Before you begin treatment with any type of braces, you may be preparing for your big day and thinking about all of the exciting changes to come! As you run through your braces preparation checklist, you’ll find that maintaining great oral hygiene throughout your treatment is how you experience the greatest possible results.
It’s relatively easy to keep your braces and teeth clean; you just have to commit to brushing and flossing regularly! In the event that you slack on your oral hygiene a bit and do develop a cavity during braces treatment, what happens next?
Here’s everything you need to know about cavities and braces:
Can you get cavities with braces?
No matter which type of orthodontic treatment you choose (traditional metal braces, INBRACE lingual braces, clear ceramic braces, advanced LightForce braces, or Invisalign® clear aligners) you can develop cavities during your treatment.
Anybody can develop cavities, including people who are currently in orthodontic treatment and those who have never undergone treatment. Cavities develop due to bacteria buildup on the teeth – meaning your oral hygiene habits have everything to do with cavity development.
Can you get fillings and braces at the same time?
Yes you can! It’s relatively unlikely that you’ll develop a cavity during your orthodontic treatment, because you’ll still visit your dentist regularly for routine dental cleanings. Any unhealthy conditions should be identified and resolved fairly quickly.
We also recommend that our patients use a fluoride toothpaste to better protect against cavities during braces treatment!
Before you start treatment with Dr. Jewett, you’ll visit your dentist for a thorough dental cleaning. Placing braces on teeth when they’re clean and free of harmful plaque and bacteria is ideal for preventing cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease during your treatment.
If you develop a cavity throughout your treatment, our team will work with your dentist to treat your condition. Most cavities can be treated with braces in place, depending on the location of the cavity.
If your cavity is accessible without adjusting your braces, your dentist will be able to fill the cavity as normal. If your cavity is not accessible without adjusting your treatment, we will temporarily remove the archwire and bracket so your dentist can fill the cavity.
For patients who choose Invisalign, filling cavities doesn’t require any adjustment in your treatment. You will simply remove your clear aligners for your dentist to fill the cavity.
No matter where the cavity is located or which treatment you have, we will work with your dentist to get your cavity filled and your teeth back on track to their beautiful new alignment!
How to tell if you have a cavity with braces:
There are a few ways to tell whether you currently have a cavity or are at risk of developing one:
- You have opaque spots on the teeth
- You have dark spots on the teeth
- You experience increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages, and sugary foods (even though you should be avoiding these during your treatment!)
- You have persistent bad breath
If you start to notice any of these common symptoms of cavities, it’s important that you call your dentist and schedule a visit with him or her as soon as possible. The sooner you’re able to get your cavity filled, the sooner you’ll be back on track to beautiful results.
How to Avoid Cavities with Braces
It isn’t difficult to prevent cavities during your orthodontic treatment! Good oral hygiene habits will go a long way. Plus, we will teach you how to brush and floss with braces on the day you get your braces.
- It’s essential to brush at least twice a day. (For best results, try brushing after each meal!)
With braces, you will need to be extra considerate of the small spaces and corners in your brackets and wires, where bacteria can grow.
- Flossing every day is critical too.
Food and sugar that remain stuck in your braces or between your teeth can lead to bacteria buildup pretty quickly. Failing to floss will also cause you to have inflamed, puffy gums that ‘encroach’ on the brackets.
- Try using a mouthwash each time you brush.
Mouthwash can help minimize bacteria as much as possible. Do your best to avoid sugary foods and candies, but if you just can’t resist, be sure to brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash after.
With Invisalign, you’ll be able to remove your aligners each time you brush and floss your teeth, so keeping your aligners clean and your teeth cavity-free is even easier!
Still have questions about cavities or fillings with braces?
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! Dr. Jewett and our team are here to guide you through your treatment process, from your very first visit, to your last appointment.