Reviewed by Dr. Kerri Font, DDS
If you’re considering braces to straighten your teeth, it’s essential to consider not just the aesthetics, but also the overall health of your mouth.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a common concern for those considering orthodontic treatment. Before discussing braces with periodontal disease, let’s take a closer look at periodontal disease itself.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gum tissues and bone supporting the teeth. It’s caused by bacteria in the mouth that forms plaque on teeth, which then leads to inflammation and infection when not removed through proper oral hygiene.
There are four stages of gum disease:
- Gingivitis: The mildest form of gum disease characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Gingivitis is often caused by poor oral hygiene habits and can be reversed with professional cleanings and improved dental care.
- Slight periodontitis: This stage of gum disease involves inflammation that extends below the gum line, causing bone loss and loose teeth. With professional treatment, it’s possible to control mild periodontitis and prevent further damage.
- Moderate periodontitis: More extensive bone loss, tooth decay, and tooth mobility occur at this stage of gum disease, and treatment becomes more challenging. Tooth loss becomes a significant possibility during this stage.
- Advanced periodontitis: At this most advanced stage, severe gum disease can lead to extensive bone loss, tooth loss, and increased risk of other health issues.
While gum disease can pose challenges to orthodontic treatment, it isn’t a deal-breaker. With a concerted effort towards maintaining optimal oral hygiene and dedicated professional care, you can still achieve your dream smile.
Facts About Gum Disease
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of American adults aged 30 or older have some form of periodontal disease.
- Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
- Smoking, diabetes, and a weakened immune system can increase the risk of developing gum disease.
- Certain medications and hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy, can also make an individual more susceptible to gum disease.
Braces and Periodontal Disease: Considerations and Risks
Ideally, your mouth should be in optimal periodontal health before starting orthodontic treatment, as braces can create challenges in maintaining oral hygiene.
However, it’s not impossible to undergo orthodontic treatment with some form of gum disease, as long as proper precautions are taken.
Traditional braces can make it more challenging to maintain good oral hygiene due to the brackets and wires, increasing the risk of plaque build-up and tooth decay.
On the other hand, modern options like clear aligners or lingual braces may minimize these risks and still provide an effective teeth straightening solution.
Treatment and Precautions
- A deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) to remove plaque and tartar buildup
- Regular professional cleanings, often at shorter intervals than those without gum disease
- Improved at-home oral hygiene habits
Once your periodontal health is stabilized, you can safely start orthodontic treatment in most cases if your periodontist and orthodontist agree. It’s crucial to maintain good oral hygiene habits during orthodontic treatment to avoid further gum tissue and bone loss.
Tips for Maintaining Dental Hygiene With Braces
If you are an orthodontic patient, you should take extra care to keep your teeth and gums healthy during treatment. Here are some tips for maintaining good oral hygiene with braces:
- Brush after every meal or snack using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, making sure to clean around the brackets and wires. An interdental brush can also help remove food particles from hard-to-reach areas.
- Floss daily with a floss threader or water flosser to clean between brackets and under wires.
- Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to reduce plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
- Avoid hard or sticky foods that can dislodge brackets or get stuck in wires.
- Attend regular dental checkups and cleanings to monitor your periodontal health and address any issues promptly.
Achieve a Healthy Smile with Highlands Ranch Perio & Implant Center
At Highlands Ranch Periodontics and Implant Center, our dental experts, Dr. Mike Norouzinia, DDS, and Dr. Kerri Font, DDS, provide comprehensive care so that you can confidently move forward with orthodontic treatment while maintaining healthy gums.
If you are searching for a periodontist in Highlands Ranch, CO, or ‘the best periodontist near me’, we can help. To book an appointment, call (303) 683-1144 or complete the online booking form. We are located at 9090 S Ridgeline Blvd. #225, Highlands Ranch, CO.