When you start orthodontic treatment with braces, you’re anticipating getting straighter teeth and improving your overall dental health. But it’s important to also be prepared for some of the potential drawbacks you’ll experience while you’re in treatment. One of these side effects is swollen gums. Thankfully, it’s very possible to avoid having swollen gums with braces.
How Braces and Swollen Gums Are Related
Braces and gums have a complicated relationship. Overall, your gums will be better off once your treatment is complete since you’ll enjoy better oral health as a whole. But when you first get your braces, your gums may experience some swelling. This is simply a reaction to the new pressure being applied to your teeth and the sensation of having orthodontic appliances in your mouth.
This swelling should subside after a couple of weeks, around the same time you should start to generally get used to having braces. In the meantime, you can take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and drink cool liquids to alleviate the swelling.
The other way your braces may contribute to gum swelling has to do with plaque buildup. The system of brackets and wires that makes up your braces is very effective at moving your teeth. Unfortunately, the structure is also effective at trapping food particles and making it difficult to clean some spots on your teeth.
As a result, you’re actually at a higher risk of plaque buildup and tooth decay while you have braces. This can lead to tooth sensitivity, staining, and gum swelling.
How to Avoid Swollen Gums with Braces
If you want to avoid having your braces taken off only to find your new smile comes with puffy gums, you’ll want to stay on top of a strict cleaning routine. Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal, or at least twice a day. Using a soft-bristled electric toothbrush, complete with a head that makes room for your braces, will give you the best results.
You should also floss every day to clean between your teeth and gums. This will especially go a long way in avoiding gum swelling related to gingivitis. The tricky thing here is flossing is probably one of the hardest things to do when you have braces, since the wires directly get in the way. Using a floss threader can make it much easier to reach in between your teeth and get a thorough cleaning.
You should also be scheduling regular appointments with your dentist while you have braces. Many patients make the mistake of skipping dental checkups while they have braces since they believe their orthodontic checkups will have them covered. However, your orthodontist will be focused on straightening your teeth while your dentist can provide professional cleanings and address any dental issues.
During your initial consultation here at Smith Orthodontics, we’ll be happy to go over any concerns you may have and fill you in on how to care for your teeth while you have braces. Schedule your appointment today!