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How Do Braces Affect Routine Cleanings and X-Rays?

It is fairly obvious that all those wires, brackets, and rubber bands affect what you can eat and how you brush your teeth when undergoing orthodontic treatment. However, did you know they add a bit of an extra step when you visit your dentist for a routine cleaning and examination?

We will take a look at any differences you may experience if you are wearing braces during your routine examination, x-ray, and cleaning.

You Still Have to Visit Your General Dentist With Orthodontic Treatment

Many people assume that because they are visiting their orthodontist every six weeks, there is no need to schedule regular appointments with a general dentist.

Some orthodontists may do some basic cleaning around your brackets and wires, but they typically do not do a complete cleaning of your teeth and gums. A general dentist or dental hygienist at your dentist’s office is usually the one who does the cleanings. In order to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you will need to schedule regular examinations and cleanings with your dentist every four to six months.

The point of these general examinations and cleanings are to monitor the health of your teeth and gums. If any problems, such as cavities or decalcification occur, your dentist will be able to correct them before they cause problems or delay your orthodontic treatment.

Expect Dental Routine Cleanings to Take a Little Longer

Professional dental cleanings are going to take a little longer when you have braces. Your dentist or hygienist will have to make sure that he or she is working around all the tiny nooks, crevices, and spaces that are created by the wires and brackets.

Another reason professional cleanings will take longer is that specialized tools may need to be used. Specialized dental tools that carefully clean the teeth without damaging or harming the braces will be used during your cleanings.

If your teeth are really decayed or have a lot of tartar build up, your general dentist may need to remove the wires and brackets to clean your teeth or do a filling. If this needs to be done, it can add more time to your dental appointment.

It is Easy to Miss Spaces in Your Mouth with Braces

If you don’t have braces, and floss and brush regularly, your professional dental cleanings probably take anywhere from half an hour to an hour. These appointments are fairly quick because the hygienist is cleaning your teeth, polishing them, and removing plaque that quickly comes off your teeth.

With braces, you often miss spaces in your mouth. Missing space in the mouth will cause plaque and tartar to form. Tartar takes longer to remove than plaque. Depending upon how many spaces in your mouth you missed, your professional cleanings may take a bit longer in removing the tartar.

No Problems with X-Rays

Even though your braces contain wires and metal brackets, you won’t experience any problems with x-rays. X-rays can, and likely will be taken regularly by both your dentist and orthodontist while you are wearing braces.

Have additional questions about how braces affect your dental cleanings and x-rays? At, Reddick Orthodontics, we will gladly answer any questions you may have. We look forward to helping you!

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