For decades, braces have been a go-to orthodontic treatment for people looking to straighten their teeth or correct orthodontic conditions.
We've gotten many a question over the years from patients about how they can prevent white spots from appearing on their teeth after their braces are removed, or how to remove these white spot lesions after they've noticed them.
Many also wonder if the spots can be removed after they are discovered.
Causes of Orthodontic White Spots
Of course, we want your teeth to look as white and aesthetically pleasing as possible once your treatment is over.
However, orthodontic white spot lesions (WSLs) can have a negative impact on the appearance of your teeth and are likely to remain on the teeth once they appear. They are not completely reversible and will not typically disappear easily.
These spots are caused by plaque buildup on the teeth, which causes orthodontic decalcification, or loss of hard minerals.
Because bacteria in plaque produce an acid that starts to dissolve a tooth's mineralized surface, it's important to remove plaque from teeth regularly.
While the risk of white spots occurring is higher during treatment with braces, the braces themselves do not cause white spots.
White spots can also occur in people who are not undergoing orthodontic treatment if they do not practice proper oral health care and see the dentist regularly enough.
White spot lesions on teeth are also sometimes caused by diet, genetics or due to excessive intake of fluoride (a condition referred to as fluorosis).
There may be little one can do to avoid these white spots. However, practicing excellent oral hygiene and maintaining a healthy diet are the most reliable methods of avoiding white spots.
How to Avoid White Spots After Braces
Through a combination of in-office and at-home methods, you and your orthodontist can prevent white spots from becoming an issue. Practice these aspects of oral care:
1. Keep Your Teeth Clean - Brush at least two times a day for two minutes each time, and floss once daily to prevent plaque from forming between teeth and brackets of your braces.
2. See Your Orthodontist & Dentist Regularly - It's important to maintain your regularly scheduled dental and orthodontist appointments. Visit your dentist at least every 6 months for a cleaning. Your orthodontist can check in and make any necessary adjustments during your visits.
3. Use an Electric Toothbrush - The extra vibration an electric toothbrush provides helps to loosen plaque, making it easier to keep your teeth clean and white - even with braces. There are even some toothbrushes made to work around braces that may assist with this goal.
4. Add a Water Flosser to Your Routine - Pairing your electric toothbrush with a water flosser can help you thoroughly clean your mouth. The water flosser reaches below the gum line, where it's difficult for traditional brushing and flossing to have this type of impact.
What Your Calgary Orthodontist Can Do
Sometimes, during regular orthodontic check-ins we discover that white spots are beginning to develop on a patient's teeth, or that they could be practicing better oral care at home.
In these cases, our orthodontists at myORTHODONTIST are always happy to spend time providing training and counseling to patients about proper brushing techniques and at-home oral care.
We may also recommend additional dental cleanings and measures we can take at our office to prevent any white spots from growing.
We can answer any questions they (or their parents) may have about proper braces care and oral health.
While there is no easy way to predict whether you or your child will get white spots on your teeth after braces, we do know that proper oral healthcare and maintenance of your braces during orthodontic treatment will lead to a healthy smile after the braces are removed.