Many a time patients undergoing orthodontic therapy complain that their gums are swollen and growing over their braces or that they bleed while brushing. The reasons for these issues could be range from poor oral hygiene to improper placement of braces to conditions like pregnancy or the use of some medications. But, the most common reason for the gingival inflammation that occurs when one is wearing braces is due to poor oral hygiene.
It is very important that one follows all the oral care instructions that are given when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Any type of non-compliance can lead to such problems where the gums become inflamed and start growing over the braces. Once the braces are placed, it does get challenging to clean your teeth and braces as the accessibility becomes a problem and they also act as a good surface for plaque and food debris to cling on to. Plaque is the main cause of gingival inflammation and cleaning around and under the braces requires a little bit of skill and patience.
Use the special brushes and adjuncts recommended by your orthodontist. These special items make it easier to clean the areas that a regular brush cannot reach or clean effectively. Flossing is another important activity that needs to be done right. Use a floss threader to manipulate the floss under the wires. Water jets or Water Flossers are a superb adjunct to your daily cleaning efforts. They help to remove the harmful bacteria and food debris stuck in the braces. Mouth mirrors help you to see the hard to reach areas, making it easy to clean them. Inter dental brushes and electric toothbrushes are very helpful in getting rid of plaque and food debris. You also get toothbrushes with built-in timers that can help you to brush for the optimum time.
The important part is to use all the adjuncts correctly to get optimal results. Use the right brushing technique as demonstrated by the staff at the dental office. Make sure you cover all the surfaces and brush for at least 2-3 minutes. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after every meal. While flossing, make sure you manipulate the floss under the gum line gently and floss in between all the teeth. Gum massage is essential to improve circulation and you do it by using your fingers. Just apply some pressure and use a circular motion to massage the gums all over. When your gums are inflamed, it is common for them to bleed. Do not get alarmed. Just continue to brush and do gum massage. If there is tartar/calculus build-up, ask your orthodontist if a round of scaling can be arranged. Use an antimicrobial mouthwash recommended by your orthodontist and stick to a strict cleaning regimen.
If all these methods fail, and the inflammation is severe, then it might be necessary to remove your braces and allow your gums to heal for some time before resuming the treatment. Sometimes a minor gingival surgery might be needed to get rid of the overgrown tissue. Once the braces are replaced, oral hygiene should be meticulously maintained and scaling should be done every 3-4 months or as deemed fit by your treating doctor.
The good news about this condition is that it is reversible and all it takes is some diligent oral care to prevent it. The role of the dentist in educating the patient cannot be underestimated here and it is very important that when a patient is about to start orthodontic treatment, the doctor should ensure that the patient receives all the necessary information, instructions and instruments to help maintain their oral condition in a healthy state.