When discussing traditional braces, most people picture a perfect smile at the end of their orthodontic treatment.
But don’t stress.
Orthodontists have nifty tricks and home remedies up their sleeves to help with the gum discomfort and keep your braces treatment on track!
Why Do My Gums Feel Tender with Braces?
Braces are not just a fashion statement for your teeth.
Orthodontic treatment involves moving your teeth in the healthiest possible position.
It’s like rearranging furniture in a room, but in this case, the room is your mouth.
As your teeth start to move, they’re putting pressure on your surrounding gum tissue. That pressure can make your gums feel sore or tender, especially if you’ve just had your braces adjusted.
Furthermore, the brace material might rub against your gums, irritating the gum tissue. Think of how a new pair of shoes might give you a blister.
Can Braces Cause Gum Disease?
Braces themselves don’t cause gum disease. But they do make it trickier to keep your teeth and gums clean.
All those brackets, wires, and bands create nooks and crannies where food and plaque may hide. And if that plaque sets in without getting cleaned off? You’re looking at gingivitis or gum disease.
Gingivitis starts when plaque causes the gums to become red or swollen and bleed when brushing or flossing. If left unchecked, it can become a more severe problem affecting the bone underneath (that is, periodontitis)!
Is It Normal to Get Gum Disease with Braces?
Gum disease with braces happens more often than you might think.
Everyone has at least a bit of plaque in their mouths. Without good oral hygiene habits in place, plaque can seriously annoy your gums, causing swelling and bleeding. Those are the telltale signs of gingivitis.
6 Ways to Soothe Your Gum Discomfort with Braces
If you’re sporting braces, you might feel like your gums are throwing a protest party in your mouth. No worries, we’ve got some cool ways to help soothe that gum discomfort:
- Warm Salt Water Rinses: Mixing 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swishing it around your mouth for about 30 seconds reduces swelling and eases discomfort. Just remember not to swallow it!
- Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Ibuprofen and acetaminophen reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
- Oral Gels: You can apply store-available gels directly to sore spots. They usually have a numbing effect that can provide temporary relief.
- Cold Compresses: Holding a cold pack wrapped in a cloth against the outside of your cheek helps reduce pain and inflammation.
- Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth and braces minimizes the risk of swollen gums in the first place. A clean mouth is a happy mouth!
- Orthodontic Wax: Orthodontic wax is a lifesaver if your braces are rubbing against your gums or cheek. Roll a tiny bit of wax into a ball and place it over the troublesome bracket or wire to create a smooth barrier and reduce irritation.
7 Ways to Prevent Gum Disease with Braces
Can you prevent gum disease while wearing braces?
Yes, you totally can!
Braces might make things a bit tricky, but with the proper care, you can keep gum disease at bay:
- Brush Up!: Aim to brush after every meal to remove any food particles stuck in your dental braces.
- Get Into Flossing: Flossing with braces sounds like a mission. But trust us, it’s worth it. Special flosses made just for braces will make the job easier.
- Use Mouthwash: Antimicrobial mouthwash kills the bacteria behind gingivitis. Swish it around, and it’ll reach places your toothbrush might miss.
- Regular Dental Check-Ups: Visit your dentist regularly, not just your orthodontist. They’ll give your teeth a deep clean and check for early signs of gingivitis.
- Watch What You Eat: Sticky, sugary foods are not your teeth’s best friends, especially with braces. Maybe lay off the caramel popcorn for a while—at least until you’re done with your orthodontic treatment.
- Avoid Tobacco: Tobacco is bad news for your gums and overall health. If you need another reason to overcome this addiction, here it is!
- Wear a Mouth Guard: If you play sports, a mouth guard will protect your braces, teeth, and gums from injury.
How Do You Get Rid of Gum Disease Caused by Braces?
Braces are essential to straightening those pearly whites, but the gums need love and attention, too.
With the help of dental experts and a solid at-home routine, you can keep your gums in tip-top shape!
5 Approaches to Treating Gum Disease
- Specialized Tools: Dental experts have all the cool gadgets, such as ultrasonic scalers, that gently and effectively clean around braces and gums.
- Guided Brushing and Flossing: Dental experts don’t just tell you to brush and floss; they show you how. They’ll give you a hands-on demo to ensure you’ve got the techniques down pat, ensuring you’re cleaning every nook and cranny.
- Medicated Mouthwash: Regular mouthwash doesn’t always cut it. Your dentist might prescribe a medicated mouthwash designed to treat gum disease by removing bacteria and mitigating inflammation.
- Advice on Tools for Home: Water flossers or interdental brushes make cleaning around braces a breeze!
- Periodontists to the Rescue: If things are getting serious, your dentist will refer you to a periodontist, who has even more specialized techniques and treatments to treat gingivitis and periodontitis.
Can I Get Braces with Gum Disease?
While it’s technically possible to get braces with gum disease, it’s not the best idea.
It’s essential to get your gums healthy first. Once that’s taken care of, you can move on to undergoing orthodontic treatment for that straight, dazzling smile!
With gingivitis, your gums can be red, swollen, and sometimes even bleed. If you throw braces into the mix without treating it first, things will only get messier.
All those wires and brackets make it tougher to clean all the areas of your teeth. If your gums are already having a rough time, they will only make the situation worse.
Most dentists and orthodontists recommend treating gingivitis before placing braces on your teeth. It’s like ensuring the room is all prepped and ready before putting on that fresh coat of paint. This way, when you finally start your orthodontic treatment, you’ll set a clean and healthy foundation, making the entire process smoother and more effective.
Can I Get Braces with Periodontal Disease?
When you think about getting braces, you’re signing up for a tool that helps straighten and move your teeth.
But for braces to do their job, they need a solid foundation.
That foundation is your gums and the bone tissue underneath.
If that foundation is shaky because of periodontal disease, moving teeth around becomes risky.
Most orthodontists and dentists will give you a big “hold on” sign if you’re contemplating orthodontic treatment with periodontal disease. They’ll advise you to sort out your oral health first—special cleanings, treatments, or even surgeries to achieve healthy gums again.
Once your gums are healthy and ready to support braces, it’s go time!
Don’t Let Gum Disease Delay Your Orthodontic Treatment!
Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if orthodontic care is the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of orthodontic care or have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (240) 802-7217 or message us through our Contact Us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a complimentary consultation!
Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s Patuxent area, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Hollywood, Wildewood, or Leonardtown and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Maryland, don’t hesitate to visit our office!
We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining your perfect smile, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!
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