young woman smiling with traditional braces orthodontics

If you have braces, you’re probably very excited about seeing your brand new smile. However, that smile might not be as bright as you thought if you don’t take proper care of your teeth during your orthodontic treatment.

While your at home dental hygiene routine may change a little while you have braces (we’ll do a separate post with tips about that), your in-office dental routine should not. What we mean is, just because you have braces doesn’t mean you don’t have to come in for your cleaning.

This is a surprisingly common misconception. Many patients (or their parents) think that because they are going in for orthodontic checkups on a regular basis that they don’t have to see the dentist or hygienist for a cleaning. If anything goes wrong, the orthodontist will take care of it, right?

Well, certainly the orthodontist will tell you if they see something that isn’t right, but rather than take this reactive approach, it’s much better to be proactive about your oral hygiene when you have braces.

During orthodontic treatment there is a lot of hardware in your mouth, and all those brackets and wires create new nooks and crannies and corners for plaque and tartar to build up. Certain kinds of dental gunk are too stubborn for your toothbrush and floos to handle: you’ll need a professional cleaning at the dentist to get rid of these deposits. If they are not cleaned off properly, you could end up with staining and discoloration, not to mention cavities, that will ruin the perfect smile you’ve waited so long for.

So while you may be getting a lot of attention from the dentist during your orthodontic appointments, you still need regular checkups in order to keep your teeth clean and healthy. You should maintain your usual interval of teeth cleaning visits. The dentist may ask that you come in more often that usual while you have braces. In the end, a few extra visits to the dentist will be well worth it when you see your new smile!