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What you NEED to know before your child gets braces.

Orthodontist are amazing specialist but often times they are more focused on the end game of the straight teeth and occlusion. Here is what they may not mention and what you NEED to be focused on.

Most children start braces when all of their baby teeth have exfoliated. Some kids are the ”lucky” ones and have to start with expansion or even multiple phases of braces until they get to their final destination.

Braces is on par with getting your 1st puppy

“When your child gets braces it is the the same level of responsibility of your child getting their first real pet ”

Braces are an extremely important time for your child’s dental hygiene. Between the amount of metal in the mouth and the already insufficient amount of times kids spend on their oral health can lead to a less then stellar end result. I compare the responsibility to that of getting their first pet because it is not only daily work but it has to be done for a long time and become a habit otherwise there could be detrimental results. I think every parent needs to judge their child’s responsibly level before entering into braces. For some kids waiting until they are emotionally and mentally ready to handle the day to day commitment of braces could save years of complaints and tears.

Why Hygiene is the MOST important part of braces

With all the metal now that has now donned your child’s mouth it is of the utmost importacne that your child learn good hygiene habits throughout this endeavor. Plaque and food debris get caught up around the brackets and stuck under the wires that you child is now at their highest risk of getting hidden cavities. Many times parent think that because a child is seeing their orthodontist on such a regular basis that they no longer need to go to dental cleaning appointments assuming they are getting taken care of by a orthodontist office. Unfortunately that is not the case and those missed appointments could be the difference between a mouth full of cavities and catching poor habits before they become issues. As food and plaque sit on the tooth around the brackets they start to eat their way through the enamel in a process call “decalcification”, this process ends up with a permanent white ring on the tooth where the bracket sits. This white ring cannot be removed once the braces are and often times permanent and unsightly.

Hygiene Helpers for the Orthodontic

Some of the greatest tools & habits to help with braces I recommend to all patients are:

- have your child stay on a shortned recall with their dental cleanings during the ENTIRE braces process so they can set them up for success with cleaning tips and catch any sign of decay in the early stages. (Having wires removed prior to dental cleanings can be a huge help if your orthodontist is in close proximity of your dental office and they will be placed back on after the dental cleaning)

- Platypus Ortho flossers are a must have for flossing with metal braces. There is not flossing tool around that will be used if it takes more then a few seconds. The ortho flossers are not only convenient but being flat on one side allow them to easily slip under the wires without the frustration of threading floss.

- Waterpik with orthodontic head can help flush out inflamed gum tissue and help resolve those bleeding gums.

- OTC fluoride rinses can also help counteract the day to day gunk causes to the teeth.

- Last but very important is an ortho electric toothbrush. Oral B electric toothbrushes have a circular round head with an indented brush in the center to be able to access both the bracket and the tooth.

Braces can change the direction of a person’s life, not only for their dentition but also how they feel and perceive themself when they look in the mirror. More often times then not the end result is amazing but there are a lot of patients I see late in the game that I wish if I had seen a year prior we could change the current outcome. The last thing a parent wants after spending thousands of dollars on straight teeth is to have ”straight ugly teeth” due to decalcifcation and poor hygiene. With a little education and a lot of daily involvement you can have a lifetime of big smiles and straight teeth.

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