Why Having Clean Teeth Matters Before You Get Orthodontic Treatment

March 31, 2016

Before getting braces, it’s important to make sure your oral health is in the best possible shape. It doesn’t matter what kind of braces you’re getting: traditional, ceramic, or newer less-obtrusive treatments like Invisalign. You’re going to need any cavities taken care of and a thorough teeth cleaning done by a dental hygienist. Time windows will vary patient-to-patient, but you’ll generally want to get your dental care done after you get the x-rays and periodontal impressions done, and before you visit the orthodontist to get the braces applied.

From the patient’s perspective, it’s understandable how this can seem like a bit of a Catch-22. You need straight teeth in order to have healthy teeth, and you need healthy teeth in order to get straight teeth. The thing is that no orthodontist that considers the patient’s health a priority is going to apply braces on teeth that have cavities. Even having a slight film of plaque over the teeth can cause decay to nestle in behind the braces. And once the patient has braces applied, it becomes much more difficult to handle dental problems. In extreme cases, the braces will have to be removed so the dentist can get to the trouble areas, and the orthodontist will have to reapply the braces at a later date. Even less impactful treatments like Invisalign, will work best when the retainer doesn’t have any plaque or cavities to contend with while they provide a firm, corrective layering over the teeth.

During the prep period (impressions and x-rays) the orthodontist will be able to identify any glaring problems that need to be addressed. If you’ve been practicing good hygiene, you should be fine. If there are any issues, the orthodontist may refer you to your dentist for an appointment. If the dentist finds cavities and/or plaque and gum problems, you’ll have to have those addressed before orthodontic treatment can begin. We’d like to stress that you shouldn’t feel bad or that you failed if you need dental help before you get braces. When teeth aren’t straight, it’s much more difficult to keep them in pristine condition. Crooked teeth can easily be a result of genetics and/or injuries.

The better your oral health when you get braces applied, and the better we work together to maintain that health while you undergo treatment, the better the results. If you have any questions or would like to know more about dental hygiene, please check out your local dentist in Gahanna, Westerville and Johnstown, Ohio areas. You can also contact us at Maple Orthodontics here.


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