Before and After Braces
For a hygienist in general practice, watching a patient go through the before and after braces process of orthodontic treatment can actually be a fun and interesting process. Many orthodontist patients are or teenagers, you are working with them during an exciting period of their lives in which they undergo changes to much more than their smiles.
But orthodontic treatment also brings a number of hygiene concerns. The good news is that the dental team can play a big role in helping patients keep their teeth and gums healthy during this period. This article will summarize some of the most common practices that hygienists can implement to help patients finish orthodontic treatment with the best possible results.
Braces Before and After Braces
Before Treatment: The Groundwork Must be Laid
Before treatment starts, hygienists can begin stressing the importance of stepping up efforts to keep teeth clean even before patients have braces put on. When I know a patient is planning to get braces soon, I take the opportunity to talk with them (and their parents, if applicable) about the hygiene changes they should adopt. These include brushing more frequently, avoiding soda and sports drinks (or at least rinsing with water as often as possible) and coming in for visits every three months. Because so many orthodontic patients are teenagers patients who don’t necessarily have great hygiene habits to begin with, this early counseling is important to begin raising their awareness as soon as possible.
During Treatment: The Real Work Happens
The patient’s time wearing braces is the window when it is most necessary for the hygienist and patient to work together to help keep teeth healthy. Practices that follow CAMBRA protocols will recognize that most orthodontic patients are bumped into the high-risk category during this time, as the brackets and wires trap plaque and make it much harder to keep teeth clean.
In the Orthodontic Melbourne Group, we recommend a number of tools and practices to help patients manage the hygiene issues that might arise with orthodontics.