Can fluoride treatment be used for patients with dental braces?
Orthodontic braces straighten teeth and improve alignment. But the brackets and wires of braces also create spaces where plaque and bacteria can accumulate. This puts brace wearers at increased risk for tooth decay. Fluoride treatments add an extra layer of protection against cavities. Continuing fluoride applications while undergoing orthodontic treatment is highly recommended.
Why Braces Raise the Cavity Risk?
Fixed orthodontic appliances make keeping teeth clean more challenging. Food particles easily get trapped by brackets, bands, wires, and elastics. The crevices attract decay-causing bacteria.
Braces also prolong the contact of fermentable carbohydrates against tooth surfaces. This gives bacteria longer to produce damaging acids that demineralize enamel.
Furthermore, the process of moving teeth can temporarily make them more porous. This vulnerability means preventive measures like fluoride are especially useful.
Using Fluoride to Prevent White Spot Lesions
Due to the higher cavity risk, white spot lesions are a common side effect of braces. These demineralization or early decay areas appear as chalky white spots on the enamel. Daily fluoride use helps remineralize these white spot lesions to protect teeth.
Topical fluoride hardens enamel to make it more acid-resistant. Fluoride incorporated into the crystalline structure of remineralized enamel prevents and even reverses decay.
Applying prescription-strength fluoride is recommended for those undergoing orthodontic treatment. Your dentist may prescribe daily high-concentration fluoride rinses or gels. Fluoride varnish is also an excellent option.
Fluoride works when maintained at a constant low level in the mouth. Using prescription fluoride daily provides this steady supply. Just brushing with over-the-counter fluoride toothpaste is likely inadequate for those with braces.
Professional Fluoride Treatment Options
In-office fluoride applications offer even greater protection for those with braces. Your dentist has access to stronger fluoride concentrations than those available over the counter.
Some commonly used professional fluoride treatments near you include:
- Fluoride Varnish – This resin-based varnish sets quickly when brushed directly on teeth. It provides a high level of fluoride contact for days at a time.
- Foam or Gel – Higher doses of fluoride in a foam or gel are applied with trays for 5-10 minutes.
- Silver Diamine Fluoride – This clear liquid solution stops decay and remineralizes enamel through frequent applications.
Your dentist in Paoli can discuss which fluoride treatment will benefit you most during orthodontics. For example, fluoride varnish is highly effective at preventing white spots during initial braces placement.
Getting an in-office fluoride treatment every 3-6 months ensures a therapeutic amount of fluoride reaching the vulnerable areas around orthodontic brackets. This maximizes the decay-fighting effects.
Protecting Your Braces Investment with Fluoride
Orthodontic treatment represents a major investment of time, money, and effort. Preventing harm to teeth and oral health is a priority.
Fluoride helps safeguard your investment by strengthening your enamel against acid attacks. A dentist can apply professional fluoride treatments every 3-6 months while your braces are on. Routine fluoride will protect your smile both during and after your orthodontic care.
Some orthodontists may apply fluoride varnish or silver diamine fluoride themselves at adjustment visits. However, coordinating additional fluoride applications with your general dentist provides optimal prevention.
Consistent fluoride use reduces the likelihood of cavities, white spots, and costly repairs down the road. Don’t take chances with the health of your smile. Supplementary fluoride offers inexpensive insurance to maintain and boost treatment results.
Timing of Fluoride Treatments
Applying fluoride before braces and at regular intervals during treatment is ideal. Fluoride strengthens enamel and makes teeth more resistant to decay once braces create plaque traps.
Most orthodontic patients can benefit from professional fluoride at the following key times:
- 1-2 weeks before braces are placed
- At the bonding appointment, when braces are first attached
- Every 3-6 months during active orthodontic treatment
- Within two weeks after the braces are removed
This timeline provides full protection in anticipation of braces while wires and brackets are in place immediately after they are removed when teeth may still be vulnerable.
Ask Your Orthodontist About Fluoride Today
Fluoride provides invaluable support for oral health during braces. Inquire at your next adjustment visit about adding professional fluoride treatments. Reputable orthodontists will enthusiastically recommend supplementary fluoride for all patients.
If your orthodontist doesn’t offer in-house fluoride treatments, turn to your general dentist for this vital preventive care. With locations in Paoli and other areas of Chester County, Dentist of Paoli provides specialized fluoride treatments to enhance your orthodontic success.
Schedule a fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth before, during, and after orthodontic care. Protecting your braces investment pays off with a healthy, beautiful smile. Take advantage of the preventive power of fluoride.