Dental Visits during Orthodontic Treatment
In addition to periodic orthodontic checkups and necessary adjustments during orthodontic treatment, it is essential that patients keep to a schedule of appointments with their regular dentists. While the orthodontist will take care of any problems that arise with the patients’ braces, the regular dentist maintains primary responsibility for professional dental hygiene and oral health.
Regular dental visits, usually every 6 months or once a year, are recommended for everyone, and are even more important for individuals wearing braces or other dental appliances. While home care, including careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal, is always necessary, cleanings by a dental hygienist are much more thorough and efficient at removing tartar and plaque from the teeth and braces, and from the spaces between.
Left untreated, such substances can build up, resulting in inflammation and gum disease. Because orthodontic hardware has many complicated surface areas, it provides more hiding places for unwanted materials and 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 the dentist is trained to check the mouth for any inappropriate or suspicious lesions and may provide the first line of defense against an oral malignancy. All patients will be asked general health questions before the examination since the medications they take, surgeries they may have had, or the presence of certain disease or other conditions can alter the nature of treatment. For some patients, for example, X-rays will not be taken during a given visit and some patients may have to premedicate with antibiotics before a dental cleaning.