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Preventing Tooth Decay With Braces: How to Save Your Smile

By Connolly Orthodontics

You may think that you can’t get cavities with braces, but that’s not true at all! In fact, you can get cavities with braces because brushing and flossing can be more challenging. Some patients also think that with all the orthodontist visits, they don’t have to be as diligent with brushing and flossing. The truth is that good oral hygiene is vital while you’re wearing braces or even clear aligners

Connolly Orthodontics wants you to have the smile of your dreams. We’ll support you every step of the way, including helping you find the best ways to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. The last thing you want is cavities with braces, so we’re going to do all we can to help ensure you don’t get them! 

Can You Get Braces With Cavities? 

Yes, absolutely. Neglecting proper oral hygiene can easily lead to cavities, even with braces. That’s why we encourage you not only to keep your regular appointments with us but with your dentist, as well. You need to floss at least once a day and brush your teeth after every meal. 

It may seem challenging to brush your teeth with braces, but it’s easier with the right tools. We recommend a soft-bristled, electric toothbrush. The soft bristles won’t damage your braces or irritate your gums, which may already be sensitive from the movement of your teeth. The electric toothbrushes have bristle movement that can get around brackets and wires and dislodge food particles better than manual toothbrushes. 

Flossing can be made easier with floss threaders. They look like thin, plastic needles with large eyes. You thread the floss through the eye, then you can thread it under or over wires and through your teeth so you can floss like normal. 

If you’re having trouble brushing and flossing, ask us for help! We can give you suggestions on how to improve your oral hygiene. Connolly Orthodontics is here to help!

Can Braces Cause Tooth Decay?

Can braces cause cavities? The braces themselves won’t cause tooth decay. What causes tooth decay is improper brushing and flossing or a lack of brushing and flossing. 

It’s also important to keep your semi-annual dental appointments. Your dentist can find indications of tooth decay and gum disease and may be able to help you stop it before it becomes a cavity or gum disease. 

It’s very rare to get cavities under braces because the bonding agent we use to hold the bracket to the tooth seals well and prevents plaque and food particles from getting underneath the bracket. It can happen if a bracket is loose, however. If you have a loose bracket, contact us right away so we can set up an appointment to repair the bracket. 

We’ll also keep a close watch on your teeth while wearing braces. Connolly Orthodontics works with your dentist to ensure your teeth stay healthy and strong during your braces treatment. 

What Happens if You Get a Cavity With Braces?

If you do get a cavity with braces, it could delay your treatment, depending on how serious the cavity is. We may have to remove the bracket or band on the tooth to repair your cavity, which means removing the archwire moving your teeth. That halts your treatment temporarily. 

If the cavity is still shallow, it usually can be repaired quickly, and the braces put back on your teeth. That means your treatment will resume quickly. It’s important to treat any cavities quickly for this reason. 

If left untreated, a cavity could move deeper into the tooth. A deep cavity that gets into the pulp (living interior) of the tooth could require more intense treatment, such as a root canal. Recovery time takes longer than with a simple cavity filling. That means more time out of your braces, which means your treatment could take longer than anticipated. 

This also applies to gum disease. The more advanced your gum disease, the longer it may take to recover. 

It’s important to let us know right away if you suspect you have a cavity or gum disease. The sooner we can treat it, the sooner we can get your treatment back on track.  

Here’s How to Prevent Tooth Decay With Braces

The best way to prevent tooth decay with braces is the easiest one: brush and floss! It’s recommended you floss at least once a day and brush twice a day. However, it’s better to brush after every meal with braces, because food particles can build up around your brackets easily. 

Plaque and food particles around your brackets can lead to tooth decay. Keeping your teeth as clean as possible can prevent tooth decay. Visit your dentist for your regular dental cleanings, as well. 

If you need a visual, take a look at these tooth decay with braces photos to see the potential outcome of getting cavities with braces.

Can Teeth Be Discolored After Braces?

Cavities aren’t the only issues that can arise if you don’t brush and floss during braces treatment. You can also get white spots on your teeth with braces. The white spots are called demineralization. 

Plaque pulls the minerals and nutrients from your tooth enamel, the hard, protective, outer shell of your teeth. The areas where plaque builds up, often around the brackets, turn white from demineralization. That’s how you end up with white spots on your teeth.

Often, staining or white spots aren’t very noticeable until the braces are removed. The enamel damage under braces is very noticeable then! You sometimes can minimize the look with tooth whitening, but only after the demineralized areas are fortified with fluoride treatment. Otherwise, your teeth may be too sensitive for teeth whitening. 

The best way to keep your teeth from becoming discolored is to brush and floss regularly. Great dental hygiene leads to a great smile!

Getting Braces in Matthews, NC

Are you interested in getting braces in Matthews, NC, or Ballantyne, NC? Connolly Orthodontics is ready to help! Simply request an appointment, and we’ll get you started with a full evaluation. We’ll outline the braces treatment that is best for you, whether it’s with our traditional metal braces or our clear braces

We’ll also let you know the treatment time and cost. If you’re worried about how to pay for braces, don’t! We can set up a braces payment plan designed to fit your budget. 

Cavities with braces can cause problems, but they can easily be prevented with regular brushing and flossing, as well as regular visits to your dentist and orthodontist. Connolly Orthodontics is here to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment. If you have questions, just ask — we’re here to help!

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