LAS VEGAS, NEVADA-The goal of orthodontic treatment is to give patients straight, healthy teeth, but patients who ignore dental hygiene are at risk of developing white spot lesions around the brackets of their orthodontic appliances.
“The development of white spots on teeth, sometimes referred to as the “bull’s-eye” effect, is very preventable when patients follow our guidelines for dental care during treatment,” says Dr. David Alpan, a Las Vegas orthodontics provider.
White spots are a result of prolonged plaque accumulation on the tooth’s surface, commonly due to inadequate oral hygiene. They are the earliest sign of a cavity and look like a chalky white spot on the surface of the tooth. People undergoing orthodontic treatment are at a higher risk of developing these unless they take steps to prevent them.
“The ways to prevent white spots is to be diligent about oral hygiene, reduce daily exposure to refined carbohydrates throughout the treatment period and regularly visit the dentist for professional cleanings,” says Dr. Alpan, an orthodontist providing braces for children and adults.
Eating carbohydrates or drinking sugary beverages such as sports drinks, coffee, alcohol and soda create an acid imbalance in the mouth that allows bacteria to attack the enamel of the teeth. Patients who are lax in their dental hygiene have an oral environment that is ripe for developing cavities as the bacterial plaque builds up on the enamel. The bacteria must be neutralized and removed promptly to stop this process, which is called demineralization. The fluoride in toothpaste helps the body to repair and strengthen the enamel and protect against cavities.
For patients with a high risk of dental caries, Dr. Alpan may recommend a special fluoride paste that creates a continuous, low-concentration presence of fluoride in saliva and plaque.
Since demineralization is more likely to happen with fixed-appliance braces, invisible braces options like Invisalign could be a more suitable treatment method for certain patients since the aligners can be removed for easier routine oral hygiene.
“White spots are avoidable as long as patients adhere to our dental hygiene recommendations. They can rest assured that they will have a beautiful straight smile when the braces come off,” says Dr. Alpan, who is also a Las Vegas TMJ dentist.
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