Millions of patients are prescribed orthodontic treatment to correct a misaligned jaw or crooked teeth. Orthodontic treatment can provide a patient with a straighter smile, but traditional orthodontics come with risks. The risks of braces might outweigh the benefits of undergoing orthodontic treatment. Poor attention to oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment might damage your teeth, for example, leaving you with worse dental problems than you had to start.
Risks of Braces
While braces already come with heavy financial responsibilities (in many cases, they’re not covered by insurance), the health risks of braces are important to pay attention to as well.
Discomfort — Traditional metal braces are going to hurt. At the beginning of orthodontic treatment and right after every re-tighten, it’s likely patients will experience a lot of toothache and discomfort. This is because braces are designed to move and reposition teeth, which causes a tremendous amount of pressure in your mouth.
Mouth Ulcers — Since traditional braces are made with sharp metal brackets, these braces can scratch the inside of a patient’s mouth. While it’s possible to prevent mouth ulcers with orthodontic wax, mouth scratches will still add to your discomfort.
Root Shortening — When wearing braces for a prescribed period of time, patients often experience tooth root shortening. When this happens, the longevity of a tooth might be shortened. However, this is usually not an issue that carries major consequences.
Infected Gums — Maintaining proper oral hygiene is always important, but it can be difficult to be thorough when you have braces. With metal brackets and wires covering your teeth, it’s harder to get every surface clean. Poor oral hygiene often leads to gingivitis and gum infection in traditional orthodontic patients. To avoid this, patients may consult their orthodontist or dentist about better cleaning techniques, but following through is sometimes difficult.
Enamel Erosion — Since traditional metal braces must be fixed in place on your teeth, the cement from treatment and the sugar buildup from food can lead to demineralization of the teeth. When this happens, patients start to notice white or yellow stains on their teeth.
What Are My Alternatives
While not every patient with braces experiences these problems, it’s worthwhile to know the possibilities and consider alternatives for straight teeth. Six Month Smiles is a great alternative for patients looking to straighten their teeth and smile with more confidence. Southern Dental Care specializes in Six Month Smiles, which provide patients with a plastic, invisible solution for a straighter smile. These treatments often cost patients less and are frequently less painful than traditional metal braces. Some insurance plans cover the cost of Six Month Smiles as well. To learn more about your alternatives, contact us today.