White Spots And Your Braces

Close up of smiling mouth and teeth with Braces

After the time and financial investment you have spent on your children’s braces, the last thing you want is for the treatment to cause other flaws in their smiles. So you might be concerned if you’ve heard that wearing braces can form noticeable white spots under and around the brackets. The answer is yes, it can; however, white spot formation is not a random occurrence.

There are easy steps your child can take to prevent white spots. And if they already have developed, ways to treat them still exist.

What Are White Spots?

Chalky-appearing white spots on the teeth indicate the beginning of the decaying process. They represent an intermittent stage between a healthy tooth and one that has a cavity, or hole. The white area shows where bacteria are beginning to erode the enamel, decalcifying the minerals in the teeth.

Developing White Spots

The outside of the enamel is difficult to penetrate, so erosion starts below this layer. The tooth’s exterior will appear intact, but white decalcification spots becomes visible. Once the decalcification sufficiently weakens the outside layer, a cavity will form.

It is true that these spots come as a surprise to some patients, but that usually means they didn’t follow their orthodontist’s instructions for cleaning their braces. White spots don’t form overnight – they result from an extended period of poor oral-hygiene habits. The problem is that brackets or wires can cover them, so they might not be visible until after braces are removed. However, the orthodontist is trained to look for white areas around the braces and often can inform the patient before they progress.

Preventing White Spots

During the treatment process, the orthodontist will provide detailed instructions for cleaning the teeth, as well as a list of foods and drinks that should be avoided. If you have a child or teen in braces, the importance of responsible orthodontic care cannot be stressed enough. For younger children, creating a brushing chart with a check sheet can help them remember the important steps.

Flossing with braces can be a little bit tough, but don’t rely entirely on a waterpik to remove plaque. In general, waterpiks are not as effective at removing plaque, and actually can push bacteria under the gums.

Make sure your child is brushing carefully and deliberately around each bracket. Dig the bristles between the wire and gums, where the majority of plaque tends to form. Use a fluoride toothpaste, or follow up with a fluoride rinse.

Removing White Spots

Several prescription and over-the-counter pastes can help to restore enamel and streamline the tooth’s appearance. They typically are applied once per day, usually before bed, and are not rinsed off the teeth. The orthodontist also can apply a resin treatment to the teeth, which infiltrates the enamel and dulls the color of the spots.

By choosing one of Orthodontic Associates’ nine convenient locations in the Baltimore area, you will ensure that your child receives expert care throughout his entire experience in braces. This includes regular hygiene checks to ensure the health of the teeth during treatment. Contact one of our friendly staff members today to begin the journey toward a perfect smile.

photo: Braces by monica y garza / cc by 2.0


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