important part is how you take care of yourself throughout the process.

Windy City Orthodontics proudly serves Lakeview and Lincoln Park; we want everyone here to be well-informed with the knowledge you need to look after your appliance and your health. Our team will tell you exactly how to maintain good oral health with orthodontic treatment—and what to avoid doing!

The Big Three

First and foremost, let’s go over the three treatment options you’ll work with Dr. Pakravan to select!

  • Our offices happily offer Spark clear aligners, which are usually best for teens and adults. They’re a popular removable option for correcting your teeth’s alignment and are ideal for less severe issues.
  • Clear braces (aka ceramic braces) are as effective as metal braces, only they’re a lot less obvious! The brackets match the color of your teeth and cost a little more than the metal option.
  • Metal braces are usually what we opt for with our youngest patients, but they are equally reliable for all ages.
  • Retainers are the final step of most straightening treatments, used to maintain your teeth over time.

The Best of Braces

There’s a lot of good advice to help you out in this process! Here are some easy ways you can practice oral hygiene while undergoing any of our treatments.

  • Attend All Appointments: All appointments, not some! Once you’ve gotten your appliance, you can expect to visit Dr. Pakravan for check-ups to monitor your progress and make any adjustments to traditional braces.
  • Protect Your Appliance: If you play sports or grind your teeth, your braces can be extra vulnerable to breaking. Wearing a mouthguard is usually the best remedy for this. And if you have clear aligners, make sure you keep up with them in a protective case!
  • A Smart Diet: Not to sound like a broken orthodontic record, but sticky, chewy, or hard foods can damage your braces, and too much sugar intake can invite cavities. Opt for foods that are easier on braces, like smoothies, soups, and steamed vegetables.
  • General Oral Hygiene: During treatment, it’s critical to brush and floss after every meal and before bedtime. We recommend using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Always clean carefully around brackets and wires of fixed appliances to remove leftover food and plaque.
  • Flossing: Wires and brackets can make flossing a bit of a challenge, but you need to stay on track! Ask us about using orthodontic floss threaders or special floss made for braces.
  • Hydration: Water is a great way to flush your mouth for leftover bits of food. It can also be helpful to rinse after consuming sugar if you don’t have a brush on hand.
  • Mouthwash: Fluoride or antimicrobial mouthwash is a good method for keeping bacteria at bay and maintaining the strength of your teen as they adjust.
  • Interdental Brush: Try using this small brush to clean! It’s designed to get in all of the hidden spots in your braces.
  • Dental Cleanings: Routine cleanings with your general dentist are still needed. We can work in tandem with other professionals during treatment by letting them keep an eye on any general problems. They can also assess former dental treatments, like fillings.
  •  Emergency Measures: It’s essential to quickly contact one of our offices to get a repair planned if any part of your braces are damaged. When we don’t address them promptly, it can impact the entirety of your treatment and invoke complications.

Consistency is your best companion when caring for your oral health. Remember: Regardless of age, you will be primarily responsible for the successful outcome of your treatment.

How to Maintain Good Oral Health with Orthodontic Treatment

Not-So-Nice Consequences

Being aware of what can go wrong in the face of poor oral care is important. It’s not just a scare tactic; it’s serious stuff! 

  • Cavities and Gum Disease: Even when you don’t have braces, you’re constantly reminded to avoid these conditions. But with an appliance, bacteria have more opportunity to build up and lead to decay. You can also be at risk for gingivitis due to irritation of gums or neglecting to clean them properly.
  • White Spots and Stains: The last thing you want is to reach the finish line and lose on a technicality! Sometimes, you’ll get your fixed appliance removed and see evidence of poor cleaning in the form of discoloration. This is another reason we stress excellent hygiene.
  • Prolonged Treatment Time: When dental problems occur during orthodontic treatment, it extends the duration of an already long process, not to mention the possibility of increased cost. Teeth can also be weakened over time if issues like cavities aren’t treated, leading to potential damage in structure and making additional treatment necessary.

How to Maintain Good Oral Health with Orthodontic Treatment

The Hard Work Pays Off

Life is always challenging, and it can make keeping up with your oral health equally challenging! But we promise you that it’s worth it in the end, and our team is here to help you out however we can! If you’re considering orthodontic treatment or have questions about an existing treatment, you can reach either of our offices by calling us at (773) 207-3305.