Is it true that orthodontics causes caries?

Orthodontic treatments are currently gaining ground in the field of dental health and esthetics. However, there is a prejudice that caries appear during orthodontics and this may discourage some patients from starting treatment.

Is it true that orthodontics causes caries?

Orthodontics does not cause caries by itself. Caries lesions appear due to a multifactorial process, caused by bacteria that form dental plaque. The bacteria we are referring to, due to their acidogenic capacity, cause demineralization of the enamel, which, if it continues to happen over time, can lead to the destruction of the enamel and the pathology known as caries.

For this reason, daily dental hygiene is extremely important to completely eliminate the remains of dental plaque. During orthodontic treatment with braces, food is retained in the appliances, which results in the degradation of bacterial plaque. In the same way, cleaning the teeth is more difficult because of the brackets and orthodontic wires. For this reason, oral hygiene is very important during the period of orthodontic treatment.

In addition, orthodontics can help resolve situations in which oral hygiene is compromised. This is the case with crowded teeth where hygiene can be difficult for the patient. For this reason, orthodontic treatment that aligns the teeth will allow for easier hygiene later on.

What happens when we do not have correct hygiene?

Orthodontic treatment lasts between one and a half and two years. If during this time the patient has not paid enough attention to hygiene, this can have consequences for their oral health. Among the most common pathologies are gingivitis, caries, demineralization of the enamel, up to more serious situations of periodontitis that may affect the supporting bone. The orthodontist will make the decision to remove the appliance prematurely in cases of oral hygiene problems.

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The area of most plaque accumulation during orthodontic treatment is around the appliance area. For this reason, it is necessary to focus more on these areas in order to avoid decalcifications in the form of white spots on the surface of the enamel after orthodontic removal.

Techniques for treating decalcifications

There are several techniques for the treatment of white spots on the teeth after orthodontics. Among the most outstanding products are remineralizing varnishes, which are not very aggressive and act superficially on the lesions. However, in more advanced lesions they do not solve the unsightly appearance of the stain. For this type of stains, turbine or microabrasion is used. In this way, the damaged tooth structure is removed and the necessary material is added.

Another less aggressive technique is resin infiltration, which in addition to slowing down the decalcification process, significantly reduces the whitish appearance of the lesion.

The orthodontist’s objective should be to check the patient’s hygiene to avoid this type of problem, especially caries. In more specific cases, hygiene and care of the teeth may need to be reinforced to avoid any type of lesion. Good oral hygiene is of utmost importance for good health and for the success of orthodontics.