Do I really need to go to the dentist while I have braces?

Teenage girl smiling with braces
Having braces will make it more difficult to clean your teeth. Therefore, it’s extra important to not neglect visiting your dentist while undergoing treatment!

Many people think that while they are undergoing orthodontic treatment, they don’t to visit their primary dentist. After all, your teeth are being looked at regularly every six weeks or so. Isn’t that enough? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, it’s not enough! (And if you don’t believe me, just ask your orthodontist!)

While your orthodontist will keep a close eye on the progress of your treatment, it is your primary dental care provider who will look after your overall dental health with checkups and regular cleanings. Thus, wearing braces does not get you off the hook! In fact, just the opposite: when you have braces, it becomes even more important that you should never miss an appointment with your dentist.

Why It’s Important to See Your Dentist While Wearing Braces

The simple fact is this: maintaining optimal oral hygiene becomes more difficult when you have braces. Food tends to get trapped between the wire and braces and is difficult to remove, which promotes plaque and tartar deposition. (As an aside, one of the benefits of Invisalign as opposed to traditional braces is that cleaning your teeth is much easier. You just remove the trays and brush and floss like normal! Read more about the difference between Invisalign and traditional braces at our sister office.)

Failure to visit your primary dentist during orthodontic treatment can lead to the following problems:

  • Cavities – Braces make it difficult to clean your teeth optimally with just a regular toothbrush, because the bristles of a toothbrush are unable to penetrate difficult-to-reach areas between teeth and arch wires. (This is why most orthodontists recommend using an interdental toothbrush for optimal cleaning.) The difficulty of cleaning your teeth properly leads to plaque deposition, which can lead to development of cavities. Additionally, food particles are much more likely to stay between your teeth and near your gumline when you have braces, which can lead to infections.
  • Gum Problems – Food trapped around the teeth and braces also results in the inflammation of gums. This can lead to the gradual loosening of teeth if the condition is not corrected immediately.
  • Ineffective Orthodontic Treatment – The success of your orthodontic treatment is directly dependent on your oral hygiene maintenance. When you visit your dentist regularly during orthodontic treatment, you won’t have to worry about unexpected dental problems.

If you don’t take extra care of your oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment, not only will you not end up with straight teeth, but you might end up with severe gum problems and cavities!